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A Word from the Wise

Title: A Word from the Wise
Pairings: Many minor/implied pairings, including [the following:]
Thorin/Thranduil, Kíli/Bilbo, Kíli/Tauriel, Kíli/Bilbo/Tauriel, and Fíli/Sigrid

Warnings: Crack, lots of crack
Word Count: 3988
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit it would be seriously ridiculous
Summary: Dís asks Thorin and his companions to teach Fíli and Kíli about courtship on the way to Erebor. But there’s a reason only two of the dwarves are married and these lessons don't work out as she planned.

“No, brother. You cannot take my sons to Erebor.”

“But Dís, I need them. An archer would be helpful and I can hardly reclaim Erebor without Fíli at my side. He is my heir and it would be ill luck to try.”

“I. Don't. Care.”

Sister! It's our homeland. Think of our legacy.”

“I am. I intend to teach my children about love and courtship before Kíli comes of age. I intend to have grandchildren, Thorin, and that's the only legacy I need.”

“I could teach them.”

You? You've never wooed a single person in your life.”

“That doesn't mean I lack the skill. If you allow Fíli and Kíli to come with me, I promise they'll be able to win the heart of any dwarf in the Seven Kingdoms by the time our quest is done.”

“I'll believe that when I see it, Thorin. But since my sons might run away to join you if I refuse them one more time, I suppose your empty promises will do. You may take Fíli and Kíli if you bring Glóin and Bombur too.”

“Bombur? But he's...”

“A very fine husband. Lasses still sigh about his courtship of Brunhilde and my sons might actually learn something useful about love with him around.”

“But I said that I would teach them.”

“I know, brother. And I'm sure you'll do your best. But you'll be busy leading our people home to glory and all that rot so you shouldn’t be afraid to delegate. Knowing that at least two of your companions are actually married will make me feel much better about letting my sons leave.”

“Fine, Dís. I do not wish you to worry needlessly and I suppose it might be helpful to bring a dwarrow who can cook. But I will be teaching Fíli and Kíli about love. It is my duty as their uncle and I will see it done.”


“Thorin? You wanted to see us?”

“Did we do something wrong?”

“Of course not, Fíli. You are not in trouble. But I made a promise to your mother before leaving Ered Luin and this seemed a good time to begin. I am going to teach you about love.”

“Really? You?

“Yes, Kíli. Me. Why does everyone make that expression when I offer my expertise?”

“Well... mother said that Lady Gunda courted you for two years straight before you finally noticed and the first time she tried to kiss you, you nearly attacked her with an axe.”

“She surprised me. I thought it was an ambush. Thranduil used to do the same thing during negotiations to throw me off my guard. He always was a tricky bastard; kept trying to give me flowers and fine wine as though I had any use for such flimsy elvish things.”

“...You have strange enemies. That sounds more like love to me.”

“Which is why you need these lessons, nephew. Romance isn't all soft and sweet and helpless. Romance is born from great hair and sneering majesty.”


“...Really? Are you sure? That doesn’t seem quite right.”

“Well it is, Fíli. Please don't question me. When you meet someone who wants to court you, you must act aloof and utterly uncaring. Show them no favor but what their deeds have earned. If they persist in the face of your disinterest, you will know that they are serious and not just looking for easy money or a tumble in the hay.”

“And the great hair?”

“Is that not obvious?”

“Okay… I get the hair. But I’m not very good at disinterest…”

“Yeah, that’s an understatement.”

“…Can't I chase after my true love instead?”

“No! Don't be daft! You are Sons of Durin, are you not? You must stand above the fawning masses and hold your heads with pride. Besides, there is no such thing as true love. There is only the meeting of like minds, the feint and struggle for the upper hand, and waves of golden hair spread across silk sheets.”

“Okay... Are you certain that you were not courting Thranduil, uncle? It's just that it rather sounds like-”

“Enough! If you will not listen then you don't deserve my lessons. Go speak with our companions and do not return until you realize I am right.”

“As you wish. Come on, Kíli. Let's get out of here.”

