Title: Where the One-Eyed Man is King
Pairings: [Spoiler (click to open)]
minor Thorin/Bilbo, Bilbo/Bofur
Rating/Warnings: Utter nonsense and far too many tv tropesWord Count: 3728
Disclaimer: If I owned the Hobbit it would be crack
Summary: Genre Savvy Bilbo tells it like it is.
The fine hobbits of the Shire were pretty sure that Bilbo's weirdness was all Belladonna's fault. She had dropped her son on his head one too many times as a child and filled what little brains he had left with tales and myths of derring-do. So it must have been her fault when the young fauntling began to treat life like it was another of her stories and absolutely refused to outgrow this fantasy.
But why should Bilbo listen to the Common Knowledge of his elders when the patterns that he saw all around him made so much more sense instead? After all, Belladonna was an Almighty Mom if the fauntling had ever seen one while Bungo lived more on the Idle Rich Bookworm side of life and the endless glaring of his neighbors just convinced Bilbo that those hobbits must be Irrelevant Non-Player Characters. So even though the fauntling couldn’t explain the source of his knowledge whenever a Doubting Thomas asked, he never questioned its veracity and A Wizard Did It was always a good excuse.
Besides, this was Middle Earth so A Wizard Did It wasn't actually Handwaving but an Accidental Truth. Just because Gandalf had been rather drunk at the time and his Magic Misfire had turned one ordinary fauntling into someone who Suddenly Always Knew That halfway around the world did not mean it was some kind of Plot Hole in history. For There Are No Coincidences and so Bilbo had grown up knowing that he must be a Chosen One.
But the older the hobbit grew, the more he understood that Because Destiny Said So was a terrible way to live his life. After all, for every Happily Ever After, there seemed to be ten stories with Downer Endings and Bilbo didn't want to be Tragic Hero who was Doomed to Fail.
He just Wanted to Be Normal and the day that he learned that Deceased Parents were the Best Parents in this world of his, the Halfling decided that he was going to be a Supporting Character instead. Bilbo could not say for sure whether Belladonna and Bungo suffered Death by Origin Story, but the hobbit had no intention of seeing anyone else he cared about Stuffed into the Fridge because the Call Knew Where He Lived.
Bilbo quite liked being alive, thank you very much, and if being a Muggle was what it took then he would hide his truth Beneath the Mask. So while the hobbit could not help but notice every time some young hobbits had a Meet Cute at the market or a Mysterious Cloaked Guy came through town, he started keeping this knowledge to himself.
Indeed Bilbo passed many years in his Home Sweet Home, turning into a Book Worm much like his father and ignoring the dreams of Being Special that he had held in the past.
However, You Can't Fight Fate and the world had no intention of allowing this hobbit to deny his Hero's Journey when adventure was In His Blood. In fact, Heralds ran across his path quite often but Bilbo was determinedly Oblivious to Hints that he should walk out of his door. Hobbits were stubborn after all and once they set their mind upon a goal, no amount of Almost Dead Guys, Damsel Errants or Harbingers of Impending Doom could change their minds.
Yet Bilbo had not been mistaken in his belief that he was a Chosen One and eventually the universe decided that its hobbit needed to be Kidnapped by the Call if nothing else sufficed.
Thus fate called in a Wizard Classic, that very same wizard who had removed the Halfling's Genre Blindness all those years ago.
It was a Seemingly Ordinary Day when Gandalf walked back into Bilbo’s life. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and the Baggins of Bag End was Blowing Smoke Rings on his porch. So no one could have blamed him for being disgruntled at the interruption of his pleasant musings, particularly when everything about this Wizard Classic screamed that he was a Chooser of the One.
Of course, once Gandalf opened his mouth, Bilbo thought that the man might just be a Cloud Cuckoo Lander because it had been a long time since he met someone so full of Obfuscating Stupidity.
Yet the hobbit's Significance Sense would not stop Tingling, not even after he Refused the Call and the wizard left him alone again. It was trying to tell him that Something Was Afoot but Bilbo had years of practice at Pretending to Be Normal and so he tried to find his Happy Place, cooking himself some Comfort Food for dinner and settling down to eat just as the doorbell rang.
It was a dwarf; indeed, it was shortly twelve dwarves and a wizard running around Bag End and Bilbo had never been confronted by people with No Social Skills like this before. They were rude and aggravating and yet despite this, he was undeniably intrigued. Particularly since his unexpected guests had very Distinctive Appearances even though his reading had led him to believe that Our Dwarves Are All the Same. This was the hobbit’s first experience with a Subverted Trope, something that both encouraged and worried him.
If Tropes Were Not Bad and defying them wasn’t an Impossible Task then the hobbit might have been Refusing the Call for no reason at all. Bilbo didn’t like to think that he was actually Wrong Genre Savvy instead of Right, but how could he deny that he might need a Misconception Correction when the evidence was right before his eyes?
