Bilbo is a respectable Hobbit. Sociable, open, fond of good food, a pipeful of tobacco and a drink or five, he gives gifts as readily as he receives them and is happy with both. He's generous in his gifts, thoughtful and often extravagant, and he likes to see others enjoying the gifts he gives. He is polite, respectful, mild tempered and affable, he's perfectly happy to chat to his neighbours and all around him, and buy a round for the lads at the pub. He can be considered rather prim and proper, thinking the way all hobbits do in terms of the comforts of home and the unpleasantness of adventures that don't involve a stroll to the pub then rambling home in the wee hours of the morning. At one time, he didn't like the idea of going on adventures, the idea of not knowing when his next meal would come or travelling miles and miles in all weather. He disliked anything out of the ordinary, change was distrusted, and peace was something to be appreciated. He lived in peace and comfort, why would he want to change that?
The Took in him told him that he might want to change it because it was boring.
Though he didn't realise it before the arrival of Gandalf and thirteen Dwarves, there was a restlessness in him, something that drove him to self-invented "adventures" as a child that morphed into a love of long walks as an adult, the restlessness that led to many a ramble in the rolling hills and seemingly endless green of the Shire, exploring the little copses of trees dotted around the place and listening to the sound of the river as it passed him by. This was noted by his friends and neighbours, who thought him a little bit odd, for a Hobbit, but alright in his way. While he would adamantly deny any wish to leave the Shire, the tiny spark of adventurousness in him would be fanned into a flame with the coming of Thorin and his company, with their talk of going forth to reclaim their homeland. It was like something from a story, and it might have been that aspect that appealed to him. Stories were something much enjoyed by the Hobbit, but he had thought he'd never be a part of them, but simply an observer after the fact.
Another reason for his rash decision to go gallivanting was a stubborn streak inherited from his mother, which rose to the surface when the dwarves admitted they didn't think him up to the job. He could do whatever he liked, and more, when he liked, and if he wanted to be a burglar, he would be a burglar. He was rather insulted that the Dwarves thought he wasn't able for something, even if it was something as unsavoury as burglary. As you can probably imagine, Bilbo doesn't like being told that he can't do something. It tends to make him want to do it, just to prove that he can. He also doesn't like being told he looks like a grocer, despite it being a more respectable job than a burglar. Maybe it was the way Thorin said it.
In any case, stubbornness and impulsiveness swept him off on an adventure, and while he looks back on his adventure fondly, at the time he wasn't so appreciative. He disliked living rough while travelling, often thinking wistfully of his bed and well stocked larders, lamenting the loss of four necessary meals a day and having to restrict himself to only three. While travelling in itself was enjoyable, as long as the weather was fine and the terrain not too hard on the feet, having to put up with all kinds of weather was distasteful to the Hobbit, not to mention the lack of hygiene in both himself and his travelling companions. He hadn't been expecting to be able to have a bath every day, but being able to wash his face and hands morning and night at the very least would have been nice. Having strict dietary and hygienic rituals doesn't last long when one is travelling across the world.
Determination is one of Bilbo's stronger traits, meaning once he has committed himself to something, he'll see it through, be it helping a friend build a new greenhouse, or helping thirteen Dwarves take back a mountain from the clutches of a dragon. While he often regretted his hasty decision to go on the adventure, he stuck with it doggedly, seeing through everything he said he would without too much complaining. Well, there was some complaining, but what can one expect from a Hobbit who is a long way from home and has never been on an adventure before? Some might have called his willingness to go into the mountain bravery, but Bilbo mostly saw it as him holding up his end of the bargain. It was what he had signed up for, he knew it would eventually end with him creeping into Erebor alone to find the dragon and the Arkenstone, so that was what he did. He can't say whether it was brave or not. He personally thinks it was insane.
He tends to get flustered when caught unawares, like, for example, when thirteen Dwarves come visiting without warning, or when he has to play a riddle game in the dark with a horrible hissing creature who plans on eating him if he loses. Despite this, he's able to think on his toes, almost tripping over himself to get words out when he needs to, pulling the threads of his patience together and keeping his wits about him in times of stress. He's more likely to make mistakes when stressed, but he's able to act and think and react as needed. He's a quick thinker, when he needs to be, getting others out of trouble on more than one occasion when they needed saving.
