Pairings: Very minor Kíli/Bilbo
Word Count: 2025
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit it would be cracktastic.
Summary: Fíli and Kíli aren't actually stupid, they're just pretending to be idiots to mess with Thorin's head. And it's working.
“My nephews are idiots, Balin, slack-jawed idiots and even if we defeat Smaug my line is surely doomed.” Thorin said, sitting down next to his old friend with a disgusted sigh.
“Surely it's not that bad, my lord.” The white-haired dwarf answered, turning to look at his king in surprise. “I mean they are a little foolish sometimes but they're still young. Your nephews will grow out of it.”
“Grow out of it?” Thorin shook his head and sighed again. “I truly wish they would but all they've done so far is get better at stating the obvious. Such as Fíli and his, 'If there's a key there must be a door.' Why yes heir, thank you for that compelling contribution. No, Balin, I had dreams when they were children but now I swear they're actually getting dumber every day. I mean last night Kíli said he might stop eating meat because the squirrels look so unhappy when he shoots them and Fíli spent an hour yesterday musing on the wonders of the grass beneath his feet.”
“Well at least they have other skills, right?” Balin asked, obviously grasping for something positive with which to cheer his lord. “Kíli is a fair smith and a better woodcarver, while your heir is lethal with those blades.”
“Lethal yes and good with a hammer, but there's nothing between his ears except fluff and air. Tell me, how are my sister-sons supposed to make good marriages if they cannot even hold a conversation since no fine young maiden wants to marry a dolt. Fíli's only hope is if someone falls in love with his appearance or wishes to be queen and neither of those is going to help Kíli. The poor lad can't even grow a proper beard.”
“Now, now my lord. Don't despair.” His friend patted him on the shoulder sympathetically, suddenly glad for the lack of children in his life. “Once Erebor is reclaimed we will help you fix their training and surely there's some dwarvish lass out there who prefers silence anyway.”
“I can only pray that you are right. Perhaps my sister dropped them on their heads when they were children for no one else in our family has ever had so little sense. Seriously, grass, what is that boy thinking? And what did I do to Mahal to deserve such a punishment as this?”
“So what did uncle want to talk to you about?” Kíli asked his brother when he joined him in the clearing, looking up from where's he's brushing the brambles out of his pony's mane. Just because they're traveling didn't mean his mount couldn't look pretty and the young dwarf found the repetitive motion soothing after traveling all day. Besides, he was pretty sure Beorn might eat him if they returned his ponies in a bedraggled state.
While Fíli often teased him about his habit, this afternoon he simply grabbed another brush and joined Kíli in his work. “Oh just the usual... Some attempts to show me the route we're taking, an aborted lesson in strategy and exasperated prayers to Mahal under his breath.”
“Hah, lucky you. I'm pretty sure uncle has given up on me entirely because Balin spent two hours yesterday giving me advice on how to woo a fair maiden's heart.” His brother snickered and Kíli punched him in the shoulder before continuing his complaints.
“No seriously, why do you get all the earnest pleading and I get old dwarves with smelly hair trying to teach me how to dance? I don't even like lasses, but I suppose that's what I get for winning.” This last sentence was accompanied by a smirk at Fíli, who turned on him with an affronted glare.
“Excuse me?! What exactly makes you think you're winning? Last I counted the score was tied at best and if you start trying to cheat the wager's off.”
“I'm not cheating. The score was tied, but the rules clearly state that frowns are worth one point and curses worth two, so after the feast at Beorn's house I'm in the lead again. One thousand two hundred and seventy-eight to one thousand one hundred and ninety-seven now if I'm not mistaken.” Kíli retorted smugly and his brother looked at him with fond exasperation.
“The way I remember it, Thorin's expletives were more about you getting drunk and propositioning the hobbit than your stupidity, but I'll let it slide this time. Although we may have to finally tell everyone the truth if uncle gets himself in trouble with the elves. It's hard enough to subtly point him in the right direction without being locked up in a cell.” While the company was hoping to avoid Thranduil on their trip through the Mirkwood, considering the terrible luck they'd had so far, Fíli couldn't dismiss the idea out of hand and planned to be prepared.
In contrast, his brother, though not actually stupid, was definitely an optimist and shook his head in disagreement. “Not necessarily. Pretending to be idiots hasn't hurt our quest yet and if we can deal with the elf king without breaking character, we'll have an edge when we meet again.”
“Hah, so you are faking it. I thought so.” Their burglar slipped into view from behind a tree, looking so satisfied with himself that Kíli had to grin even though the jig was up. Yet instead of running off to tell the others, Bilbo just gave the brothers a considering look. “But why?”
The two dwarves shrugged. “Makes people underestimate us-”
“-because they think we're dolts. Plus it passes the time and Fíli bet me new gauntlets and a quiver if I top his final score. I'm no good at detailed metalwork. And-”
“- naturally, for the look on uncle's face.” His brother finished and Bilbo startled at this last. “Thorin doesn't know?”