For instead of Inexplicably Identical Individuals, Bilbo had the Cool Old Guy chic of Balin, the Perma Stubble of young Kíli, both a Nice Hat and a Fu Manchu on the dwarf that said his name was Bofur, and more Improbable Hairstyles than the hobbit could have shaken a stick at if he wanted to. Truthfully, the Badass Beards were almost overwhelming, Dwalin had Knuckle Tattoos to go with his Bald of Awesome, Nori's hair was frankly terrifying, and when Thorin finally arrived, Bilbo couldn't deny that Tall, Dark and Snarky made his knees a little weak.
Of course, the dwarf lord was Fashionably Late so there was plenty of time for a Silly Song before the Leader of this strange company appeared and Bilbo had to admit that he was warming to his guests after they used their Combat Parkour to make his kitchen sparkle brilliantly.
However, his good mood disappeared once Thorin started explaining the dwarves' mission because Bilbo knew a Desperate Quest when one strode through his door. The dwarf lord was clearly running a Missing Steps Plan, this Smaug sounded like a Hopeless Boss Fight, and Bilbo didn’t want to be the Heroic Sacrifice.
So even though Gandalf obviously believed that Heart Was an Awesome Power and was ready to edge into Compelling Voice territory in his defense of Bilbo, the hobbit just couldn’t justify running off as a Gentleman Adventurer. Instead he sent his guests away, trying to ignore their disappointed faces and the Award Bait Song that was their Leitmotif.
Perhaps he would have Missed the Call entirely if things had been a little different, but when he woke up the next morning a Deus Ex Machina pushed him out the door. Because he was suddenly a Stranger in a Familiar Land as he looked around his smial and Bilbo realized that if he did not follow Thorin's company, There Was Nothing Left to Do But Die. The hobbit had nothing Worth Living For, no Childhood Friends or Goals in Life, so for the first time since his eyes had been opened to the fact that Tropes Are Everywhere, Bilbo Jumped at the Call.
He signed Balin’s scarily Literal-Minded Doorstopper of a contract, threw a few Bare Necessities into his pack and then sprinted through the Shire until he caught up to Thorin’s Company, a feat that was possible only because the dwarves were Traveling at the Speed of Plot.
Everyone except Thorin seemed happy to see him, although Bilbo was slightly annoyed that the dwarves had placed a Side Bet on whether he would show. But at least some of this Ragtag Bunch of Misfits had believed in him and even if they were still in Friendship Denial, he was sure that they would become Fire-Forged Friends in good time.
However, the creation of their Band of Brothers took longer than the hobbit had been expecting because no matter what he did, Thorin saw him as the Load instead of a Supporting Contributor. Sure Bilbo was a bit of a Tag Along Hobbit, but that didn’t mean he was Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket and he wanted the dwarf lord to recognize this fact. Particularly when his Genre Savvy nature started throwing up Warning Signs.
Bilbo first began to be Properly Paranoid on the night that Balin told them about Azog the Defiler, because this was as good a Name to Run Away From Really Fast as the hobbit had ever heard. While the rest of the company seemed to see the story as an example of Asskicking Equals Authority on Thorin’s part, all Bilbo heard was an awesome Origin Story for a potential Big Bad Nemesis.
Because the dwarves had Never Found the Body, making it possible that Azog was Not Quite Dead instead of Six Feet Under like was supposed to be. Even worse, Thorin had cut off the pale orc’s arm, something that practically dared his foe to get a Deadly Upgrade via Appendage Assimilation or the use of a Hook Hand and become a Handicapped Badass. So the Rule of Cool and It’s Personal meant that Azog was bound to return before their quest was over, especially since You Killed My Grandfather gave Thorin an excuse for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
But when Bilbo tried to warn the dwarf lord, Thorin ignore the hobbit's every “You Have to Believe Me.” Instead the company Cassandra Truthed him, telling Bilbo that he was just a silly hobbit who didn’t understand the realities of battle and he exercised his Miranda Rights after that.
However, the burglar could not stop thinking and Bilbo started to believe that he might be Blessed With Suck as he considered all the ways their quest could be an Epic Fail and the odds that his companions might be Doomed By Canon before the last page was turned. Óin would never make it since smart enemies always Shot the Medic First, Thorin was probably Too Cool to Live, and Kíli might fall prey to Kill the Cutie somewhere along the way. But perhaps Fíli's presence would allow the princes to become Those Two Guys instead, Kíli and Fíli surviving due to Fan Favorite status while Ori was safe since he had to Live to Tell the Tale.
