Chapter 1: A Wizard Meddles
Pairings: Kíli/Bilbo, hints of a couple others
Warnings: Can I warn for epic fluff?
Word Count: 3340
Summary: Kíli is a virgin. Bilbo is a unicorn. Together they fight goblins and cuddle epically.
Art: Unicorn!Bilbo 1, Unicorn!Bilbo 2.
Everyone knew that Bilbo Baggins was part unicorn on his mother's side.
Most of the Shire was part something these days – pure-blooded halflings being few and far between – but polite folk did not discuss such things when strangers were around. Polite hobbits did not stare at the little nub of bone on Bilbo's forehead or make a fuss when Rosie Took breathed fire; they simply brought the injured to Bag End when their wounds went foul.
The Shire kept its secrets close and lived in peace because of this, all manner of legendary creatures finding safety in its bounds. For hobbits always bred true and while Bilbo was the only unicorn for miles, he was considered quite normal compared to his Tookish relatives.
In fact, Bilbo was thought to be rather boring until the day that one mad wizard walked into his life. Gandalf was determined to drag the hobbit on an adventure despite several clear refusals and the sheer ridiculousness of calling him a burglar. The wizard must have been smoking something positively mind-bending to think that was a good idea and Bilbo sent him away without a second's thought.
Honestly, the unicorn had forgotten all about Gandalf when someone knocked on his door that evening as he was sitting down to eat. If Bilbo had remembered, he probably would have hidden beneath the dinner table until his visitors gave up. But instead the hobbit only wondered who could be calling at this hour, answering the knock to find a dozen dwarves and one smug wizard standing on his porch. Well, the wizard was standing; the dwarves were falling headlong through his door.
“Damn it, Gandalf,” Bilbo cursed as he dodged one flailing arm. “You've been smoking too much pipe-weed and I hope your teeth turn brown.”
Bilbo would have liked to close the door and go back to his dinner, brushing off the wizard's talk of burglars and his uninvited guests. But the hobbit couldn't do that; it would have been easier to make himself stop breathing because one of the dwarves lying in his entryway was so chaste it almost hurt and while Gandalf was a cheating, interfering bastard, he had also won this round.
Unicorns were drawn to virgins – those pure of mind and body – and Bilbo had never felt such a bright soul before. He could no more ignore that call than his mother could have ignored Bungo Baggins and Belladonna had fought off three other suitors for the right to marry him. Indeed, Bilbo's mother had been lucky. Her relationship with Bungo had lasted for a lifetime when most unicorns were forced to settle for a fleeting dream instead.
Bilbo himself had settled for contentment. The hobbit had settled for good food, good books, and good friends instead of romance because he'd seen the love his parents shared and he'd been holding out for someone special in his life.
Of course, the unicorn hadn't expected meeting someone special to require burglary, a wizard or actual traveling, but that didn't matter now. Nothing mattered but the dwarf who shone in his mind like a diamond and Bilbo would do much worse than steal to remain near such a light. The hobbit didn't know if this dwarf could love him but he knew he had to try; he would regret it for a lifetime otherwise.
Which meant that Bilbo was going on an adventure whether he wanted to or not. Some unknown adventure since Gandalf had completely failed to mention the actual details of his quest. But the hobbit was a unicorn – hard to kill and twice as pretty – and he was sure that he'd be fine.
Bilbo just needed to be accepted by the wizard's company and his chances should be good. If these dwarves were looking for a burglar in the Shire then they must be desperate and the hobbit was prepared to work for free.
All of this ran through his mind in an instant, his decision made before the first dwarf struggled to his feet. So instead of shouting at his uninvited guests, Bilbo just smiled at them – his grin possibly a little manic before he reined it in. It was difficult for the hobbit to act normal when he felt so twitterpated and his heart was pounding like a hammer in his chest.
However, the dwarves didn't seem to notice his distraction and Gandalf didn't comment, strolling into Bag End like he owned the place. The smug old bat could use a lesson in good manners and if Bilbo hadn't been so desperate to meet his virgin, he would have thrown the wizard out.