As mentioned above, he adores stories in all forms both factual and fictional, and considers himself something of a storyteller. He'll listen for hours if Gandalf wants to remember something, and will happily tell his adventures to any Hobbit lads and lasses who come calling. His stories are descriptive, delivered with enthusiasm, maybe embellished a little here and there, but what story isn't?
Bilbo stands at the reasonably tall height of 3'5", and is like most harfoot hobbits: stout, if there's muscle there, it's hiding under fat. He's not as fat as some, but there's a roundness to his belly, a softness to his body that younger hobbits don't have, but is there in abundance in older hobbits. He's of solid build, even at his thinnest there's something solid about him, his height never meant he would be lithe or willowy anyway, but he isn't quite as stocky as the dwarves, either. He supposes that compared to the dwarves he travelled with, he probably looked like a delicate little thing, short and plump and without their hardness. They were all steel and muscle, he had the look of someone who ate a lot of good dinners and slept in a soft bed. Which he does.
His face is round, nothing special in itself, though he doesn't think his own features to be too repugnant. There's an affable look about him, he looks like smiles come easily, and they do. His eyes are blue, like his father's, and he's never been much good at growing a beard. Not that he'd want one, anyway. He's happy without a beard, since he has enough hair on his head to be dealing with. His hair is thick, an unremarkable shade of brown, messy and curly. It's long enough to flop onto his forehead, almost into his eyes, and covers his ears and the back of his neck. His ears still peek through the curls, pointed sharply and a little larger than the average. Not that he minds much, big ears aren't something he's ever really been worried about. His hands are soft, a sign that he's unused to large amounts of manual labour, though he has he beginnings of a couple of calluses on the palm of his right hand, where he's been making some attempts to learn how to use Sting.
Like all Hobbits, his feet are large, flat, the soles thick and leathery while the tops are covered with thick, coarse hair, the same colour as the hair on his head. He dislikes wearing shoes, as he finds them uncomfortable, he likes the feel of the ground beneath his feet, of grass and dirt and mud, as well as the polished wood floors of his home and cold stone. He keeps the hair on his feet neatly trimmed and combed, much like the hair on his head, and can be quite particular about personal hygiene, both in himself and in other people. Unless circumstances mean he can't wash, he always smells like a mix of soap and pipeweed. His pipe, with its small, round bowl and long, thin stem are almost a permanent part of him, something that he keeps on him so that it's almost a part of him. His right thumb is somewhat stained from pressing fresh tobacco into his pipe.
He wears finely tailored suits in the fashions that most hobbits wear, coat, waistcoat, shirt and breeches that reach a point three quarters between knee and ankle, leaving his feet and ankles clear. It's a practical length for trousers, he thinks, since feet and ankles can be easily rinsed of road dust and mud after a walk, whereas breeches need to be washed. He's happy to wear a variety of colours, as long as his outfits match, and he looks like a perfectly respectable gentleman in his well made suits. The materials tend to be fine, thanks to the mix of Took inheritance and the treasure he brought back with him, cut a little roomy for comfort and fastened with gold buttons, the only suggestion of wealth he likes to show off. Apart from the fabrics themselves.
In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.
This particular hole in the ground was luxurious, well furnished and comfortable. A warren of halls and rooms under the hill. Bag End, built by Bungo Baggins for his wife, Belladonna Took. This couple, stoic Bungo and spirited Belladonna, were perfectly happy together, using some of Belladonna's extensive coffers to build the home that they had their son in. They named him Bilbo, and he was born on September 22nd 2890, of the Third Age. He inherited his fathers' untameable brown hair and blue eyes, and his mothers' Tookish adventurousness. As a child, he was insatiably curious, eager for news from the outside world, going on little adventures of his own within the boundaries of the Shire. He'd come home covered in dirt, pockets filled with interesting things he found and scrapes and bruises on his knees. This particular trait did not go unnoticed, though it would be a long time before anyone remarked upon it.
Bungo passed away in 2926, at the age of eighty, and while his wife bustled on without him, there was something diminished in her, as if she had lost something irreplaceable. Bilbo felt worse for his mother than for the father he had lost, mostly because of how she took his passing, and how she pretended like it was nothing. While losing a parent is a terrible thing, losing one's soulmate could be considered equally as bad. Not that Bilbo would know, three years after reaching adulthood and still unmarried, having not found any likely lasses that caught his eye. Nor any lads, for that matter, though there were plenty of both that were comely enough. His mother finally followed his father eight years later, and Bilbo was left master of Bag End. Much to the disgust of the Sackville-Bagginses, who Bilbo swears are hoping he'll die an early death and leave the beautiful home to them.
