Antarctica-or-bust (rata_toskr) wrote,

The One Who Had Been King

Title: The One Who Had Been King
Pairings: Minor Gimli/Legolas, otherwise gen
Word Count: 2626
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit there would be probably be more angst
Summary: The Fellowships comes across a resurrected Thorin in Moria and he joins them on their quest

(the soul to be judged)

Some souls deserved a second chance and some souls did not and Mahal had not yet decided where Thorin Oakenshield would fall. The dwarf lord had done much wrong in his final days, driven by greed and pride to cast out those who wished to aid him and fight those who should be friends.

Yet Thorin had also redeemed himself in the Valar's eyes with his last valiant charge against his enemies and his admittance to the hobbit of the insult he had paid. Mahal knew that there was potential for great good within the dwarf king's stubborn heart if he could only learn to bend and in these dark times great good was needed.

So the Valar decided that Thorin Oakenshield would have his chance to earn a place in Mahal's hall with the spirits of his kin. He would have one chance to atone for his past mistakes and truly become the King he was in name.

Thus it was proclaimed and thus it was done.

(the lord in the tomb)

So it came to pass that when the Fellowship of the Ring entered the Halls of Moria and grieved in front of Balin's tomb, Gimli's tears were answered.

They were answered by a loud banging from within the stone and a deep reverberation that echoed around the cavern and seemed to resonate within their souls. It sounded once more and then the tomb began to shake as the Fellowship gathered around with awe stirring in their hearts. Weapons drawn they stared intently as the lid slid back ever so slowly, but it was no enemy who rose from within the rock in a pillar of soft white light.

“Thorin Oakenshield?!” Three voices cried out in shock as the elf, the dwarf and the wizard recognized the figure standing there. The King had not aged a day since he had perished more than sixty years before and he bore the weapons and armor that had been buried with him. Yet Thorin was undoubtedly alive and the dwarf blinked slowly when the light died and sense came back into his eyes.

“Gandalf? Where the devil am I now and what are you doing here? Have you found yourself another hopeless quest to tie your fortunes to?”

“In a manner of speaking,” Gandalf replied, a smile overtaking his face. “You have been gone a long time, my old friend. The world has grown much darker and it seems that Aulë thought we could use your aid.”

Thorin took the theory that he had been resurrected to complete some higher purpose well in stride, just nodding his head absently as he climbed out of the tomb. He seemed far more perturbed by the motley make up of their company and he looked over the two men, four hobbits and one very familiar elf and dwarf with a regal frown.

“Rather an unimpressive group you have here. Smoking too much of your weed again?” Death might have taught Thorin some humility but it had not taught him tact.

While Boromir growled angrily at the insult, Gandalf held him back, smiling enigmatically as he replied, “You of all people should know that heroes do not always need a warrior's appearance to accomplish great deeds as long as they possesses a brave and willing heart.”

The dwarf king conceded the point and before the conversation could continue any longer, the group found themselves under assault by fell creatures in the dark.

“Run, run for your lives,” Thorin yelled, for there were far too many to fight and he had no intention of dying again this soon. So the company and its newest member fled through tunnels and passageways, over bridges and down crumbling staircases until at last they found themselves surrounded in Moria's grand halls.

They hefted their blades in preparation for the battle now to come, but then they heard it. The drumming from the deep that called the flame and shadow and Thorin whispered, “Durin's Bane,” in horror when he saw the demon his ancestor awoke.

Then the wizard was falling into darkness and despair, Gandalf's life paid in sacrifice and the company mourned their friend on the mountains' eastern slopes. Though privately Thorin doubted that they had seen the last of the wizard because he had a habit of reappearing just when the time was right.

So the dwarf joined with Aragorn in urging his companions to their feet and despite their loss the Fellowship still numbered nine. Over the course of the long and difficult journey that followed, Thorin discovered that one sword was rarely the difference between life and death and yet he often held the threads of fate within his hands.