Yet Bilbo couldn't figure out how to be Crazy Prepared for every eventuality when he couldn't even tell whether this story was a Tragedy or Comedy. On one hand, Kíli's role as a “Well Done Son” Guy hinted at an angsty Subplot and Thorin's extreme Elves vs. Dwarves mentality was practically begging for a Redemption Quest. But on the other hand, fate was clearly pushing the company toward victory given the Contrived Coincidence of their arrival in Rivendell and Radagast's Rabbits of a Different Color added a note of Farce to their Cerebus Rollercoaster.
This lack of certainty drove Bilbo mad with worry, his inability to focus only making him seem more like the Chosen Zero in Thorin's eyes. But the hobbit couldn't help it, not when the Hostile Weather of the Misty Mountains and their encounter with the stone giants were much too close to Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.
Sure the magic of Plot Armor had protected the company so far, but that was a Fair-weather Friend at best when Tragic Deaths were a fantastic Ratings Stunt. Thus, after Thorin was forced to rescue Bilbo yet again, the hobbit decided that he must have been mistaken after all. Surely the Call Dialed the Wrong Number because he could hardly be a hero when his own allies didn't even like him and the hobbit couldn't bear the thought of his Twist Ending being a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero as he watched these True Companions die.
Bilbo wanted to go home; he wanted to return to the comforts of the Shire before Azog swooped in to kill Thorin as he was bound to do. Because Ignorance Was Bliss and the only thing worse than Genre Blindness was watching these dwarves stride along Failing Spot Checks left and right.
It was torture and the burglar could hardly be surprised when their company was captured by goblins on that Dark and Stormy Night. He had told the dwarves that something like this might happen due to Finagle's Law of maximum chaosity, and Bilbo cursed Thorin's Selective Obliviousness as he tumbled into the deeps.
However, the hobbit actually was surprised after he fell further into the mountain because Battles of Wits had been rather rare so far. His companions seemed to operate on the idea that Violence Was the Only Option and this Gollum fellow seemed inclined that way himself.
But even though Bilbo was Alone With the Psycho, the burglar still had some Heroic Resolve to his name and so he threw out a Scheherazade Gambit to keep his foe at bay. To his great relief, it was Crazy Enough to Work and thus some Exact Words, a bit of Riddle Me This, and one freaky Berserk Button later, the hobbit found himself back in the open air again.
With this victory under his belt and Chekhov's Boomerang on his finger, Bilbo decided to rejoin his company instead of heading Home as he had planned. Though it took a passionate “World of Cardboard” Speech to make Thorin accept his decision and the dwarf lord might still have Voted him Off the Island if they hadn't faced a sudden case of Out of the Frying Pan. The Savage Wolves on their heels were somehow less terrifying than the Evil Albino who followed them and this time Bilbo took no joy in being right.
Instead the burglar watched in horror as Thorin's Unflinching Walk was side-swiped by Reality Ensues, the dwarf lord getting up close and personal with the white warg's jaws. But while the hobbit was terrified, he was not going to be Forced to Watch one of his companions die, even one that still hated him.
So Bilbo Took a Level in Badass and proved that Good Was Not Soft when need arose. Even though Azog seemed more surprised than impressed by the burglar's Go Through Me defense, his Big Damn Hero moment managed to Delay The Inevitable long enough. Because their wizard was more than a Grouchy Old Man in a Funny Hat and he had summoned Big Badass Birds of Prey to rescue Thorin’s company.
Maybe I'm the Chosen One after all, Bilbo thought a little smugly as the eagles carried his friends from the Jaws of Danger, though by now he was almost certain that he was a Supporting Protagonist at best.
The obvious Hero of this tale was Thorin, Fatal Flaws and all, and the hobbit wanted nothing more than to see the dwarf crowned king again. Because the story of his Doomed Hometown had tugged on Bilbo's heartstrings and A Royal Who Actually Did Something deserved all the help that he could get.
So even if the warrior kept his Selective Obliviousness and refused to believe that the hobbit was a valuable companion, Bilbo was going to assist him anyway. Though the burglar might have to punch Thorin first given the litany of Brutal Honesty that the dwarf lord started spewing after he awakened and realized that the hobbit had saved his life.
Yet before Bilbo could pull a Punch Spin Gape on the ungrateful bastard, Thorin's whole rant turned out to be an epic Bait and Switch. The dwarf lord proceeded to admit that he was wrong, something that the hobbit would never have expected any more than he expected the Manly Hug that slammed him into Thorin's chest. Admittedly it was a very nice chest, Thorin's Heroic Build firm and muscled beneath the burglar’s cheek, but Bilbo’s first thought was a horrified, what kind of Ho Yay are we starting here?
While he was fond of Thorin and his Heel Realization would certainly make the rest of their journey more pleasant, the dwarf lord was not exactly someone whom Bilbo could bring home to Meet the Parents. Really, the thought of such a Warrior Prince puttering around Bag End was Actually Pretty Funny and the hobbit thought that he and Thorin were more of a Crack Pairing at best.
