Title: Love Makes Monsters of Us All
Pairing: Thorin/Bilbo, Bilbo/Kíli, Thorin/Fíli, Fíli/Kíli
Rating: M for sure, bordering on NSFW
Warnings: [Spoiler (click to open)]
Murder, jealousy, possessiveness, infidelity, bad ways to die, unhealthy relationships, somnophilia, & all kinds of dub-con/non-con.
Word Count: 3548
Disclaimer: If I owned the Hobbit, it would be messed up.
Summary: Erebor never fell to Smaug's burning fury, but there are worse things than dragons in her halls.
The statue is the first thing that you see when you walk into the throne room and once seen, it cannot be ignored. Who could blame you for your fascination when all visitors must share it, this piece given pride of place even though it is much smaller than the gloried kings who line the walls. But the statue's size matters little compared to the emotions on its face: rage and fear and agony captured in exquisite detail, and you cannot help but wonder about the person who created such a thing.
Was it the dwarf lord, Thorin Oakenshield, who is as expressionless as the stone of his kingdom until he looks upon that golden face? Then his royal features twist in fury and desolation and you cannot understand why he would keep this statue in his throne room when it pains him so.
But maybe it does not remain for the sake of the King Under the Mountain, maybe it belongs to the dwarf who sits next to him, watching the proceedings with dead and broken eyes. You do not recognize him at first because the tales said that there were two and indeed the prince's every movement seems incomplete. So perhaps the statue is a penance for whatever shattered his spirit so completely, if it's not meant solely to unsettle their visitors.
You struggle to ignore it while presenting your business and you succeed well enough until your audience is done. But by then your curiosity is a burning force within you and one of the older dwarves seems safe enough to ask. However, the moment the question leaves your lips, you are dragged into an alcove with his hand over your mouth.
"That is Bilbo Baggins and we do not mention him," the dwarf whispers urgently, eyes searching the shadows to make sure that no one else can hear. "You would do well to forget about that statue until you leave our halls."
However, you have always been more curious than sensible and this warning does little more than whet your appetite. So you wonder as your cautious inquiries lead nowhere and the night before your departure, you sneak into the throne room to look upon the statue one more time. If only you could ask it what lay behind its making, every theory that you come up with more outlandish than the last, and yet perhaps your ignorance is for the best in the end.
Because the truth would give you nightmares and if the statue could speak with more than a cold metallic fury, it would be screaming just as loudly as Bilbo did when he died.
There had been such hope when the hobbit first came to Erebor, his youth given to the King Under the Mountain to seal his friendship with the Shire-folk. For the dwarf lord needed no heirs with his two nephews hale and hearty and Bilbo was to fill his twilight years with love. Indeed, Thorin had been quite captivated at the first sight of his betrothed, entranced by the fine features and plump curves and he took the hobbit to his bed that very night.
How could the dwarf resist when the other gleamed like precious metal, the gold of his hair igniting Thorin's veins with passion as he had never felt before? So he buried his desire in Bilbo's flesh, ignoring the hobbit's protests of impropriety until they turned to moans instead. It was hardly shameful since they were to be married only a few weeks later and the other did not truly seem to mind.
Although the king never bothered to ask why his hobbit had agreed to travel so far from his homeland in order to marry someone whom he had never seen.
Truthfully, it never even occurred to Thorin that there was a question and this was information Bilbo would not volunteer. For while the dwarf's affections were rather overwhelming, his husband had enjoyed himself at first. Indeed, Bilbo found the other quite attractive in his own way and his subjects did their best to welcome him.
So the hobbit was content enough with his position as Thorin's Consort, busying himself with the diplomatic niceties that his husband did not care to think about. In fact, relations with Erebor's neighbors had never been more civil than in those joyous days and it truly seemed as though the match had been blessed by Aulë himself.
But the King Under the Mountain was blinded by love and desire and he did not notice when his Consort's smile began to dim. He did not understand why Bilbo just sighed when he was gifted with yet another chest of treasure or how the hobbit could feel lonely with his husband at his side. That would have required seeing his Consort as a person separate from himself, someone with needs and interests of his own.