“But Fíli, I still don't understand.. If being aloof is the same thing as courting then Thorin's wooing Bilbo and our hobbit should be much happier.”

“Don't worry about it, brother. Our uncle just has a few weird kinks.”

“What's a ki-”

“I'll explain when you're older, Kíli. Now go to sleep.”


“Good morning, Balin. You're the eldest of our companions. Do you have any thoughts on love? Thorin wasn't very helpful and mother thinks that we should learn.”

“There is only one thing that you need to know, lads, and I will tell you. Love is pain and you should put all thought of courtship from your minds.”


“Love is pining over the most gorgeous sideburns and spending months crafting a perfect token of the admiration that you feel. Love is learning that someone else asked your beloved for her hand while you were busy and feeling your heart shatter in your chest. Love is betrayal, plain and simple, and I have vowed to be alone forevermore.”


“...We're just gonna go.”


“Have you seen Bombur? Mother said to ask him about courtship once uncle screwed it up.”

“I don't know; I haven't seen him. But you could try Bofur over there.”

“Sure, why not?”

“Hey, Bofur. Have you ever been in love?”

“Of course, Fíli. Many times. There was a dwarrowdam in Erebor with the loveliest giggle, like diamonds falling through your fingers in the early morning light. She used to smile at me on my way to work and I was sure that I would marry her some day. But of course, the dragon put an end to that. There was also a lass in the Iron Hills who made my heart flutter from the first moment that I saw her, a picture of perfection with trailing skirts and a finely braided beard. She would walk through the market buying food and flowers and once she almost bought a toy from Bifur's stall.”

“But you aren't married?”

“No, I am afraid not. I want those I care for to be happy and there is always a better choice than me. I introduced Brunhilde to my brother and Gerta to a cousin. Thild married a stonemason and Uld married a gem cutter while Deln's true love was always the art of tapestry. I even introduced your mother to your father many years ago.”

“You loved our mother?”

“Only briefly. My current love is a fine strong dwarrow back in Ered Luin and I intend to pledge my troth if we succeed. For I will have the gold to build him the finest rooms in Erebor and I'm running out of single relatives.”

“I can't decide if you're kind or just plain stupid.”


“It's all right, Fíli. I've been known to wonder that very thing myself. But I would rather be alone than stand in the way of another person's happiness.”

“Well, good luck with that. However, mum wanted us to learn about courtship not matchmaking so we should best be moving on.”


“I'm afraid that I can't help you lads. I love my wife but I didn't court her. She simply told me that she liked my axes and the color of my beard and that seemed like enough on which to build a family. So we married the next spring and Gimli was born a few years later... Speaking of your cousin, have you seen his brand new axe? He forged the blade with his own hands.”

“Oh yes, definitely. He showed us that axe before he left. Didn't he Kíli?”

“He did? I don't remember that.”

“Well, in that case, let me tell you all about it...”

“Now you've done it, brother.”

“Sorry, Fí.”

*Three hours later*

“...And that's how Gimli forged a full quiver of arrows when he was only seventeen. Any questions?”

“Wake up, Kíli. The story's over.”

“Thank the Valar. I think my foot's asleep.”


“Morning, Ori. Have your brothers told you anything of courting? Thorin told us to ask the others when we second-guessed his lessons, but that hasn't been going very well.”

“Sorry, Fíli. Dori told me I'm not allowed to marry until I turn two hundred and Nori just gets scarily protective any time I ask. If you do find out something useful, will you pass it on?”

“Well, so far we're supposed to be aloof but well-groomed, introduce our beloveds to other people who might make them happier and accept that we'll always be alone. Unless someone else asks us for our hand in marriage, whereupon we should agree if they have fantastic hair.”

“Please ignore my brother. He's an idiot.”

“I admit that didn't make much sense. What did they really say?”

“Oh, no, that roughly summed things up. But clearly our companions are insane. You'll get better advice from those romance novels that you love so much.”

“...You know about those?”

