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Deity or Not, Please Wipe Your Feet on the Mat!

Chapter Text

It didn’t take long for Gandalf to find Thorin, who had disappeared as everyone was getting settled to sleep for the night. The dwarf was sitting out in Bilbo’s front yard, on the hobbit’s bench. He had just pulled out his pipe from inside his coat when Gandalf found him, and had joined him on the bench. Gandalf crossed his legs and pulled out his own pipe.

“Gandalf, you said you had found us a burglar,” he said quietly.

“Indeed I have, Master Oakenshield, and he is right inside,”

“So you say. But I have met this hobbit that you speak so highly of, and he most certainly is not what I would call ‘burglar material’,”

“Thorin I think you’ll find that he is every bit a burglar in the end, even if he doesn't know it yet,”

“Even so, he seems quite adamant about going absolutely nowhere.”

“Oh, the lad just needs a bit of… persuasion, is all, Thorin," Gandalf paused to create a few simple smoke rings. "Now, forgive me if you find this a bit invasive, but I’ve been hearing some rumors lately, about your company, and why specifically you chose these companions of yours,”

Thorin stopped what he had been doing right at the moment, which was re-lighting his pipe, and stared at the ground for a few tense moments. He finally lit the match in his hand, and brought it to his pipe allowing the tobacco to catch flame before shaking the match, effectively snuffing it out.

“Proceed,”

Gandalf nodded and sat back, stroking his beard as he chose his next words carefully.

“Some say that there are dwarves who have... gifts, of sorts,” he glanced over to Thorin, who nodded at him to carry on. “And that your nephew, Fili, in particular, has a way with words. Am I right in this inquiry?” he asked.

Again, Thorin said nothing for a few moments.

“Yes. Though ‘gift’ isn’t the word all of us would use for it,” he grumbled. “Just forget the hobbit, Gandalf. We can, and will, be able to continue on without him entirely. We leave at dawn,” Thorin stood up then, placing his pipe back in his coat and brushing away imaginary dirt at the bottom. With a terse nod to the wizard, Thorin silently reentered Bilbo’s home.

Gandalf finished his own smoke before following Thorin inside, where instead of following suit and finding a comfortable place to rest for the evening, he sought out the King’s eldest nephew.

He found Fili standing in the vast kitchen, right in the doorway to the pantry. He seemed to be mumbling to himself, but when Gandalf neared him he realized that the boy’s younger sibling was actually within the pantry, rifling through looking for their favorite treats from earlier.

“And what is it you two are up to at this hour, digging through our gracious host's pantry?” he asked in a booming voice. Both dwarves skyrocketed from their shock and began fumbling over themselves trying to come up with excuses and half-assed apologies.

Gandalf chuckled merrily and told them to calm down before turning to Kili.

“I would quite like it if I could speak to your brother alone, if that’s alright, Master Kili,”

Fili and Kili looked at each other before Fili nudged Kili a bit, “You heard him, brother. Get out of here for a bit,”

“Hey! Don’t you tell me what to do!” Kili snapped. “I was fancying a bit of a smoke anyway,” he sniffed, turning about face and walking away. Fili rolled his eyes and turned back to the wizard.

“What is it you want, Gandalf?”

-

True to Thorin’s word, everyone was up by daybreak and getting ready to set out on their travels. Bilbo, being as light a sleeper as he was, was woken up by their noise even though they did try to keep the noise level down.

He would have offered them at least a meager meal, but what small amount of food he did have left seemed to have disappeared, much to his chagrin.

It was as he stood a bit off to the side of his front door, showing them all the way out, when Fili stayed behind and made his move.

“Bilbo, a word, please,” he told him, arms behind his back innocently.

Bilbo looked up to him, his robe pulled tightly around him and his arms crossed.

“Hm? Oh, yes, of course, what d’you need, erm… Kili, was it?” They stepped closer to each other and considered each other for a moment. Fili took the time to quickly correct Bilbo’s mistake, but then he got straight to business.

”Mr.Baggins, I respect your decision not to join us. We all do, really. If you were to change your mind though, not to say that you will of course, but if you were, you would be most welcome among us,” he gave the hobbit a gentle smile before continuing, ”No harm done though. Running, jumping, climbing trees; that adrenaline rush you get when you find treasure, and when your quest has finally reached its end. All those discoveries to be had! Not everyone’s mug of ale, though, I understand that,”

Fili clapped Bilbo on the shoulder. “It was nice knowing you, Mister Baggins. Maybe one day our paths will cross once more?” he chuckled, then turned and followed the rest of his companions out the door.

-

“What was that all about then?” Kili asked his brother as his pony rode up next to his. Fili looked over at him and smirked.

“Nothing, really. Don’t worry about it,” he told him.

“No, tell me!” Kili snapped childishly, nudging Fili with his elbow.