Thus while the hobbit never doubted the dwarf lord's heart, this was not the same thing as being happy and could he really be blamed when his eyes began to stray? Could Bilbo be blamed for wishing things were different when there was someone who truly adored him, flaws and all?
And yet Erebor’s Consort cared deeply about his adopted kingdom and he knew well the damage that such an act would cause. There could be no hint of scandal amongst the royal family, not when their romance was held up as an example of the Valar’s blessings and Bilbo truly did not wish to shatter Thorin's heart. He liked his husband well enough even if he did not love him and so the dwarf lord never realized something else was going on.
Until the day that he caught Bilbo in his younger nephew's bed.
Thorin had returned to his chambers earlier than usual that summer evening, wanting to request his hobbit’s presence when his new statue was unveiled. The king knew his Consort didn't always understand why dwarves loved their treasure deeply, but surely if Bilbo had a hand in its creation, things would be different then. So the gold was melted and standing ready down in the forges, waiting only for his Consort's signal to begin.
However, the king had not been able to find the hobbit in the usual places and he had finally gone to his nephew to ask for help. Kíli and Bilbo had become good friends since the latter's arrival, dreams of adventure and wanderlust overcoming their cultural differences.
So Thorin hoped the archer might have seen his husband and the king did not bother to knock before he walked through the door. Why would he when there were no secrets in his kingdom, nothing in Erebor hidden from his sight?
And in truth, the scene might have been innocent, their clothing proper and their hands kept to themselves. Kíli and Bilbo should have been innocent but even as he considered the possibility, Thorin knew it was a lie.
Because he could see the adoration on his hobbit’s face, his smile glowing as it did not shine for his husband anymore and the dwarf lord could never have imagined a betrayal such as this. His own kin had defiled what should have been his alone; his own flesh and blood conspired to shatter him. Perhaps this was only the first step, perhaps Kíli dreamed of stealing his throne along with his husband and there could be only one punishment for that.
Thorin knew that Balin would argue for a trial, a chance for heads to cool and reason to prevail. But while the king had valued the dwarf’s advice since he was a child, Kíli had always had a silver tongue and he could not allow his nephew’s whispers to blind his eyes again.
So he charged forward with a roar of fury, grabbing the archer and throwing him against the wall before Kíli could attempt to justify his crimes. The dwarf’s head slammed into the stone with a sickening crack, the attack over in a matter of seconds while Bilbo stared wide-eyed. But when blood began to pool around Kíli's still form, the hobbit darted into motion and screamed the prince's name.
Bilbo fought wildly when his husband grabbed him, struggling desperately to reach the archer’s side before his life ran out. But where the dwarf lord would once have done anything to ease his hobbit’s sorrow, Thorin only watched coldly now. The love that he had felt was twisted into hatred and he would not be swayed from retribution by false grief and agony. He would have his vengeance, his fingers digging painfully into Bilbo's shoulders while his husband twisted in his grasp.
"What are you doing?" the hobbit asked, voice thick with unshed tears. "Why would you do that? He was your nephew!"
"He was a traitor! You know well what you have done." As far as Thorin was concerned, this was the end of it, the only logical conclusion to the truth that he had seen. But when he spoke, Bilbo's expression had twisted from sorrow into fury and he rounded on the king with a snarl of his own.
"I have done my duty!" he shouted, eyes blazing in his face. "I have been your perfect Consort; I have smiled and laughed and entertained your visitors and warmed your bed when you asked for me. What more do you want? What more do I have to give?"
"You were supposed to love me!" the dwarf lord shouted back. "I have given you everything: my heart, my kingdom and my treasure. I deserved to have your loyalty in return. But instead you have betrayed me with my own kin! Did you seduce him with your charms just as you enchanted me?"
"Perhaps I should have since you think so little of me." Bilbo's fury was quickly fading into dull resignation, his gaze locked on the still body of the dwarf whom he had loved. "However, while Kíli and I cared about each other dearly, we never betrayed you as you believe. I could not risk such a scandal when I knew how much this kingdom needed us and your nephew loved you too much to even ask. Though if I had known that you would kill him for words we'd never spoken, I would have taken him to my bed every night. I would have let his touch wash off the echoes of your fingers until I felt whole and new again."
