Pairings: Kíli/Bilbo, minor Fíli/Bilbo
Rating/Warnings: R for canon violence, some angst/piningWord Count: 1752
Disclaimer: If I owned the Hobbit there would be love triangles.
Summary: Five things which made Kíli fall in love with Bilbo and one that stole Fíli's heart as well.
When Kíli falls in love with Bilbo Baggins it isn't a sudden strike of lightning like the stories always say. Rather it's a slow and steady process with which his heart is captured and it's only long afterward that the dwarf realizes just why each piece was lost.
Though the tales are not entirely wrong for it did begin at the moment of their meeting, when the hobbit's fussiness first caught Kíli's eye. Perhaps this is a strange thing to find attractive but there was something about the sight of the prim and proper Mr. Baggins which made the dwarf's heart start to pound. He was just so adorable with his plump figure and affronted huffs that Kíli didn't know whether he wanted to pinch those rosy cheeks or take the hobbit aside and pinch other things.
You simply have to admire someone who can yell like that, the archer thought in awe as he watched Bilbo scold Dwalin like a child, his lecture making even that stout warrior hang his head. For Kíli had always found intensity attractive and if they had been staying longer, the dwarf would have delighted in discovering how quickly he could turn that passion to more pleasurable pursuits.
But sadly they were not so the young archer had to settle for needling Mr. Baggins, cataloging his fine array of aggravated faces like the connoisseur he was, and when they said farewell to Bag End that evening, a small piece of Kíli's heart was left behind.
The second time the dwarf fell a bit more in love with Bilbo, he nearly fell literally. Because things were very different then, their entire company hanging onto a tree for dear life as Azog taunted them. They were helpless sheep ripe for the slaughter and Kíli knew that the pale orc was only moments from fulfilling his dark vow.
Kíli would have given anything to stop the Defiler from claiming Thorin's head but it was all that the archer could do to keep himself from slipping and so when Bilbo charged past him, the dwarf could not believe his eyes. Because the hobbit's action was foolish, crazy, practically suicidal, and the bravest thing that he had ever seen.
There had been hints of their burglar's courage earlier in their journey when he had faced off with mountain trolls without flinching, but now it was shining like mithril through his skin. Bilbo's bravery called to Kíli like a beacon and the archer could do nothing but scramble after the hobbit, drawing his own sword and charging into the fray.
He fought with fury such as he had never felt before, love and desperation giving his blows strength and when the dust settled, the dwarf knew that things would never be the same.
Kíli was not the only one whose eyes were opened that night and once his uncle woke, Bilbo was finally welcomed among their company as he deserved. The hobbit was theirs now where before he had been other and this led to new revelations during the evening spent sharing Beorn's hospitality.
For while the burglar had been reticent when he knew he was not wanted, he was a completely different creature now. Now that the hobbit was cheerful and gregarious and the life of the party as he regaled the company with his truly astounding knowledge of drinking songs. So the archer followed along in delight while Bilbo taught the dwarves endless risque verses, but what truly made Kíli's heart flutter in his chest was the tales that their burglar had to tell.
Because dwarves value storytelling more dearly than any other word-craft and the hobbit was a master, spinning myths and history long into the night. Every word was chosen carefully, every gesture vivid, and Kíli quickly forgot his troubles in Bilbo's skillfulness. Indeed his greatest wish in this moment was for them to stay like this forever instead of moving on.
But the archer knew that they could not and once the celebration had finished, Kíli tried to chase this idea from his mind. For he needed to be focused as Erebor drew ever nearer and pining over their burglar would not aid their cause.
The dwarf did not yet realize that it was far too late and another piece of his heart had already slipped away.
(His Reckless Selflessness)
When Kíli finally decided to do something about his feelings, it was weeks later, weeks of imprisonment in the hall beneath the trees. This long stretch of idleness had forced the archer to introspection and he could no longer deny the way that Bilbo made his heart swell.
For the hobbit gave him hope amidst the darkness and kept him smiling when he would have fallen into despair. But the dwarf would have been content to wait until their quest was finished before speaking if not for Bilbo's actions during their escape.