At least the rest of his guests greeted their host politely and the hobbit managed to welcome them to his smial without stammering. He returned their bows in kind, thankful that dwarves didn't share the human habit of shaking hands with strangers since most of his guests were far from virginal. The unicorn could stand near them but it wasn't pleasant, his level of discomfort a fair gauge of their hearts' innocence. Apparently these dwarves knew how to party, though at least Bilbo could be sure that none of them were evil now.
Indeed, all of his guests seemed to be quite cheerful as the hobbit waved them toward the pantry one by one. If these dwarves insisted on dropping by uninvited then they would have to scrounge up their own dinner because his wish to join their company only stretched hospitality so far.
Besides the unicorn had far more important things than cooking on his mind. Specifically his dwarf, who had been on the bottom of the pile and looked rather rumpled when he finally stood up. Rumpled but still the most gorgeous thing that Bilbo had ever seen and the hobbit barely even noticed the other dwarf standing next to him.
“Fíli and Kíli. At your service,” the pair said with a bow, Kíli giving the unicorn a grin that made him want to swoon.
“I am very glad to meet you,” Bilbo told the dwarf sincerely. “Please, hang up your coat and weapons. Make yourself at home. If you're hungry, I can cook you something or there's fruit and cheese in the pantry. Please, come in, come in. You are more than welcome here.”
The unicorn knew that he was probably coming off a little crazy since most people didn't greet total strangers quite so fervently. But he couldn't help it. Bilbo could barely keep from falling to his knees in benediction, stopping himself from staring was far too much to ask. Indeed, the hobbit completely ignored Fíli as he drank in every detail of his virgin's face.
The dwarf was taller than Bilbo and carried himself like a warrior, though his eyes were too kind to have seen much bloodshed in his life. Truthfully, Kíli seemed rather young compared to most of his companions – though the hobbit was no connoisseur of dwarven ages, the lack of a full beard implied a lack of years. But Kíli's features were strong, his jaw firm if only lightly stubbled and his loose dark hair framed a surprisingly handsome face. Surprising because, in Bilbo's experience, people who looked like that were rarely virgins long.
But Kíli was. Kíli was young and chaste and beautiful and yet it wasn't just his chastity that made him overpowering. Unicorns didn't actually turn into idiots whenever a virgin crossed their path – Bilbo had a bone to pick with whoever wrote those legends; there was no mindless drooling here.
Well, maybe a little drooling since the hobbit could certainly appreciate that view. But what made Kíli truly magnetic was the heart inside his body not his pretty smile, innocence and joy radiating like sunshine from his skin.
Bilbo wanted to curl around the dwarf and cuddle for the rest of his natural life. He wanted to ply Kíli with tea and cookies, bring him bouquets of flowers in the springtime, and see that nothing ever made him frown again. The dwarf was just adorable and the urge to pinch his cheeks was almost overwhelming when he met the hobbit’s eyes and blushed.
Kíli couldn't help the blush. No one had ever looked at him like that before. If their host were staring at Fíli or Dwalin, the archer would have understood. Dwalin was the only person who came close to matching Thorin for quantity of suitors and Fíli had quite a following amongst the younger dwarrowmaids. Although, in truth, it would have made more sense for Bilbo to admire any other member of their company – even Ori was more attractive in the archer's eyes.
No one pined for Kíli. He was too young, too plain, too silly, and much too clueless about matters of the heart. Truthfully, the dwarf found the whole business quite confusing and he couldn't actually imagine sleeping with anyone.
Fíli seemed to like it – he liked it quite a lot considering the stories he'd told his little brother – but Kíli had never felt that urge himself. He had been content with friendship, truly, and he wouldn't have known what to do if a lass had looked his way. Or a lad, for that matter, hence the dwarf's confusion now.
Kíli was out of his depth, unable to do anything but blush as Bilbo led him toward the dining room. Because the hobbit barely seemed to notice the rest of his companions, fretting over Kíli's comfort while the other dwarves emptied Bag End's pantry down to the last wheel of moldy cheese.
When they had finished, there was quite a feast laid out on Bilbo's dinner table and the archer happily sat down to eat. Kíli was starving after several hard day's travel and at least while eating, he didn't have to think about Bilbo's charming grin. But soon the dwarf started to feel a little guilty about the chaos his friends were causing, Thorin's company repaying the hobbit's kindness with wanton gluttony.