“Everyone knows about those, Ori. Everyone but your brothers. Just like we're all pretty sure that Thorin had a fling with Thranduil years ago. But don't worry. We won't tell Dwalin or your brothers why you enjoy reading about big burly guardsman ravishing young scholars. Your secret's safe with us.”

“Shut your mouth! Someone might hear you.”

“Don't worry. I'll keep him quiet. And if we do discover any useful information, we'll be sure to let you know.”


“I still can't find Bombur.”

“Damn, who else can we ask?”



“...Let's skip Gandalf.”


“Nori, are you busy?”

“No, lads. How can I help?”

“Well, we were just wondering if you knew how to make another dwarf fall in love with you?”

“Oh, that's easy.”


“Of course. First you do some research. Find out where they spend their time and make sure that you 'run into' them whenever they go out. Learn enough about their interests to hold a conversation and then mostly let them talk about themselves – both dwarrows and dwarrowdams love that. Once they think of you as a friend, they'll start to trust you and reveal their weaknesses.”

“And that's when you profess your love?”

“No, that's when you rob them. Your mark should have told you where they hide their gold by then.”


“Come on, Kíli. We're leaving.”

“But I'm not done taking notes.”

“Give me that!”

“Hey! I was writing.”

“And now you're done.”

“Fíli! Wait for me. Fíli! At least Nori made some sense. I never said that I was actually gonna steal from anyone. Fíli!”


“Can we talk to you?”

“That depends on what you want.”

“We're looking for advice on courtship. Do you have some to offer?”

“I'm the captain of Thorin's guard. How much time do you think I have for love?

“Good point.”

“Sixty years I've been running after your uncle, trying to keep the fool alive as he insults one man after another with no thought to his own safety. And when Thrór still reigned, Thorin and I spent far too much time in Mirkwood for me to find a dwarrowdam. There was nothing but elves in all directions and those snobby bastards are much too tall and skinny for my tastes.”

“I don't know. I kind of like that. Makes we want to climb them.”

“Shush, Kíli. You're almost as bad as uncle. But thank you for your time, Dwalin. We'll leave you to your work.”


“Bifur, have you seen Bombur? We're supposed to ask him about love.”

He is gathering firewood. But if you wish to know about love, I can help.


Yes. Love is simple. When you meet someone special, you will know. You will want to see them always and do anything to make them happy. Indeed, their smile will make your heart sing for joy whenever it appears.

“That sounds wonderful. But how do we make them feel the same?”

You cannot make someone love you. But you can lure their heart with poetry. Whisper sweet words and sing her praises, give her gifts and talk about her interests as though they are your own. Show her that you care about her mind and heart and body and she may fall into your arms.

“What did he say?”

“I don't know. I couldn't understand anything after poetry. His accent is weird.”

“Or maybe you should have studied Khuzdûl harder. What would our mother think?”

“Hey! You couldn't understand him either?”

“...You're right. His accent is weird.”


“Uncle? Are you sure that you and Thranduil weren't courting? He looked really hurt when you wouldn't speak to him.”

“Hurt and angry; we're probably never getting out of here.”

“You are delusional, my sister-sons. That was the elf king's normal face. But I may agree to a private negotiation later. His hair is looking rather nice and it's been some time since I matched wits with a truly worthy foe.”

“Matched wits, right. I think you meant dicks instead.”


“Kíli? Are you paying attention? You should have laughed at that.”

“Sorry, Fíli. I was just thinking about the elven captain who helped me in the woods. She was rather lovely, wasn't she? And aloof enough that uncle might approve.”

“Did you hit your head when we were captured? Uncle's advice is terrible. And even if it weren't, you're supposed to be the aloof one as a prince of Erebor.”

“I don't know. I think Tauriel could be a princess with skills and hair like that. Glóin's wife married him for his beard and his axes; why can't I do the same? She has locks like flame and eyes like emeralds and I want to give her a bow with inlaid silver like the brilliant stars above.”

“Mahal, help me. You're actually worse than Thorin. But what the hell, brother, try to court her if you wish. Maybe Nori was right and she'll reveal her weaknesses.”


“Should we ask Bilbo?”

