Feb 27 2016, 6:22am
I hope, anyway....
Fluff to cheer you up....
Oh, he was GLORIOUS. The cream-rose skin, the thick waterfall of sable hair that so many – so VERY many – simply wanted to push their faces in and SNIFF. Entire booklets had been carefully craft’d about the clear sea-fire eyes, his so-called rainbow eyes, those eyes you could fall into, eyes that could be velvet-dark or like blue as a dawn sky. Eyes full of intelligence and heart. And his powerful, graceful, movement, and skill with both blade and axe. The smile that was like stab to the heart, and you’d willingly make a fool of yourself just to see that smile again. The voice that BURNED your skin, that made you think of dark amber honey and glowing coals and smoked your very soul.
Thorin Oakenshield knew all these things about himself. Not that Thorin would have called HIMSELF glorious. Most beings don’t pay much attention to things they inherently are, and Thorin had had an awful lot on his mind, most of his life. So much so, that his current domicile aboard the Partei-Barge was probably the first “time out” he had ever had. In spite of the frequent explosions, damage protests from riverside communities, and irritated Tolkien canonistas, Thorin found himself, for the most part, enjoying his SABBATICAL. The Mountain King had never heard that word before, but the Fang-gir-iells had explained the concept to him. Thorin was LONG overdue for a SABBATICAL, simply because he was GLORIOUS for all the afore-mentioned reasons.
It wasn’t a VACATION (a concept that Thorin also appreciated and was unknown in dwarf culture) as Thorin also, by default, was the King of their little floating community (as well as forever King Under the Mountain) and was still WORKING, in a sense. The Fang-gir-iells promised that when the Mountain King was weary of his “sabbatical” they would take him on a PROPER vacation. Some place nice, they said. Sort of like Erebor with mountains and snow, but there were “hot tubs” that would relax him, make his hair all nice and fluffy, and people brought you steaming mugs piled high with cream to keep the chill off. The Durins could slide down the mountain on these waxed boards. Lots of humans liked doing it. It was FUN, the Partei-girls said.
The Durins lifted their eyebrows at this, and opinioned that having to hike all the way back up a mountain to get to these “hot tubs” didn’t sound like fun to them, it sounded like same old, same old. No, no, said the ladies. There are these little, little stools – you know like the stools on ropes the miners use? Only much nicer and strung along the mountain sides, and you sit and they take you back up the mountain so you can slide down again on the boards.
And, and, the Partei-girls said glassily, the tubs are so warm you don’t need to wear – much, anyway. Thorin said it sounded as though Minty would enjoy it, as long as there was a mug big enough for her drink-with-cream. Oh, there is, there is, hurriedly assured the ladies, who promptly headed to On-Crow shopping to find a special thermal bucket for Minty.
The Durin followers aboard the Partei-Barge weren’t concerned about a hot tub for the pony. With the amount of wealth on the barge, the Fang-gir-iells could BUY a ski lodge if they had to. One of them had already Googled up the names of some carpenters to build a ramp for the pony. Heated, of course.
And if they were very, very careful, they could make sure the ski lodge was in horse country. Plenty of entertainment for Thorin’s pet. And while Minty was making some new friends and playing in the snow, the ladies would introduce the concept of the sauna to the Durins.
So Thorin, in spite of his concern over the newly-missing dowdy Fang-gir-iell, was feeling relatively content, now that the pounding of the headache from the Partei-Girl’s energy drink had subsided. Thorin attributed his recovery to his Hobbit finally pulling Sting out and threatening the Partei-Girls after they arrived at Thorin’s cabin door with something they were holding in blanket-wrapped hands. They said it was an “herbal tonic”. Bilbo had demanded why a healing tonic was shooting sparks and smoking purple.
Bilbo had defended Thorin long enough for Fili and Kili to arrive and gently persuade the Partei-girls that, perhaps, Bilbo needed to spend some quality time with his royal friend and that they should very carefully put the tonic down on the deck. This proved to be an excellent idea as the tonic began to bubble alarmingly, and the few spilled drops ate holes through the boards. Some of the Fang-gir-iells were muttering about an “Alien Predator”. Fili used an axe to push the tonic overboard before it could do any more damage, but the head of the axe was ruined.
Thorin was carefully using a small leather bladder to mist water over the potted “orchid” presented to him by the Elven King at the barbecue. His #Majesty had carefully positioned the plant by an open window, and was humming to the plant. Bilbo watched and didn’t say a word about the Mountain King’s new hobby.