It was only polite to save some of the choicest morsels for their host. Yet, Kíli's offerings just made Bilbo's smile more adoring and the archer couldn't help but flush again at the soft look in his eyes.
He grew even redder when Nori whistled from across the table and Fíli smirked at him. Even the wizard let out a chortle from his corner, though that could have been the pipe-weed, and Kíli was ready to die from embarrassment by the time their meal was done.
However, the archer couldn't be mad at Bilbo for his interest – hobbits are probably just friendlier than other folks – and so he started the other dwarves on washing up. His companions had eaten everything in the pantry, the least they could do was take care of the mess. Even if the way that Bilbo smiled at the shining dishes made Kíli duck his head bashfully.
The dwarves had just finished their scrubbing when a loud knock rang through the smial and there was only one person who could be arriving now. Thorin always liked to make an entrance – he claimed that being late enhanced his majesty – and he swept into Bag End like the king that he should be.
Gandalf went to greet Thorin while the rest of his companions followed after and Kíli fully expected Bilbo to swoon over his uncle’s brooding ruggedness. But instead the hobbit took one look at Thorin and bristled like he’d just smelled something foul before stepping back toward Kíli. He didn't stop until he was nearly plastered to the archer’s side.
“So you’re the leader of this company?” Bilbo asked in lieu of greeting. “I don’t like your choice of wizards – although, knowing Gandalf, he probably picked himself – but you’ve still found your fourteenth member here.”
“You?” Thorin answered. “You don’t look much like a burglar.”
“And you don't look much like a king,” the hobbit replied with a disdainful snort and the dwarf lord's eyes narrowed dangerously.
“Bilbo!” Kíli hissed. Making Thorin angry was never a good plan and he didn't want the hobbit to get hurt. That would certainly be poor repayment for his kindness and his meal. For a moment the archer thought that Bilbo was going to keep arguing, but then he glanced back up at Kíli and his expression softened once again.
“I apologize. I was not expecting company,” the hobbit said, raising his hands in conciliation. “However, appearances are deceiving and if you want a burglar then a burglar I'll be. I promise I will be far more useful on this journey than you think.”
“Really? You are prepared to face a dragon in my service?” the dwarf lord asked skeptically.
Thorin truly was a master of haughtiness – the dwarf had a lot of practice sneering at humans twice his height – and Kíli couldn't help feeling protective of the hobbit now. For Bilbo kept pressing closer to the archer with every step that Thorin took until Kíli had to wrap an arm around his waist just to keep them both upright. Yet when he glanced at Bilbo's face, the hobbit's expression spoke of distaste instead of fear even as he patted the dwarf's hand absently.
“Look, there's no need to loom like that. I'm a unicorn; I can feel your tortured soul,” Bilbo told the dwarf lord. “You don't need to wow me with your majesty.”
“You're a what?”
“A unicorn, of course... Didn't Gandalf tell you?” the hobbit replied, sounding quite perplexed.
“What's a unicorn? Some kind of special thief?” Thorin asked before shaking his head dismissively. “I don't care what you call yourself as long as you will steal for me.”
“...You know what, sure. That's exactly what I meant,” Bilbo said, throwing his hands into the air with an exasperated sigh. “In fact, I'm probably the best thief in the Shire and I want to join your company. Wherever you plan on going, let me travel at your side.”
“And when our quest takes us to the Lonely Mountain, will you be brave enough to steal from Smaug the Terrible?” the dwarf lord sneered. “Will you stand against the fire drake with no one else to aid you? Rob the monster who slew three hundred dwarves with one swipe of razor claws and drove my people from our home more than sixty years ago?”
“Sorry, did you say Smaug?” the hobbit asked, interrupting Thorin's rant when the dwarf lord stopped to breathe. “And were those dwarves all warriors? Or were they innocents?”
Bilbo's rapid-fire questions knocked the dwarf off balance, Thorin not expecting such interrogation from his potential burglar.