“About what? Escaping?”

“No, about courting. He might have a new perspective.”

“I suppose. It's not like we have anything else to do while trapped in here.”

“What are you two whispering about?”

“Good timing, Bilbo. We were just wondering what you knew of love.”


“Yes, or courtship. How do hobbits do such things?”

“Well, I'm probably the wrong person to ask since I've been a bachelor for decades. But hobbits are simple folk at heart. When a lad or lass in interested in someone, they just try to spend more time together, walking through town and talking or helping their beloved with their chores. Because, you see, the most important thing is friendship. Hobbits believe that you should always be friends with your spouse in order to have a happy marriage and the few exceptions I've seen just proved the rule.”

“That seems sensible. But what if you're already friends?”

“Then I suppose that you should kiss them to show that you want more. I told you, I've never made it that far. For all I know, prospective grooms must pass a trial by combat before the bans are read and I've heard that disapproving parents have ended many an engagement then and there.”

“Well, if you can face a dragon, I'm pretty sure that you can face my mother and you've already proven your courage several times.”

“I suppose I have but I didn't think that I was courting anyone. Your uncle may have gorgeous hair, but he's a little too angry for my tastes. And even if I were interested, I've stumbled onto him and Thranduil doing things that I don't want to think about.”

“Don't worry, we can guess.”

“I wasn't talking about uncle.”

“If not Thorin, then who? You and your brother are probably my best friends here, except for maybe Bofur and he keeps telling me to leave. Something about being happier back in Hobbiton and that's a little weird. So I don-... mmph.”

“Durin's beard, Kíli! What are you doing?!”

“Staking my claim, of course; I'm not letting Bofur take my hobbit.”

“Your hobbit? Really?”

“If you want to be. You're my friend, you're cute, you're brave, you're stubborn, and you're pretty good with a sword. I've heard much worse reasons to fall in love with that.”

“He really has. Just take my word for it.”

“Umm, okay. I guess I can consider your proposal. You are rather cute beneath that mop of hair.”

“Great. Then I just have one more question. What do you think of Tauriel?”

“...Mother is going to kill me.”


“Óin, is there any way to fall back out of love?”

“I have often wondered that very thing, Fíli. Love is a terrible affliction. I have seen great warriors brought to tears and strong kings fall to ruin. I have seen dwarrows shiver and shake as though poisoned with blood fever, their bodies weak and clammy due to the pining of their hearts.”

“But can you cure it?”

“I am afraid not, lad. In all my years, I have never found an herb that can cure a broken heart. Treating Kíli's symptoms is the best that I could do.”

“I'm not talking about Kíli. Tauriel and Bilbo have been as thick as thieves ever since he introduced them and for some strange reason, they both think that my brother's wonderful. Kíli couldn't be happier if you crowned him king today. I'm the one who needs your help.”

“Fíli? You're in love?”

“Not on purpose! But look at her... Sigrid is sweet and kind and graceful and she takes care of her siblings. She showed courage under fire and I think she's pretty even if she lacks a beard.”

“I'm afraid you've got it bad, Fíli. You'll have to talk to her.”

“Fuck. Kíli will never let me live this down.”


“Your family has done a lot of traveling, Dori. Do you know anything about courtship when other races are involved?

“Yes, do you? I wouldn't want to offend either Tauriel or Bilbo on accident.”

“You don't need any help, Kíli. Your elf and your hobbit are utterly besotted with both you and each other. You could probably run naked through the market square and they'd just love you more.”

“You think so?”

“That wasn't a suggestion, little brother. I swear romance has made you even stupider.”

“Hey! There's no need to be rude. You're just jealous because Sigrid hasn't even looked at you.”

“Which is why I'm trying to talk to Dori. So will you sit down and shut up!”

“It's all right, Fíli. I do have two little brothers. But I'm afraid the little human courting I've encountered seemed very strange to me.”

“I'm desperate, Dori. I'll take anything.”