Sure any Ship Teasing that the universe decided to throw at him wouldn't exactly be Nintendo Hard to put up with, but Bilbo had his heart set on a more Dark Horse Ship instead. So if he and Thorin were meant to be the Official Couple of this story, fate was going to run smack into the burglar's Rage-Breaking Point because he refused to let anyone Sink His Ship before even he got a chance to sail.
Really, such Ship-to-Ship Combat was a very distressing idea and the hobbit was understandably distracted when Thorin let him go again. Though that was still a rather Lame Excuse for why Bilbo committed the ultimate Fee Fi Faux Pas of adventuring when the company turned to see the Lonely Mountain in the far distance, their Series Goal so close and yet so far.
“I do believe the worst is behind us,” the burglar murmured like some kind of Genre Blind idiot, the words barely leaving his mouth before he winced in horror. Because that was a minor Nice Job Breaking It, Hero and now that he had said the words, the rest of their journey was sure to be full of deadly Side Quests around every bend.
So maybe Bilbo panicked then, Digging Himself Deeper with a torrent of words as he tried to Talk His Way Out of disaster. Maybe if the hobbit talked long enough, fate would ignore this One Little Mistake and allow Thorin's company to reach the Lonely Mountain easily. Bilbo wanted a Travel Montage instead of a Road of Trials and he didn't even care that his companions were starting to give him You're Insane looks again.
Saving his company some Near Death Experiences would be worth the Mad Hatter label, but Bilbo was pretty sure that fate wasn't listening to him. After all, it was Common Knowledge that a quest meant nothing without Mini-Bosses to overcome and one No-Holds-Barred Beatdown wouldn't be enough to make Thorin Heel-Face turn for good.
Besides, as long as Azog the Defiler was still alive, the hobbit knew that he was sure to throw a Surprise Attack when their company least expected the blow to come. It was practically required and Bilbo only hoped that Thorin would survive the Final Showdown that ensued. Though, of course, this was assuming that their Boss Fight with Smaug didn't end with a Total Party Kill, something that was still far too likely in the hobbit's mind.
Because no amount of Ho Yay could make up for being Eaten Alive, no matter how majestic Thorin's abs might be, and Bilbo had a Did I Just Say That Out Loud moment when his rambling was cut off by Fíli and Kíli's shocked Double Take.
When the hobbit looked over at his company, most of the dwarves looked ready to Spit Take and he Blushed scarlet in sudden embarrassment. Being the Mad Hatter was one thing, but Bilbo didn't want his friends to think that he was some kind of Depraved Homosexual now that he had finally proved himself. Of course, Gandalf looked ready to do a Happy Dance but the burglar should have known that the wizard would be a Shipper on Deck and he was something of a Crutch Character anyway.
However, what really caught Bilbo’s attention was Bofur's heartbroken expression and the burglar forgot all about his embarrassment instantly. Because he had been suffering from Unrequited Love for weeks now and this gave him hope that it was Complicated Possibly Requited Love instead.
So the hobbit hummed a Song of Courage under his breath and marched up to Bofur, reaching out to take the miner by the hand. It was time for a Love Confession, the hobbit laying All His Cards On The Table, and if this didn't work, Bilbo would Walk of Shame back to the Shire immediately.
“Bofur, my dear dwarf. Please don't make this a Third Act Misunderstanding. Sure Thorin is attractive, what with the Impressive Stature and Barbarian Longhair, but Royalty is far too much for a Generic Guy like me. I prefer my men a little more Adorkable, you see. I like Funny Hats and Fu Manchu mustaches and someone who Works Hard, Plays Hard, If You Know What I Mean. Though, if my love is Unrequited, please don't start a Fake Relationship for my sake. I'm a grown hobbit and I can handle a little Rejection if -”
His dwarf had apparently heard enough, interrupting Bilbo with a Shut Up Kiss that turned this into an And There Was Much Rejoicing scene as the other dwarves broke out in cheers. It was a Romantic Moment fitting for the Grand Finale of a story, although Bilbo had a sinking feeling that his tale might be a trilogy.
However, the burglar was determined to enjoy his All Is Well That Ends Well while it lasted, wrapping an arm around Bofur's neck to relish their First Kiss properly.
“And That's a Wrap,” Gandalf muttered to himself, the wizard pleased to see that his Matchmaking had already born fruit. Sure there were still Miles Left to Go in their journey and he had many more Ships to nudge into existence even as his friends dodged Poison Arrows, but the First Chapter of this journey had reached its end. So Gandalf just watched the new couple with a Mona Lisa smile, blew a Smoke Ring into the distance and enjoyed the Fade to Black.
To be continued...
(Just so you know, this story is actually complete as far as I'm concerned because writing it made me a little crazy and the thought of doing the next two films is more than I can take right now. But a Sequel Hook seemed like a fitting way to end the tale).