Although, Kíli could hardly blame his uncle for his confusion when the archer was quite confused himself. This hobbit wasn't acting normal by any standard measure and indeed, none of Kíli's companions seemed entirely sure what they should make of him. So there was a long pause in the conversation as the dwarves looked at each other, trading shrugs and murmurs while Gandalf chuckled to himself. The wizard could have answered Bilbo's questions but he was enjoying the show too much to interfere.
“Yes, fine, his name is Smaug,” Thorin said finally. “And I believe most of the dead were warriors, but what difference does that make? If three hundred soldiers could not kill him and hardened souls have fled mere rumors of Smaug's presence, how can I trust that you will not turn and run as well?”
“Because I have no fear of dragons, not ones named Smaug at least,” Bilbo told Thorin evenly. “Your wizard may be a liar and a meddler, but he was right to come to me. I will see you and your companions unharmed to Erebor and I will confront your dragon. However, if you doubt my courage, you need not pay me any wages; the only prize I seek is not yours to offer me.”
While the dwarf lord was still pretty sure that Bilbo Baggins was a nutter, the promise of more gold for his people was enough to sway him now. Gandalf had promised to find his company's fourteenth member and Thorin's favorite sort of burglar was the sort who worked for free.
“In that case, welcome to the company of Thorin Oakenshield,” the dwarf lord said, clapping Bilbo on the shoulder and then striding toward the dining room. “Now, I am starving and our wizard swore that there would be food aplenty here.”
“Yes, of course. I'll make a stew,” Dori offered as the other dwarves followed Thorin. They disappeared into the kitchen, Fíli giving his brother a saucy wink before walking through the door and leaving him alone with Bilbo in the hall. Kíli knew that he should follow, but he had felt the hobbit shudder when his uncle touched his shoulder and he wanted to make sure that their new burglar was all right.
“Are you okay? Thorin didn't hurt you, did he?” the archer asked. Thorin didn't always know his own strength and the hobbit was so small; his uncle could have hurt him easily.
“I am fine, my dear,” Bilbo replied, looking up at Kíli with another blinding smile. “You are sweet to worry but I am much stronger than I look. And as nice as this is, you should probably release me so that we can join the others. I want to know our strategy.”
“Sorry; I'm so sorry,” Kíli stammered, letting the hobbit go immediately. He hadn't realized that he was still holding onto Bilbo and he was mortified by his impropriety. Though their burglar didn't seem to mind.
“It is quite all right,” Bilbo said as he took the archer by the hand. He led Kíli into the dining room to rejoin the others – everyone but Dori who was still making soup. The other dwarves were watching Gandalf and Thorin have a very heated argument about the best way to kill a dragon and normally Kíli would have had a few suggestions of his own. But right now the archer couldn't have spoken if his life depended on it; he was too busy staring at his hand in disbelief.
No one had held Kíli's hand in years, not since he was a child, and yet Bilbo had intertwined their fingers easily. The hobbit hadn't hesitated even though they were almost strangers and Kíli should really pull his hand away. But Bilbo's grip felt nice, nice and warm and comforting, and not even Fíli's smirking could make the dwarf let go.
Their burglar must have felt the same because he didn't release Kíli's hand until the meeting broke up for the evening, Gandalf and the dwarves returning to their inn to sleep. Even then, Bilbo seemed reluctant to let the archer leave. Indeed, the hobbit delayed Kíli's departure until Fíli had to drag him from the smial and then stood on the porch watching as the two princes rode away.
“Someone likes you, little brother, and it appears the feeling's mutual,” Fíli chuckled when the younger dwarf glanced back to see if Bilbo was still there. “I never thought I'd see the day.”
“Shut up, Fíli,” the archer retorted. “Bilbo was just being nice, is all.” Nice enough to still be waiting in the doorway. “It doesn't mean anything.”
“I think it does, brother, because he was only nice to you. He looked like he wanted to throw up on uncle's boots,” Fíli said with a grin and Kíli could hardly keep looking back at Bilbo after that. So the archer kept his eyes fixed on his saddle, ignoring his brother's teasing until he finally gave it up. Only when Fíli was snoring quietly beside him did the dwarf look at his hand and wonder if his brother could be right.
Chapter 2: A Quest Begins