Normally, of course, the plant was likely to have wound up in Minty’s stall as a sort of after-dinner mint. Bilbo had thankfully been caught by Thorin before he hit the floor – as Bilbo had fainted at seeing Thranduil’s gift, that first time, when the little plant winked and smiled at him. Bilbo had to later admit, the plant WAS cute. The Hobbit of course had heard of Ents from his books, but he had never given thought to what a BABY Ent might look like. Thorin had named the little plant Sinî. Sinî smiled adorably at Bilbo and reached tiny
arms branches up in bliss at the shower.
Bilbo and Thorin watched as Sinî shook off water drops and began to slowly rock in the pot to the motion of the barge. The Mountain King carefully took a length of heavy pink silk and draped it around the small seedling. The little eyes of the plant sleepily closed. “How do you KNOW the Ent is a female? There are sad songs about the Ents, searching for their lost wives…” asked Bilbo, watching the drowsy face of the plant.
Thorin smiled the kind of gentle “honey, please,” smile that was the center of a hundred memes. “Well, my dear Hobbit, the first reason would be is that it’s unlikely a MALE (for the most part, *cough*) would want to put their ‘wee hands in my hair, the way this one did, the first night I was holding the pot. THAT seemed to make her so happy, all these tiny, tiny golden stars appeared and floated around the cabin.
“Of course, I see quite a lot of stars these days thanks to the Partei-girls”, Thorin grinned as Bilbo stiffened and turned red, fearful of what was going to come next, “Thanks to, as you well know, the ladies’ endless experimenting with healthful fruit recipes.” Bilbo sagged in relief as the flush left his face.
“The second reason,” the Mountain King’s luscious dark brown sugar voice rumbled, “Is that I KNOW those that are MINE, like my own heartbeat.” Thorin wrapped the pink silk a bit more snugly around Sinî’s roots. A few pinpoint golden sparkles drifted lazily to the ceiling.
Bilbo diplomatically didn’t point out that the Mountain King hadn’t bothered to KNOW him very well, for a good long while. That KNOWING alone had taken a rather unpleasant, life-threatening experience, before Thorin saw Bilbo as something besides a stone lodged in his furry boot.
Never mind that feeling warm and fuzzy and accepted and like a
man dwarf badass hobbit is all well and good, until you look around and realize you are hundreds of feet in the air on a bare rock tower, that it’s a rather chilly morning, and you desperately need a restroom BEFORE the terrifying climb down. It had taken Bilbo a good long while to stop shaking, although he had to admit he warmed up pretty fast at the end of it. Mainly because Thorin and then Fili and Kili had all piled around him, when they saw him trembling at the end of the long climb off the carrock. Bilbo had drawn the line when Bombur approached though.
(And neither dwarf nor hobbit as yet had picked up the very real oddities about their missing Fang-gir-iell, although Thorin said her new boots were on the way and the Fang-gir-iells were fussing over materials for the new gloves to cover the unfortunate man-hands. Minty, though, absolutely KNEW the lanky Fang-gir-iell’s secret. And Minty missed the lively encounters she had had with her stall cleaner).
Bilbo cleared his throat as Thorin shook out his plant-misting bladder. He nervously twisted his hands together. “Uh, Thorin. Um. Er, I need to speak to you about something…”
Thorin turned to look at his Hobbit. The breeze blew through the cabin porthole and swirled through the dwarf king’s espresso mane, gently resting s few perfect curls against the skin at his neck. The soft light caressed the flushed creamy skin and lit the azure blue eyes like sunlit waves. Sinî’s tiny snores hung in the air. He waited patiently. Thorin figured it was too early for the Partei-girls to have set anything on fire, and besides they like to sleep late, so he didn’t have to start glaring. Yet.
Bilbo took a deep breath. “Uh, this is about loyalty and honor and like that. And, and, FRIENDSHIP, you know, those magical bonds…” Then again, the King of Erebor wasn’t exactly celebrated for his PATIENCE. Dwarves aren’t a race known for mucking about, either. Thorin’s heavy dark brows began to draw together.
“Er, the Fang-gir-iells.” Bilbo shuffled his feet. “They asked me to speak to you. They thought, you know, maybe you wouldn’t get so
mad upset. If I EXPLAINED.”
Thorin folded his arms across his chest and was now in full glare mode. The Fang-gir-iells would have been in ecstasy, had they been present. Thorin waited.