“Never!” Fili laughed, swatting back at him. It was right when they began a petty slap fight with each other when they heard it.

“Wait! No, wait up! Wait for me! I’ve signed it, I’ve signed the contract, I’m coming with!”

They both looked behind them, and Kili gave his brother a pointed look.

"Oh, yeah, I see now," he rolled his eyes and dug his heels into the sides of his pony, making it ride up a bit further ahead.

Chapter Text

Night had fallen, and the company had all gathered around their campfire to eat their dinner. Earlier in the evening, Kili, Gloin, Dwalin and Nori had gone off in search of the night’s food. As grateful as he was for the meal, BIlbo couldn’t help but wonder how they had managed to find such a big beast to bring back with them.

For the past three days now, they had been travelling through the Lone Lands. The terrain in that area was a flat, desolate wasteland scattered with old ruins. The most Bilbo had seen wandering around was foxes and coneys. And yet, those four had returned with an incredibly large boar!

Bilbo decided that he was overthinking the situation, and instead turned his focus over to how damn good the seasonings were on the roast pig. He’d definitely have to thank Bombur later, and perhaps manage to get the recipe out of him as well.

“Mister Baggins, is everything alright?”

Bilbo looked to his right, where Ori was sat next to him. “Yes, certainly. Why?”

“Oh, well that’s good. Well I mean you look kind of like there is something wrong and I just wanted to make sure is all and -”

“Ok, Ori, I get it. Thank you for your concern, lad,”

Ori smiled and nodded, before going back to his food. A moment later Bilbo turned back to him.

“Well, actually, I do have a question for you,” he told him. “How is it they were able to find such a great beast for our meal? I studied maps, back at home, and I know this place well. Where we are now, it would have taken those four ages to get to an area where there a boars!”

Ori turned bright red and stuttered out his reply, “O-oh, well, they just must have been lucky tonight!” he squeaked.

“Indeed, they must have the luck of the gods on their side!” it was right then that the brothers Fili and Kili appeared, Fili on Bilbo’s left and Kili to Ori’s right.

“Funny you should say such things,” Kili started as he sat down, letting his brother finish.

“You’re closer to the truth than you’d ever realize,” Fili chuckled. Ori hit Kili in the arm.

“You two! I really don’t think this is something we should be telling him!” he whined, “If Thorin found out that Bilbo knew he’d have all of our hides!”

The brothers laughed heartedly. “Ah, no need to worry, Ori. We’re pretty sure he won’t do anything too rash, won’t he, Kili?” Fili looked to his brother with a smirk.

“Yeah, no doubt. He needs all the help he can get to reclaim his precious kingdom, there’s no way he’d send us away!”

Ori spluttered. “You two are ridiculous! Fine! Tell him, see if I care. Just don’t go dragging me into this if Thorin gets upset!” he stood and marched away, over to the opposite side of the fire.

Bilbo looked at the two remainders with confused suspicion. “... Tell me what?” he asked slowly.

Fili put his arm around Bilbo’s shoulder, and looked him in the eye with a serious expression. “What if we were to tell you… that all of us--”

“All thirteen of us dwarves--” Kili butted in.

“Were gods.”

None of the three said a word in the next few moments, and the only other noises was the crackling of the fire and the rest of the dwarves, enjoying each other’s company. Bilbo blinked twice at Fili before standing just as abruptly as Ori had, and brushing the dust off himself.

“Right. I should have known you two wouldn’t give me a serious answer; especially with that horrible joke of yours about the orcs that you told,” He turned and began to leave, when he heard Kili shouting past him.

“Oi, Bofur! Sing us one of your songs!”

Spurred on by the others who were all in high spirits, the dwarf could only oblige them. He stood and cleared his throat, before belting out a merry tune that Bilbo had not ever heard before now. Irritated as he was though, Bilbo couldn’t find it in him to do anything but dance along with everyone else.

In fact, he didn’t even want to dance along, at all. But that’s what he found himself doing, against his will! He wasn’t in control of his body anymore, and Bilbo found himself swaying and jumping along in moves he had never performed before, yet were displayed with perfection.

“What is going on!” he yelled, quite shocked. “Why can I not control my body, why am I dancing!”

All the dwarves laughed at him, and Bilbo looked around to see that even Thorin was smiling and doing his own little jig. Fili and Kili twirled up next to him, boisterously laughing along with everyone else.

“Told you!” Kili grinned.

“No, this makes absolute no sense whatsoever!” Bilbo snapped. Finally Bofur’s song ended, and everyone’s dancing slowly came to a stop. Both still grinning, Fili and Kili walked over to Bofur, and clapped a hand on each of his shoulders.

“This here is Apollo! The god of the arts, light, and music! Any time he sings a song, we all dance! Everyone dances and no one can do anything but!” Fili explained.