As time wore on, Bilbo grew up, settled into his quiet life in the Shire, keeping up his network of friends but at the same time keeping his distance, and his neighbours thought him a little bit odd. His "adventures" morphed into long walks, a fondness for maps and looking at the scenery of places a little beyond home, but actual adventures were forgotten, buried in the back of his mind to be ignored. His skill with weapons of any kind didn't develop further than uncanny aim with a rock, meaning by the time he reached maturity, all animals in the vicinity fled when he bent to pick up a rock
because young Bilbo was a little shit who threw rocks at animals. Until a certain wizard came calling.
He will never know what compelled him to invite Gandalf for tea on that fateful day, when he flustered the Hobbit so frightfully that he spat words out without barely knowing what he was saying, informing Gandalf that if he was looking for someone to share in an adventure, he would have to go elsewhere. Bilbo didn't have the time nor the inclination for such nonsense. Better he stay in Bag End, with his many larders and his warm feather bed. He rather doubted he'd get a first breakfast, lunch or dinner, let alone second breakfast, elevenses, afternoon tea or supper while on an adventure. Nor would he sleep in feather beds with a roof over his head, and that didn't appeal to him at all.
The next night, when Bilbo had recovered from his fright and forgotten the encounter entirely, his house was invaded. By thirteen Dwarves. They arrived in small groups, steadily filling his dining room and eating him out of house and home. He enjoyed guests very much, as long as they let him know they were coming beforehand, and as he hadn't made a note of his inviting Gandalf to tea, he had entirely forgotten about him. Not that he thought he had extended an open invitation for Gandalf to invite a mountainful of Dwarves to his home. He might have been a little more gracious and a little less impatient if their sudden arrival hadn't flustered him so much. And if he had known beforehand what their table manners were like, as well as how much they ate. He hadn't thought one dwarf could eat so much cheese on his own, but Bombur proved him wrong.
As his larders were picked clean, he learned of their quest, to reclaim their their home and the treasures within from the clutches of a fire breathing dragon. It was quite a nasty shock to find out that they wanted him to help with this escapade, and that they thought him a Burglar. Or at least, they thought him a burglar until they saw him, and then decided he was more of a greengrocer than a burglar. This fuelled the Tookish streak in him that had already started to come to life at all this talk of adventures, and a stubborn streak decided to make him determined to prove his worth to the assorted Dwarves in attendance. After he had passed out from reading the vivid descriptions of what the company would not be responsible for, should they happen to him. It was quite a shock to hear that this adventure might involve evisceration at some point.
Bilbo slept through their departure the next morning, and almost forgot the adventure he had agreed to the night before until Gandalf gave him a nudge out of the door, making him leave behind many things he may need, including a pocket handkerchief. Though a handkerchief should have been the least of his worries.
His journey took him away from his beloved Hobbiton, into the wilds where he met Trolls and escaped, and gained his sword, which looked like a dagger in the hands of Gandalf, and a letter opener to Balin, when it was given to him. He reached Rivendell with his companions, where they stayed for a time with the Elves, replenishing their strength and supplies and seeking the aid of the Lord of Imladris. He was sorry to leave that beautiful place, but leave he did, and let himself be led into the Misty Mountains. He vowed he'd stay a little longer when he was passing through again, having convinced himself that he would, eventually, pass through again.
When the company was captured by Orcs in one of the many caves of the Misty Mountains, Gandalf came to their rescue not for the first or last time, and Bilbo was carried by Dori deep into the tunnels under the mountains. Of course, luck was not with the company, and Dori dropped the Hobbit when he was grabbed from behind by an orc. Bilbo was knocked unconscious by the fall, and knew no more until the Dwarves had left him behind. Alone in the tunnels, Bilbo had never known such complete darkness. Not for the first or last time, he wished himself back home in Bag End, mostly for being home than for anything else. He almost missed his home more than he missed food. Almost. There was nothing that could beat a good Second Breakfast. Or a First Breakfast, if hungover.