"Stop your lying! You moaned like a whore every time I held you so do not try to claim that you never wanted me," Thorin growled, his vision flashing red at his husband's insinuations. He was King Under the Mountain, the Lord of Golden Halls, and no one was allowed to slander him like this. Not even his faithless Consort, who still made his loins burn with desire after all that he had done.
"You are skilled with your hands, my dear, I'll give you that,” the hobbit told him, his caution transmuted into a kind of reckless abandon by the aching well of grief within his chest. If he was to die anyway and Thorin's actions made that seem probable, he was going to tear the dwarf to shreds along the way. Every secret that Bilbo had held behind his teeth from the beginning, every moment of resentment that he had swallowed would come due right now.
"I do not deny that you are attractive, but do you really think I wanted you when I was out of my mind with fever or all those nights that I woke to find you driving into me? You really think I enjoyed being treated like a possession, someone who only mattered when you had a need for me? I loved Kíli because he saw me as more than a reflection of his own magnificence and I would have taken one sweet word from him over all the gold in Erebor."
It was this which broke the last of Thorin's splintering control, the casual dismissal of his toil and his tears. He had slaved over jewels and pendants for the hope of a smile, run himself ragged trying to make his husband happy and yet none of that had mattered in the end. Everything had been for naught because Kíli had captured Bilbo's heart so damn easily.
But the hobbit would appreciate his last gift if it killed him; his husband would regret his flippancy. So the King Under the Mountain dragged Bilbo to the forges, those few dwarves they passed in the halls flinching away from the murder in his eyes.
"This was meant to be my greatest creation," Thorin snarled once they arrived at their destination, shoving his husband to his knees before the form that he had cast. It was the hobbit's perfect image smiling down at him serenely and the dwarf had poured his heart into every flowing line. Even in this rough plaster it was captivating, once poured in gold it would be divine. "Can you truly look upon it and not feel anything?"
"It is a statue, Thorin. No matter how beautifully carved or how brightly it sparkles, it will never be more than a cold and lifeless thing," Bilbo replied with a shrug before laughing bitterly. "So I suppose that does make it the ideal representation of your love for me."
Even now his husband would not see what he had broken, even now his heart would not repent, and thus there could be no happy be ending for the two of them. No matter how much Thorin loved his Consort, Bilbo would never see the worth of what he had to offer and the dwarf lord would not accept being second best to anyone or anything.
"You are mine, no matter what you think of me. I own your life and if I cannot win your love with such as this, I will steal your memory.” With these words he lifted the hobbit from the ground and threw him into the pool of gold lying at his feet, the dwarf grinning darkly at the terror on Bilbo's face. While the metal was no longer molten, it was still hot enough to burn and his husband struggled violently as Thorin pressed him down. But he did not start screaming until his head went under, his shrieks of agony nearly drowned out by the king’s wild laughter as they echoed off the walls.
Only when Bilbo finally stopped twitching did Thorin release him, sitting back on his heels with a manic smile on his face. This statue would be his masterpiece, life imbued into the metal as it had never been before, and maybe now his husband would finally be satisfied. For while the dwarf lord would miss the feel of his hobbit soft and pliant beneath him, at least Bilbo would never leave him now.
Thorin went back for Kíli later, once the gold had cooled completely and the last echo of his Consort's screams had died. The king planned to burn his nephew's body, toss the corpse into the forges and make a chalice of his bones, but his plans for vengeance faltered when the he found Fíli there. Because the remaining prince was wrapped around his brother, his face a mask of desperation that even Thorin's rage could not ignore.
Not when his nephew's hair gleamed golden in the firelight just like the curls that he had lost.
Fíli had known that Kíli loved his uncle's Consort; he had warned his brother to be careful, but the dwarf had never dreamed of such consequence as this. While Thorin had always been jealous of his possessions, he had never hurt his family and there was something terrible within his uncle’s eyes. But as long as Kíli still drew breath and he did, just barely, Fíli would keep him alive at any cost. Because the prince loved his brother more than anything, indeed far more than he should, and the dwarf could not imagine life without Kíli there.