“Look, he DID come to the Barbecue…”
“Bilbo,” Thorn said gently, although the glare was still present. “You’re not about to tell me again that hur, hur, Thranduil isn’t such a bad sort and we should have coffee and share hair care tips?”
Bilbo took a DEEP breath. “Well, Thranduil’s NOT such a bad sort. And he does have nice hair, it’s kind of like soft winter wheat or the creamy sands along the seashore or maybe, you know, the finest snow when the sun sparks through the clouds…” Thorin’s glare flared up a few notches. “Look, he DID help in the battle and he DID come to the barbecue and he DID give you Sinî and one-of-the-Fang-gir-iells-has-got-it-bad-for-him-so-can-he-come-for-dinner-or-can-we-go-to-Mirkwood-or-can-she-see-him-and-like-that.” This last came out in a rush.
To Bilbo’s surprise, instead of the expected explosion and broken furniture, Thorin simply seemed utterly baffled. The glare faded into a look of complete bewilderment.
Being a dwarf meant you were well-grounded in your heavy iron boots. There’s a REASON dwarves don’t trust elves. Being around elves meant the world doesn’t make sense. How could it, with these beings who pick at any food put in front of them and that sing-song language of theirs, and yet, had (Thorin grudgingly admitted) those fighting skills? The Fang-gir-iells had told him of another strange country where everyone was like that, too, called “France”, but Thorin didn’t really believe them. He thought the ladies had had too many fruit drinks, even when they called him magnifique roi lion de sable.
Besides, the royal princes were on the barge. The ridiculously appealing golden and dark princes. Thorin felt himself turn pale. “Is she ill? Bespelled?”
Bilbo, feeling less nervous now that the worst was behind him (high above, the all-seeing gods laying around on their soft fluffy cloud furniture laughed themselves sick over THAT idea – oh, Bilbo, they thought, you are SO innocent), firmly shook his head.
“She’s just, just – well, she thinks the Forest King is BEAUTIFUL. Er.”
Thorin tossed his head, trying to clear the confusion. The shimmering waves of darkling silk hair coiled becomingly around his strong noble features, like an ebony sky streaked with falling stars. He hadn’t been so dazed since downing the contents of Galadriel’s flask.
“Then what’s she doing on the Partei-Barge? I mean, there are all those berry pickers that hang around Smirkwood, I mean Mirkwood. Thranduil told me that they’ve built luxury treehouses complete with hammocks and outfitted with these metal and glass tubes they use to watch the stars and for elf-spotting. It’s become something of a game. Thranduil told me when he’s feeling the tiniest bit low, he puts on his most form-fitting robe and takes a walk, making sure the berry-pickers can get a glimpse.”
“But he said he doesn’t dare put his hand up to push his hair back, or make any sudden gestures, because the shrieks are so loud that wildlife is driven off for miles around.”
I wonder if there’s a Khuzdul phrase that speaks to pots calling the kettles black, Bilbo thought grimly. “Are you saying you’re going to exile her? You can’t. Because all the Fang-gir-iells and Partei-girls are FRIENDS. They’re female (well, mostly, probably). THEY TRAVEL IN PACKS. You know, like they all do On-Crow shopping together and cook together and *SQUEE* together. You know how bad everyone felt when some of the Company was left at Laketown.
“Thorin, I know you can’t understand. But know this, if nothing else. IT’S A FEMALE THING. A force majeure. And it has to be handled with the care a dwarf would craft the finest piece of jewelry with.”
The jaw-droppingly handsome Mountain King stared at the Hobbit, reeling at the Sindarin that flowed so easily from the lips of his Hobbit. But Thorin was not called the Darer, the Brave without reason. Even when confronted with something well beyond the ability of even Durin’s Heir to understand. Besides, this WAS Middle Earth. He had a small baby Ent in a pot that smiled and danced. He couldn’t braid his hair without having to step over any number of prostrate bodies afterwards. His pony seemed far too intelligent for a horse, never mind those talking birds. Sanity these days was so far around the bend it was coming back from the other direction.
And Bilbo had summed up the situation with one of the most terrifying phrases known to man. And to dwarves as well. All races, pretty much. “A FEMALE THING.” Faced with a “FEMALE THING”, even for the #Majestic High King of the Dwarves, it would be best to deal with the situation as expeditiously as possible. Like Thorin and his nephews looking very carefully solemn, and a tad regretful, when Dis and Galadriel had sailed away together. Later they had tossed back half a barrel of Shadow and Flame cocktails and cheered when Kili blew up the rest with some flash flame. Because once you dealt with the FEMALE THING you could rest easy, and go back to your peaceful life. You didn’t need to understand it. You just needed to FIX it.