It was here, bumbling along in the dark without a clue where he was going, that he found a ring. Not that he could see it at the time, but he slipped it into his pocket idly before moving on. By a subterranean lake, he met the creature Gollum, who proposed a riddle game. If Bilbo won, Gollum would show him the way out; if Gollum won, he would eat Bilbo whole. Bilbo was, of course, nervous of the slithering, hissing thing in the dark, which was exacerbated by the way its voice echoed around him, meaning he couldn't place where the thing was at all times. They both had good riddles, almost beating the other, and when he ran out of riddles, he wondered aloud "What have I got in my pocket?" It was, of course, the Ring, and he hadn't meant the question as a riddle, yet Gollum tried and failed to answer. Angry at his loss, Gollum went to the island in the middle of the Lake to retrieve his "birthday present" so that he could kill Bilbo, but the Ring was gone. He realised that Bilbo himself had the Ring, and it was in his pocket, so he went after the Hobbit.
The Ring slipped onto Bilbo's finger, and he soon realised that he was invisible while he wore it. Gollum unknowingly held up his end of the bargain that had been struck before the game, and led Bilbo right to the exit, though Bilbo could not get past the creature crouching at the door. He considered killing Gollum, but pity made him change his mind, and spare the creature his life. Instead, as if lifted by a new strength and resolve, he leapt over him. As he fled, losing several gold buttons squeezing through the door, he was followed by Gollum's cry. "Thief, thief, thief! Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it for ever!"
When he rejoined his friends, he didn't mention the Ring, but later said that Gollum had intended to give the Ring to him as a present if he won the game. Gandalf saw straight through it, and knew he was lying. Little did he know the effect that the Ring was having on Bilbo, even then. He was ever aware of its presence, keeping it close, checking his pockets often to make sure it was still there, his hand unconsciously dipping into his waistcoat pocket to fiddle with it, panicking when it wasn't in the pocket he initially thought it was.
The adventure meandered on, they were attacked by Wargs led by Azog, rescued by Eagles and stayed in the home of a Skinchanger named Beorn. He enjoyed the time with Beorn, even if he did turn into a dangerous animal and didn't like Dwarves very much, and he enjoyed the stories told while they stayed there. They parted company with Gandalf at the edge of Mirkwood, where they were warned to stay on the path. Despite this warning, they strayed from the relative safety of the path, and while Bilbo was sent to have a look over the treeline and try to discern where they were, the Dwarves were captured by Great Spiders. Bilbo felt rather guilty about this, having spent more time than he really should have enjoying the clean breeze and beautiful view over the trees, watching the many brightly coloured butterflies that fluttered over the leaves. In his battle against the spiders, his sword earned the name gifted to it by Bilbo himself. He used Sting to cut down as many spiders as he could manage, and escaped capture when the party was taken by the Elves that rescued them one minute and locked them in cells the next.
Having managed to sneak into the Elven King's halls, Bilbo spent most of his time invisible, stealing food from their larders as he thought up a way to free his friends from the clutches of the Elves. He had thought that putting them in barrels and sending them down the river was a stroke of genius until he realised that once they were in their barrels and floating away, he had forgotten about what he was going to do with himself. He reached Lake Town clinging to a barrel rather than inside one.
From Lake Town and on to the Lonely Mountain, and into the Lonely Mountain on his own first, and he spoke with a dragon. Had someone told him back in Bag End that within a few months he would speak to a Dragon, he would have laughed in their face. Yet there he was, bandying words with a dragon, who eventually flew to Lake Town to be killed by Bard. When the Men of Lake Town and the Elves of Mirkwood came to the Lonely Mountain to seek reparations for the damage and treasure stolen by Smaug, their pleas fell on deaf ears. Thorin had a look of sickness in his eyes when it fell upon the vast treasures within the Mountain that worried Bilbo. Yet Bilbo hadn't thought their claim to be unreasonable.
Hoping to prevent a battle and to end the matter so that he could go home, Bilbo took the Arkenstone, bringing it to Bard and Thranduil so that they could use it to negotiate with Thorin. It seemed a battle would happen anyway, as the Elves, Men, and Dwarves, including reinforcements in the form of Thorin's kinsman Dain, had to unite against the army of Orcs and Wargs led by Bolg. At the Battle of the Five Armies, Bilbo made his stand with Thranduil and Gandalf, and he saw the Eagles come to the aid of the Free Peoples before he was knocked unconscious for the remainder of the battle.