Because their idiot burglar did not spare a thought to his own safety as he was cajoling twelve stubborn dwarves to climb into wine barrels – Kíli earning a beaming smile when he did not complain. No, the hobbit opened the sluice gate and then leaped into the river like a madman to grab onto the archer's barrel as it sped by.
It was stupid and reckless and amazing and Kíli could not keep from gaping at Bilbo where he clung onto the side. But he was more impressed than worried until they hit a rapid and their burglar did not resurface with the rest.
The dwarf's heart stopped in that moment as though he himself had died and he only breathed again when a flailing hand broke the surface of the water to his right. So Kíli grabbed it tightly, nearly weeping in relief at the sight of Bilbo's fair head, and he did not let go of the hobbit until they reached dry land.
For the archer was reeling from twin revelations: that he loved their burglar deeply and that the very traits which he admired might claim the other's life.
However, before Kíli could find the time to make his feelings known, Bilbo betrayed his family and tore his heart in two. The dwarf could not understand it and although Thorin blamed greed alone, Kíli could find no peace in that.
Because the hobbit had never seemed particularly impressed by gems or treasure and surely a thief would not have returned to answer for his crimes?
But then Bilbo met his gaze and Kíli's breath caught at the pain and determination which he saw. He understood then that their burglar did not steal the Arkenstone for gain or treachery, he did it to save his friends from their own foolish stubbornness. There was honor in this even if no one else could see it, honor in fighting for peace instead of war, and with this knowledge, the last of Kíli's heart slipped through his grasp.
However, while the dwarf wanted nothing more than to stand between Bilbo and Thorin's judgment, the archer knew that he could not. For Kíli had his own duty as a prince of Erebor, a duty to his kingdom and his family which he could not forsake. Not when their safety might rest in his hands and allowing harm to touch their company would waste their burglar's sacrifice.
So although Kíli knew that he would never love another, the dwarf stayed silent when his hobbit walked away. He stayed silent even though his heart was breaking and he vowed that if they both survived the coming battle, nothing would stop him from finding his One again.
Fíli falls in love with Bilbo for his pain.
He never meant to lose his heart at all and certainly not to their treacherous burglar, so this sudden rush of feeling comes as a surprise. But the sorrow on the hobbit's face when he looks down at Kíli resonates with Fíli's own and somehow there is love in that.
Although the dwarf had been injured in the Battle of Five Armies, the young prince knows that he is one of the lucky ones to be breathing at all. For his uncle is dead and Kíli may be dying, struck down by the blow which was meant to claim his brother's life. The archer had saved him at a cost that Fíli does not wish to pay and so he settles heavily by Bilbo's side.
“How long have you been here?” He asks, laying a hand on the hobbit's shoulder as he stares at his brother's ghostly face. The sight disturbs him deeply for the other dwarf has always been the picture of exuberance and at first Fíli barely registers Bilbo's reply.
“I came as soon as I heard the news and if you want me to leave, you'll have to drag me out,” The hobbit tells him and although the dwarf's focus is on Kíli, something in the other's voice draws his attention inexorably. For there is such grief and determination in Bilbo's words and Fíli knows then that the love his brother spoke of is returned ten-fold. “I am staying until Kíli heals and I don't care how long it takes.”
He knows that Bilbo means every word and how could the dwarf not love someone whose heart bleeds for his brother's sake? How can Fíli not love someone with such faith in Kíli and for a moment, the feeling strikes him mute.
Yet the prince also knows that he will never speak of this because no matter what spark burns within him, he has a duty to uphold. He has a duty as a king and elder brother who would never deny Kíli the joy of love fulfilled. So when his brother finally recovers, Fíli will be the first to congratulate them on their happiness and the dwarf is determined to see that day. Because the elder prince refuses to believe that there is any other option and their burglar's certainty gives him strength.
“No one will make you leave, Bilbo, not if you do not wish it, and I know my brother will want to see you when he wakes.” Fíli promises the hobbit firmly as he wraps an arm around this one small person who holds the hearts of Erebor. “Kíli will need you then and so we will wait for him together, you and I.”