So Fíli made a deal with the King of Silver Fountains, soothing Thorin's madness with the utmost sacrifice.
The dwarves of Erebor do wonder what could have happened, rumors and whispers running wild through her halls. For no one could miss Bilbo's sudden disappearance or the strange statue that their king unveils. Everyone wonders how Kíli had been so sorely injured and why his brother looks as though he might shatter when Fíli takes the hobbit's place by Thorin's side.
Because the Sigin-tarâg are not stupid and those who saw Bilbo on his last evening are certain that he has not traveled home. They know that the dwarf lord is lying when he makes this pronouncement just as they know that there must have been more to Kíli's "accident."
But his subjects do not dare to question the cold light in their king's eyes, not after the first person who mentioned Bilbo is cut down on the spot. They learn not to speak of Fíli's brother or the way that the prince has started flinching when his uncle says his name. For there is no proof outside of rumor and Thorin has brought the Lonely Mountain to greater prosperity than she has ever known. So the dwarves of Erebor bury their guilt in the shine of gold and gemstones just as they refuse to meet the statue's accusing eyes.
Only Fíli can look at Bilbo without recoiling, the sight no more than he deserves for the evil he has done. Because while Óin managed to save his brother's life somehow, Kíli has not woken since the day his hobbit perished and the prince is sure he never will.
And yet, even though Kíli would not want to live on this limbo, even though he would be horrified at the price that Fíli pays to keep him breathing, the dwarf cannot let his brother die. Perhaps he is simply too selfish for the archer is the only person who has ever mattered and this pale shadow of his presence is still better than none at all.
So the prince spends many hours curled around Kíli's body, whispering his secrets and sorrows in his ears. Fíli tells his brother all the truths that he had never spoken and he wonders if they might have changed his fate. He apologizes then, begs forgiveness for his cowardice and promises to take care of him until the end of days.
But sometimes the dwarf's regret turns into fury at Kíli's overwhelming stupidity. The archer should have known better, he should have known that his infatuation would destroy them and he should have returned his brother’s love instead. On those days, Fíli pours his hate deep into the other’s body, drives into him the way he's always wanted until Kíli is covered with bleeding scratches that proclaim his ownership.
His brother should have been his. His brother is his and even though the prince knows that it is twisted, he will never let him go again.
Perhaps things would have been better if Fíli and Thorin had been more like their kinsman, their love innocent and sweet instead of punishing. But while Kíli had been willing to live with no more than Bilbo's smile, his own desires secondary to duty and the other’s happiness, the youngest Durin had been made from a far different mettle than the rest.
Which is why Fíli now sleeps in his uncle's chambers, allows Thorin to use him as he pleases and tries not to shudder when the king whispers Bilbo's name into his hair. He does not even hate him for it because the both of them are broken, their hearts shattered by a love that cut too deep. But even though Fíli does not hate him, the dwarf cannot forgive his king for what he did to Kíli and he knows that someday he will kill his uncle while he sleeps.
You can see a story in those gold eyes if only you could hear it and now that you are close enough to notice, you wonder why they did not carve pupils there. But while every other feature looks almost too life-like, the statue's gaze is blank, its unseeing stare somehow more terrifying than a glare would be.
Indeed, you cannot shake the feeling that this Bilbo Baggins is about to grab you, those golden fingers ready to dig deep into your arm. He wants to tell you something, pull you close and unveil the shadows within the heart of Erebor, and you would shatter this kingdom if only you knew how. But this darkness is beyond your ken, these depths too deep to swim, and you were not prepared for the cost of your curiosity. So even though it feels like the utmost cowardice, you close your eyes and run.
You will not return here. You do not have the courage to face the statue's gaze again when you know that you have failed him utterly. However, you will also never forget the sight of that twisted golden snarl and you will always wonder who carved such agony.
But the mountain keeps its secrets and her people never tell.