Bilbo gaped at them. “Nope. That is Bofur. You’re all delusional, all of you,” he turned and began to walk away, hoping to find a spot to gather his thoughts that wasn’t too far away from camp.

“I’m Skadi!” Kili suddenly piped up. Bilbo stopped and looked over his shoulder.

“What?”

Kili repeated himself. “You asked how it was we were so successful on our hunt, and I gave you your answer. I’m Skadi, god of the hunt!”

Bilbo scoffed, but turned back to face them all. “That doesn’t explain how you got a pig so far away from where they all inhabit!” he demanded.

“Oh, well, it was just our luck! Wasn’t it, Fortuna?” Kili looked over to Nori with a sly grin. Nori smirked and waved at the hobbit.

“Fortuna, god of good fortune,” he bowed slightly. Dwalin and Gloin stepped forward this time, and also bowed to Bilbo briefly.

“I am possessed by the spirit of Smertrius, god of war,” Dwalin said in his gravelly voice.

“And I, Alke, who has gifted upon my prowess and courage!” Gloin shouted, beating against his chest once.

Bilbo was flabbergasted. “You’re all insane. All of you!” he turned once more away from them, only to walk into Gandalf, who had appeared from nowhere. “Gandalf! There you are! Have you been listening to the things these dwarves are saying? Absolute rubbish!”

Gandalf chuckled. “Now, now, Bilbo. Don’t be so rude! Is this how Belladonna raised you? I, for one, am rather intrigued by all of this. Go on, master dwarves, if you will,”

Without hesitation, the other dwarves presented themselves to Bilbo and Gandalf, similar in the way that they had introduced themselves originally to their hobbit. While Dwalin was the god of war, his brother Balin was Metis, the god of counsel, advice and wisdom. Thorin insisted that this wasn’t the only reason he was close to Balin, and that he truly did value his friendship.

Dori was Aequitas, god of fairness, and Ori Lugus of creativity and learning. Bofur spoke for Bifur, who had Hephaestus, the crippled god of crafting. No one was surprised that Oin had the healing god Alaunus, and Bombur Abundantia, with abundance and prosperity.

Everyone looked to Thorin, who was glowering at them all off to the side of their little formed half-circle. He sneered at Bilbo. “A secret as sacred to us such as this will not flow freely from my lips,” he hissed, turning and walking away to where he had set up his bedroll.

The rest of the dwarves and Gandalf rolled their eyes, and the wizard stood behind Bilbo still, regarding the company silently. Right as everyone looked to each other and figured, ‘right, that’s it then I guess, let’s all go hit the hay,’ and began scattering, Bilbo spoke up.

“Wait a moment,” he announced, surprising even himself. He slowly pointed to Fili. “You didn’t tell us who you were,” everyone stopped and looked at the young dwarf. All those you still cared stopped and smirked at him, everyone else left to their beds.

“Oh, no one worth mentioning, really, don’t worry about it Bilbo,” Fili excused, going to leave again.

“No, I really am curious now. Tell me anyway?”

Fili turned to him and hesitated. Finally, he bowed deeply and said, “I am Bragi, god of poetry,”

Bilbo snorted. “Oh, well that seems a bit useless, doesn’t it--” Fili was taken aback for a moment, and started to argue, but Bilbo continued. “what can you even do with that?”

Annoyed, Fili answered him. “I can bend the will of most people with just the use of my words,” he said.

“Ah,” Bilbo nodded in consideration. “I supposed that’s--” it dawned on him then the reason why Fili was nervous about revealing his god to him. “You!” he spat, “you are the reason I am here, aren’t you! You with your stupid voice ability! You practically forced me to come against my will!” he continued to yell.

“No, Bilbo, please, it wasn’t like that it was just--”

“Don’t even speak to me, dwarf! I can not believe you would stoop so low as to do such a thing, even after I told you all no!” there was no stopping Bilbo as he disappeared to where his bedroll was, leaving Fili and Kili to put out the fire glumly.

--

In the morning, Bilbo’s head was filled to the brim with questions. As the company rode along on their ponies, Bilbo trotted up next to Balin.

“Balin, may I ask you something? … about the god business?” he asked.

“Go ahead, lad, what is it you want to know?” Balin nodded at him.

“Well, in the Shire, it is a bit well known that I study maps of all sorts. What most don’t know though is I also like to do research on the mythical gods, as well,” he paused for a moment to make sure Myrtle needn’t jump over any obstacles in the near future.

“You said you were Metis, yesterday. And Kili, Skadi. Those two, they’re… goddesses! You’re not going to suddenly all come out and tell me you and Kili have both been female this whole time, are you?”

Balin looked amused, but just smiled. “No, neither he nor I are women. For those of us who have the gifts of the gods such as ourselves, it is not uncommon for them to sometimes be goddesses. In fact, some even consider it a blessing to have the spirit of a god the opposite gender as yourself within you,” he explained.

Bilbo nodded, but was bewildered.