Thorin’s mind raced over the possibilities. Bilbo stared up at his #Majestic friend anxiously. Thorin noticed the angst of the Hobbit and put his hand on Bilbo’s shoulder. “Bilbo, this, this, is BAD”, Thorin began softly. “Very bad”.
Bilbo’s brow furrowed. “What, are you telling me you are so GREEDY you can’t spare one or two Fang-gir-iells who has gotten tired of competing with a PONY? Granted, Minty has those completely lovely eyes that look like dark maple syrup and all that hair – I know dwarves are into that kind of thing – and how smart she is…but by the Valar, with all the bathrooms on this barge, I still have to keep using yours or Fili’s or Kili’s! When the ladies aren’t messing with their hair and jewelry, they are mixing up fruit drinks!”
Thorin waved a strong hand #Majestically, cutting through the hobbit’s tirade. “Hush, you’ll wake Sinî. And we can build more bathrooms. With marble and a coffeepot and whatever you like. But you must know, at the Barbecue it seems that a human maiden caught the eye of that arrogant prancing...” Bilbo looked hard at Thorin. “I mean our royal guest,” Thorin amended. “He was asking after some human girl, if we knew her, or where she was from. Things like that.”
“Oh, that’s all,” sighed Bilbo in relief.
Thorin raised a quizzical eyebrow at the Hobbit. “Bilbo, did you not see the condition of the second ballroom in Erebor? That wasn’t dragon damage, you know. That was the end result of a fight between FEMALES. I just wish we had had more of them for the Battle of the Five Armies…”
Bilbo shook his head. “Different circumstances, different strategy. If Thranduil was asking after this woman, then he doesn’t KNOW her. Which means there’s time for this Fang-gir-iell to, to, well, give her best try at things. I mean, Thranduil’s USED TO adulation, so it’s not like there’s any chance of her being humiliated, or anything.”
Bilbo looked up at Thorin, too innocently. “So, can I tell the ladies, that not only are you not angry, but you’ll even try to make sure this Fang-gir-iell is able to be in the presence of the Elven King? Like maybe serve drinks, or something, if there’s an opportunity? Provide a gift card to On Crow shopping? You know, it’s only going to make the rest of them more crazy for you than ever…being so NOBLE to a FRIEND of theirs…”
Thorin glared at the Hobbit, but the corner of his mouth was twitching. “As long as it’s this ONE time. And one time only. We’ve already got a missing lady, and Minty needs her stall-cleaner. This isn’t the kind of NOBILITY dwarves are known for. And I while I never sought songs and grand titles, I will not shame my ancestors by being nam’d Thorin the Wimp. What’s mine is mine and all that. Agreed, Master Baggins?
Bilbo grinned at his friend impudently and went off to VERY carefully construct an explanation for the magnanimity of the Mountain King. Even if it was a lie. Because, even the bachelor Bilbo knew better than to relay the information that Thorin wasn’t the TEENIEST bit put out at not being someone’s utter favorite. It was a FEMALE THING.
In his cabin, Thorin rubbed his forehead distractedly. The truth was, unusually, Thorin was too stunned to be angry. At least for now. Perhaps it was time to have brunch with the Partei-Girls. Their fruit drinks were so refreshing, and made the world seem so much more clear.
It might be a tribute to the great strength of the dwarves, that their Mountain King had so magnificently risen to the occasion, but while Thorin was not vain, this whole experience had left him dazed. It was all so ODD, he couldn’t begin to fathom how he would explain a Fang-gir-iell who, in fact, had a “THING” for Thranduil to his nephews, and not for any of them. It was unheard of. Even ELVES smiled at the Durins and Mahal knew about all that dwarf-elf Fan Fiction.
Perhaps Lindir could shed some light on this ANOMALY. Thorin rubbed his forehead again. Normally, of course, even the most average dwarf would simply dispatch any undesirable competition (this tradition was what had resulted in the destruction of the second ballroom at Erebor), but at the moment, this all just felt…strange.
And then Thorin felt the tiniest tug on his hair.
Sinî had reached out and twined a tender green tendril into one of Thorin’s curls. Her adorable eyes blinked at him and she smiled. And all around Thorin were tiny floating golden stars.
(Oh, my, Thranduil DOES have his own magic, doesn't he? )
(This post was edited by Avandel on Feb 27 2016, 6:26am)