(the oaths that were broken)

When introductions were finally made and Thorin Oakenshield met young Frodo Baggins, the former King Under the Mountain dropped to his knees and pledged his loyalty then and there. He owed Bilbo Baggins a debt, one of such magnitude that nothing would ever balance the scales. So if Thorin could repay some small part of it by protecting the hobbit's nephew with his life then he would die, and die gladly.

Then too the dwarf learned of the burden Frodo carried and as the company traveled onward, the Ring tried to tempt him with visions of gold and power. Yet what was that to one who had been King? Thorin had seen the consequences of unchecked greed and he knew the price of power, even that which was claimed with good in mind.

So the dwarf recognized the light that he sometimes saw in the eyes of the men around him for he had seen it in his own before he died. While Thorin knew that each must overcome the Ring's temptation on his own, the dwarf did not have to stand by idly as the pieces fell and one night he pulled Frodo aside and warned the hobbit of the depths to which good men could sink.

Frodo was thus forewarned twice over and properly wary of the desires that the Ring might breed in his companions. So when Boromir finally gave into his fear, the hobbit was well-prepared to run and did so with Thorin's blessing. The dwarf lord saw the signs as well and though he did not arrive in time to stop the Steward's son, he was there to save his life.

Together they fought the Uruk-Hai and though too injured to stop the capture of their young friends, they survived until reinforcements could arrive. Then when Boromir would have died from shame and despair at what he'd done, Thorin shook sense back into his eyes.

“Let me tell you a story,” the dwarf said softly, “Of a king whose greatest wish was to give his people back their homeland. Yet along the way he lost sight of those he was fighting for, driven mad by his arrogance as he tried to reclaim the glory of the past. This king turned on his friends and allies without remorse and they died, they died for his pride and his unbending greed.

And when the madness lifted from my eyes, I looked upon the death and destruction I had wrought and cried out in horror at what I'd done. I killed my sister-sons as true as if I'd swung the blades myself and that is a stain upon my honor that will never be washed clean. So I died then, just as you now wish to, fleeing in cowardice from the shame upon my soul.

But Aulë sent me back. He sent me back to face the consequences of my actions as a true warrior should and as you must as well. Giving up now would only compound your failures for in death there is no way to make things right.

Choose to live knowing that you will always remember this day as the moment of your greatest failure, the day you broke the oaths you swore. For if you learn and take strength from your mistakes instead of falling, then you may yet be redeemed.”

Boromir took heart from Thorin's words and with the help of his companions he found the courage to go on. So it was five not three who followed the trail of the Uruk-Hai, five not three who raced to the rescue of their friends.

(the elf and the dwarf)

When they reached Rohan, the company met Gandalf once more and Thorin was pleased to be reunited with his old friend. However, the dwarf had never truly doubted that the wizard would return, so he was far more pleased by the growing bonds between his companions because he knew that without trust, the remnants of their Fellowship would shatter and decay.

After their long journey together, all of them cared deeply for the others but there were some connections that were stronger than the rest. There was loyalty and respect between Aragorn and Boromir where before there had been only suspicion and Thorin was pleased to see the change his words had wrought.

By the time the company faced death together at Helm's Deep, young Gimli and the elf had also upgraded from petty insults to a friendly rivalry, one that would push both of them to greater heights. While Thorin would never like elves, he recognized that his hatred had cost him greatly in the end, and so he did nothing to preclude this friendship's growth.

However, the dwarf king could not stop his curiosity, so Thorin watched them closely when he could and what he saw surprised him. The elf and the dwarf fought well together as if their hearts now beat in tune and Thorin thought he saw a spark of romance in their eyes.

It surprised the dwarf at first, for he could not understand what Gimli was thinking to choose an elf and one of Thranduil's sons no less. Yet at least his young kinsman had picked a warrior, one who could match him in battle with skill and flair, and who did not speak with that twisting truth of many of his kind. In fact, Thorin soon talked himself around completely for there was no better revenge against the King of Mirkwood than for Thranduil's youngest to fall for such a dwarf.