“Oh Valar no, we've been doing this since we were kids. Though mother knows because it's only when he's around-”
“-ever since Thorin said Kíli's accent made him sound like an idiot. We thought pretending to be stupid would teach him a lesson and then it was too much fun to stop.”
“But no one else has ever gotten suspicious, how did you figure us out?”
“Just luck really. A few days ago I overheard you discussing the political ramifications of Dáin's decision to spurn your uncle's quest and got curious since you're always like 'look at the pretty birds' in camp. Hence my hiding in the bushes tonight and then you know the rest.” Bilbo explained. “So can I help?”
“You want to help us pretend to be idiots?” Kíli asked, rather amused by the turn this night has taken. While their mother had always found their ruse hilarious, he and Fíli never expected anyone else to see the point.
Although if anyone could understand the desire to annoy Thorin, it's probably their under-appreciated burglar and indeed the hobbit just shrugged. “Why not? Tooks love a good prank and this is one of the best I've ever seen. Though you're not going to do this forever are you?”
“No, as fun as it is we decided we'll stop once we reclaim Erebor. After that Fíli has to become a proper heir again and uncle will need time to recover from the shock before the rest of our clan arrives.” Kíli told him, throwing an arm over Bilbo's shoulder.
“But until then, welcome to our confederation of dunces. I think you'll fit right in.”
Thorin woke to the sight of a stone ceiling far above his head and wondered idly if he was dead. But everything hurt too much for that and when he groaned, Dwalin's relieved face hovered into view. “Thorin, you're finally awake.”
“How long has it been?” He rasped, forcing words through his bone dry throat. “Who's been taking care of my kingdom?”
“Your heirs of course, who else? As regents only, neither would accept the crown while you still breathed these last three months.”
“My heirs?! And the kingdom is still standing?” Thorin tried to sit up, horrifying visions of Fíli accidentally trading Erebor to the elf king running through his head. While he was warmed by his nephews loyalty, he had no reason to trust their sense, not when the last he saw of them, Kíli was asking his brother if he thought warg-riding was as much fun as it looked.
However, the sharp movement pulled at his healing scars and Dwalin scolded him as he helped him lean back against the bed.
“If you don't stay put, Thorin, I am going to tie you down. Rightful King Under the Mountain or not, Óin will kill me if I let you re-injure yourself now. And you needn't worry about your kingdom for Fíli is well-liked as a ruler and his brother has an impressive gift with spywork and intrigue. Thranduil never knew what hit him.”
Under Dwalin's glare he settled even though the words he thought he heard couldn't possibly be true. Indeed when his nephews burst through the door, talking all over each other as they did when excited, the first sentence out of Kíli's mouth was, “Uncle, you're awake, did you sleep well?”
However, a moment later Fíli reached over and smacked his brother on the head, an air of responsibility about him which Thorin had never seen before. “The game's over remember. You're not allowed to be an idiot anymore.”
“I know that. But that's who he was expecting and I didn't want to confuse him too badly since he's just woken up.” Kíli responded snappily and his uncle couldn’t stop staring because he was, indeed, confused. Watching his nephews talk was like watching two familiar strangers for while their dynamic was the same, there was far more intelligence then the dwarf was used to in their eyes.
After one of their silent conversations, the two apparently came to an agreement for Fíli stepped in to explain. “We were originally going to ease you into this but that's not really possible anymore. So here's the truth. While my brother certainly has his foolish moments, neither of us are actually idiots. We were just pretending to be stupid so people would underestimate us and to find some amusement on the road.”
Thorin couldn't decide whether to be relieved that his line might survive after all or angry that his nephews had apparently been fooling him for decades, so the dwarf just sits there gaping while his heir continues. “I should probably add that in the spirit of our roles my brother made an alliance which will probably appear foolish to you at first, but you should remember things aren't always what they seem. And it does make him happy.”
“What in Mahal's name does that mean?” Their uncle asked, trying to piece through his nephew's overblown prose to the meaning buried beneath. Secretly intelligent or not, no one talks like that unless they have something to hide.
“I told you he wouldn't buy that,” Kíli told his brother with an exasperated sigh. “It means I proposed to our burglar, uncle, and we'll be wed as soon as the last of his relatives arrive. But if it makes you feel any better, Fíli is rather besotted by one of Bombur's daughters so you should have some grand-nephews and nieces before too long.”
It didn't make him feel any better and at the look of fury on his face, Thorin's sister-sons decided that discretion was the better part of valor. “We'll be back soon uncle,” they promised as they fled from his room. “Just as soon as you've calmed down.”
However, this might take some time because Thorin had decided that fury was definitely the better option and his roar echoed throughout the mountain's halls. “Get back here so I can kill you both!”