“Well, from what I've seen there is a lot of shouting and if Bard tries to kill you when you ask to court his daughter, that means he secretly approves. However, you must still ask for Bard's permission and your chances will be better if you bring gifts for Sigrid when you do. A veil, a dress, and a bouquet of flowers seem to be traditional.”

“Flowers? It's winter, Dori. I can probably find a dress in Erebor but I can't make it spring.”

“Why don't you forge the flowers? You've always been good at crafting finely detailed pieces and that would show your skill.”

“Don't be ridiculous, Kíli. That's... actually a good idea. A bouquet of blooms that never wilts would far outshine anything that a fisher boy could bring. But are you sure that I shouldn't speak to Sigrid before her father? What if he laughs me down?”

“Oh no, you can't do that. I've seen women slap men silly for daring to speak to them in public. To be truly proper, you must have at least three chaperones. Ideally your beloved's ugly older sisters and her mother, but I suppose you must make do with what you have. Still, you should speak your intentions as publicly as possible; a grand ball in Erebor should do the trick. If Sigrid returns your feelings, she will leave a single shoe behind and if it fits when you return it, Bard will let you wed.”

“Okay, seriously? That can't possibly be right. I've heard the bards sing sagas about fairies that seemed more sensible.”

“Actually, you know what? I think that last part was a play.”

“Aagh, you're useless! I'm just gonna talk to Sigrid.”

“But wait! Fíli! You don't have flowers yet!”


“There you are, Bombur. I'm glad to see that you survived.”

“I'm pretty chuffed myself, lad. How's your uncle doing?”

“He'll be all right. His wound was serious but Thranduil is an impressive healer when he wants to be and he has a vested interest in keeping his spouse alive.”

“I must admit, that's not a couple I ever thought to see.”

“Honestly, I think they both still hate each other. But uncle seems to enjoy the arguing. Speaking of which, Kíli and I were supposed to ask you about courtship during our journey but we just never found the time.”

“You seem to have done quite well without me. Or have my eyes mistaken the braiding in your hair?”

“You know better than that, Bombur. We're both happily betrothed. But we'd still like your advice before we're married. How do you keep from screwing up?”

“That is the question, isn't it? And it’s not an easy one to answer. However, I'll let you in on a secret, lads. My courtship of Brunhilde might have been grand and romantic, but that's not what matters in the end.”

“It’s not?”

“No. Sweeping gestures never hurt but it's the little things that will keep your love alive. I try to remember Brunhilde's birthday and have a hot bath ready when she's been on her feet all day. I kiss her every morning when we separate and again in the evening so that she knows how much I love her even when we fight. Because you will fight. You will make mistakes and you will disagree, but if you stick to it, love can be the greatest treasure that you will ever own. It's messy and crazy and sometimes tragic, but it is also beautiful.”


“Are you crying, brother?”

“Don't judge me. That was poetry.”


“Hello, Thorin. Congratulations on winning back your mountain and nearly getting yourself gutted in the process, you reckless idiot.”

“Hello, sister. It's nice to see you too.”

“Yeah. Whatever. I just have one question. Did I or did I not ask you to teach my children about courting on this journey? And did you not promise that you would see it done?”


“So tell me, brother. Why did I arrive in Erebor to find Fíli engaged to Bard's eldest daughter and Kíli in some strange triad with an elf-maid and your burglar?”

“What's the problem, Dís? You wanted them to court and they courted quite successfully.”

“I wanted grandchildren, you daft bastard! I wanted little dwarrowlings to fill my home with laughter and the pitter-pat of tiny feet.”

“Relax, sister. Thranduil assures me that both joinings should be fruitful and considering the noises that I've heard from Kíli's chambers, you should be a granddam soon enough.”

“That's... I... just... Thranduil? Why is the King of Mirkwood advising you on that?”

“Funny story, actually. Apparently we've been married for over sixty years by elvish reckoning and he convinced me to rekindle our alliance. So you get to plan three wedding ceremonies now.”

“Fuck. You're serious, aren't you? I always knew you didn't have a clue about love or romance and I guess you've proved me right. Tell me, brother. Did the wine cellar survive the dragon's rampage? Because I really need a drink.”