Thus when Gimli came to his king in the absence of his father and spoke of his intentions, the dwarf was not met with the hostility that his heart expected. Instead, Thorin clapped him on the shoulder and granted the lad his blessing, adding with a smile that if Gimli ever needed advice on how to bed one of such stature, he would offer his expertise.

That was one offer that Gimli never acknowledged but his courtship was successful nonetheless and the morning that the two young lovers left their tent with each other's love braids in their hair, Thorin offered his sincere congratulations.

(the sons of the steward)

The dwarf king did not treat Denethor so kindly. Perhaps the man had once been great but now he was a sniveling coward, lost completely to excess and despair. A small portion of their company had ridden to Minas Tirith to prepare Gondor for the end but the Steward saw only defeat, even with his eldest son once again back in his arms.

Thorin had little patience with such hopelessness for even in his own madness he had found the strength to fight, and his opinion of the man was lessened further by his treatment of his kin. The dwarf king saw much of his sister-sons in the Steward's children and the casual scorn with which Denethor greeted his youngest set Thorin's teeth on edge.

While Boromir bore the brunt of his father's expectations and protected his brother as best he could, it was obvious to the dwarf that this was a battle long fought and ultimately futile. So when the Steward ordered his younger son on a suicidal mission only to salve his wounded pride, Thorin could stand aside no longer.

A great blow of his fist crumpled the Steward to the floor and the dwarf turned calmly to meet the lads' shocked eyes.

“Your father has become indisposed. Perhaps you should take charge and prepare your city for the war that will take us before the dawn.”

When they recovered from their surprise the captains recognized the value of his words and so it was a very different Gondor that rose to stand against its fate. When the battle came, the city still stared out upon its doom, but the soldiers of Minas Tirith drew heart from their leaders and threw off the miasma of despair that had dulled their spirits under the reign of Denethor.

While the war for Gondor and Pelennor Fields was still a horrific, hopeless struggle, it was not one so easily lost and when the Riders of Rohan roared their battle cry, the city rose in answer.

Thorin strode across the battlefield once the day was finally won, and though the dwarf wept over the corpses of the dead, he knew that far more would have perished under Denethor's command. Denethor who was found with his throat slit by his own weak hand, killed by fear and cowardice.

And as he watched the Steward's sons embrace, battered and beaten but alive, Thorin did not regret his deed at all.

(the long road home)

The dwarf king never expected to survive the final assault on Mordor, for what better death was there for him than to fall in the aid of Frodo's journey, he whose life was borrowed time? So when the Great Eye fell and shattered, sending their remaining enemies scattering in terror, Thorin found himself at somewhat of a loss.

There was work enough to be done at first, work for a dwarf with skill in stone and ore and Thorin was not too proud to put his hands to use. He built his strength into the walls of Minas Tirith and poured the hope of its people into the armor that he forged.

However, when the long days of rebuilding finally passed there was no more need for Thorin's skills and he no longer knew what purpose Mahal had in mind. While the dwarf would always be welcome in the halls of his friends and allies, he was never one to live on the sufferance of others and he could not demand his kingdom back, not after all this time.

So Thorin found himself accompanying four young hobbits on their long journey home and on the way they came to Rivendell, where he encountered someone he had not hoped to see again. Bilbo Baggins was old and wrinkled now, white-haired and hunched, but the sparkle in his eyes was just the same. When the hobbit caught sight of Thorin, he staggered and would have fallen if the dwarf had not caught him by the arm, but the tears he cried were tears of joy.

“My dear friend. Frodo told me of your resurrection but I had not truly believed it until now. It is good to see you again.”

Bilbo embraced Thorin tightly and though the dwarf was not sure that he deserved forgiveness, to receive it eased a scar upon his heart.

So their reunion lasted long into the night while Bilbo told his friend of all the years he missed and Thorin regaled the hobbit with the journey of the ring. It was nearly dawn when they fell asleep, laying side by side, and when the dwarf woke it was to his nephews' delighted laughter.

“Uncle, you're finally here, and you brought our hobbit home.”

Tags: canon!au, fic, gen, gimli/legolas, lotr, mid-series, poignant, post-series, the hobbit, thorin
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