After the battle was done, he only remained long enough to watch most of his friends recover after their ordeal, apologising to Thorin for his theft of the Arkenstone and patching things up with the King Under the Mountain before his passing. He forfeited his share of the plunder when he gave the Arkenstone to Bard, and in the end only took two small chests, one of gold and one of silver, as well as the mithril shirt that Thorin had given him. From this treasure trove he gave Thranduil a silver necklace worked with pearls, as a thank-you gift for his stay in his halls, even if Thranduil didn't know it at the time.
When he finally returned to Hobbiton, he learned that he had been declared dead, and that the Sackville-Bagginses were gearing up to move into his beloved Bag End. They were sorely disappointed when he returned and took up residence there again, very much alive. He has settled back into the quiet life he had before, receiving regular visits from Gandalf and various Dwarves, and he spends his time taking long walks, speaking with the Elves he meets there, learning the Elvish language and studying the legends and lore of Middle Earth. He'll go back some day, to the Lonely Mountain, to visit his friends there and see how the place has flourished under their care. Or at least, that's what he tells himself. And his favourite souvenir of those he brought back with him is a plain, gold ring. . .
Bilbo sat at his desk, poring over the map. It was a new acquisition, a heavily detailed map of the Shire and the surrounding land, and it was a thing of beauty. The vellum was some of the finest he had seen in a long time, the ink thin and spidery, picking out the finest of details with only a few brushstrokes. A few different walking trails had been neatly inked in different colours along its surface, highlighting the ways that he loved to go walking, the routes long and winding. Maybe he'd go on a walk later. It'd be the perfect thing to whet his appetite before dinner, particularly if he brought afternoon tea with him and ate it on the bank of the Brandywine before coming back.
He sat back a bit, wondering if he had a frame that would fit the map so he could hang it on a wall somewhere close to the front door, where he could check it before he went walking and decide on the spur of the moment which route he wanted to take. A little spontaneity could be encouraged, after all. Though a lot of spontaneity led to adventures, which he wasn't sure he wanted more of, just yet. Maybe in a couple of months, he'd take a trip as far as Rivendell, and if the travelling bug took hold, he might even go all the way to the Lonely Mountain, visiting some of the places he had seen last time. Maybe he'd visit the halls of the Elven King again, this time with Thranduil's knowledge. It might be nice to stay as a guest, if Thranduil was willing to have him.
But for now, the rumbling of his stomach told him that it was getting close to elevenses. There was a tart waiting for him in the kitchen, freshly baked, and he could smell it as he thought about it, making his stomach rumble with a little more enthusiasm. Leaving the map on the table for later perusal, he got up, bustling through to the kitchen eagerly. He'd been looking forward to this. He put on the kettle for a cup of tea and pulled the fresh apple and blackberry pie from where it was being kept warm in the oven, cutting himself a generous slice and putting a dollop of whipped cream on top. His stomach rumbled again just looking at it, but he restrained himself, waiting until the kettle was whistling and a cup of tea poured before he dug in, grinning at the sound of the pastry flaking under his spoon.
The first bite was heaven. The pastry was flaky, buttery, it melted in his mouth and complimented the fruit perfectly. The fruit was not overly sweet, with a little edge of sour to it that worked perfectly, the apples had held some of their shape rather than turning to mush, and the blackberries stained them a beautiful purple colour. He would probably have another slice when this one was finished. Maybe he'd bring the second slice out into the garden, and he'd fill his pipe for afterwards. Yes, that sounded like the perfect way to while away an hour before he went to market to stock up.
The first slice was polished off and the second in hand when he made his way out to the garden, to the bench that sat nestled among the snapdragons, begonias and chrysanthemums, under the lilac tree, his pipe already filled and waiting to be lit, a second cup of tea in hand. He was sitting there barely a few seconds, the first mouthful of pie in his mouth before he heard the sound of hoofbeats, plodding along slowly. He sat up as the sound approached, planning to greet whoever-it-was as they passed, maybe have a little chat if the other was willing. It seemed like some of the others in Hobbiton had changed their opinion of him since he returned from his adventure, and while he didn't really care what they thought of him, he wouldn't think their change of opinion drastic until it had come to the point where everyone was openly ignoring him, even when he offered to buy them an ale. A refusal of free alcohol would be a sign of quite a drastic change indeed.