There was a whispered legend among the darves of Ered Luin and New Belegost. The legend would carry to the East, as Durin's folk took back Erebor. It would spread to the towns of men, the hidden glaves of the elves, and even found its way to the smials of hobbits.
And legend was thus: to never, under any circumstances, ever leave your child leave your child alone with Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror, once exiled and now proud and prosperous King of Erebor.
It was not because he was cruel, unkind, or bad with children.
It was actually quite the opposite.
Any child left in the company of Thorin Oakenshield longer than a half hour would become unofficially adopted by him (usually it took less time, but this was Accepted as an Average Length of Time in these situations). The child in question would become quite attached (and vice versa) and declare their loyalty to him above all else – even, at times, over the wishes of their more immediate relations.
And it was his closest family, close friends, and tentative allies, who had to learn this the hard way.
The Nine Children Appropriated By Thorin Oakenshield (And The One That He Didn’t Want For Himself)
It was an ancient tradition for Dwarrow nobility that the husband not be in the room while the bearer had their child. Rather, a member from either side of the family would remain in the birthing room with the bearing dwarf as the child was to be born. It harked back to darker times in history when noble fathers, out of greed, would cause harm to their first child if it were female, out of anger for not receiving a male heir. Times have obviously changed, and no dwarf now would ever allow such a thing to happen now , but the tradition would hold. And although the dwarrow no longer lived in Erebor, and certain traditions were forgotten or changed, this was one that did not. Therefore, when it came time for Dis and Vili to expect their firstborn (and this was quite the stir – for this would be the first child born by their people in Ered Luin, any child was a gift, and this one in particular would be the next heir after Thorin) the tradition had to be upheld. Vili’s sister was chosen to stand in for himself, for she was a good friend to Dis (being the one who introduced them), and also happened to be Gloin’s betrothed. It was an obvious and sensible choice. Unfortunately, Dis only had Thorin to stand for her.
When it came to battles, hunting, sparring, or smithing, Thorin was the perfect choice, and Dis was proud to call him brother. But he’d always been squeamish over family matters – he once fainted when he accidentally saw her bedsheets after her first bleed when she was a dwarfling. And even if their mother had ever pricked herself when knitting by accident, he had always worked himself into a worried frenzy. With Balin, her no-good cousin out of town for work, she’d tried to ask (then beg, then threaten, then bribe) Dwalin, but he’d refused because he wouldn’t deprive Thorin from the birth of his first nephew and heir. And because he got a vindictive pleasure out of watching Thorin panic. Usually Dis did too, but she didn’t want to focus on that when she gave birth.
It turned out to actually be a boon for her. Her dearest friend could be trusted to fetch water and reassure her that everything would be just fine, and they could laugh together as her brother made nervous laps around the room as her healer, and her assistant Oin, barked at him to settle down. It actually managed to be distracting enough for her to bear the relatively short labor and deliver her baby.
Thorin was not having nearly as good of a time as the two females. He knew that the tradition required his presence, but (contrary to what Dis always claimed) he wasn’t an idiot. Thorin knew he wasn’t rational around his sister, or any member of his family, if they were in pain. And childbirth caused so much pain. Logically, he was perfectly aware that it was a necessary facet of life, and that this was an important moment on so many accounts (a child was born, this was his nephew his heir) but a part of him illogically resented this unknown child for causing his sister pain. Children were a rarity among dwarves, and Thorin had never been in the presence of one for a great amount of time. If he were to speak honestly, he wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic about the chaos that went into expecting a baby. It seemed entirely over-the-top. While Dis went through the motions of her pregnancy, he forced himself to listen and speculate about gender, and did his best to feign excitement for the baby. But she knew it was incense, and they were trying not to resent each other too much for it – it was the way she was and the way he was.
Though he was aware that the fretting seemed to distract his sister, so he deliberately played it up during her labor, actually succeeding in making her laugh at times. Soon enough, the sound of a child’s wailing filled the room, and the healer declared that Dis had given birth to a boy. His pacing had put him near Oin, who’d been apprenticing under the healer who was acting as midwife that day (it was rare for the healers to do so, so she was the only one who could in their settlement). Oin had cut the babe from Dis, and made quick work of cleaning him up. Thorin hadn’t been prepared for his distant cousin to abruptly push the child into him – arms coming up to hold him out of reflex alone.
Thorin reluctantly allowed his gaze to shift down, and he later reflected that that was the moment he felt the world shift on its axis. It was true, he hadn’t exactly been excited about the birth – had never been overly fond of babies in general, but suddenly none of that mattered.
This child was perfect .
Nima, the healer, asked Dis for a name while Oin took care of the afterbirth. Having prepared one name for a boy and one for a girl (though it would’ve been very rare for her to have a girl) Dis was prepared to declare a name.
“His name is Fili.”
“ Fili .” Thorin whispered under his breath. It suited the tiny one. Carefully, he balanced Fili in his right arm, while he turned his left hand to better cradle his nephew’s head. He ignored the commotion from the healers, and even his sister. The exiled king allowed his feet to guide him a ways away from the commotion, so he could have a private moment with his nephew. Fili himself wasn’t awake – he had cried for a few minutes, as was expected, and then tired himself out and fell fast asleep. Thorin did not want the inconsiderate noises of the rest of the dwarves to wake his treasured nephew.
“You are very important.” He said to the babe. Fili’s face twitched in sleep, not at all aware of what he was saying. Undeterred, Thorin continued to speak to him. “One day, you will be a King. My heir. And I will always take care of you.”
Dis snorted, asking in a sarcastic tone, “Can the mother of your heir hold her child?” In preparation, she raised her arms to take her son.
Not looking up, Thorin frowned at the request. He’d just been handed the child but a moment ago. It was hardly fair.
“In a minute.” He answered, not paying any attention to the shocked looks on their faces.
Honestly. What did they expect – this was the day of his nephew’s birth! He needed a few minutes to bond with the lad.
It would be that day that marked Thorin’s untrustworthiness with children, but unfortunately for Dis, she didn’t see it before it was too late.
When the time came for the birth of Dis’ second child, she had outright refused to name Thorin as her relative of choice in the birthing room.
“ You held onto Fili for hours .” She’d snapped, as if it were a crime to be a loving uncle. “You only let him go so he could feed, and then took him right back.”
It was as if she didn’t want him to love his nephew. Dis had been so irritated with his forced interest before the birth, and now opted for throwing him out of their home at times so she could have Fili to herself. There was just no pleasing some people.
Instead, Balin, staying with the again until he had to leave for work, had opted to stay with her for the second birth. While the dwarrow were just as excited for this birth, it held a bittersweet tone to it – Vili had died several months ago, and would thus not be there to hold his second child.
This time, Thorin would remain in the room outside the birthplace, though the benefit to this was that he was the one that got to look after Fili. As Dis made her way to the birthing chambers, she had sighed, placed him into Thorin’s arms, and told him to behave.
“I’ll be good Mama.” Fili told her solemnly, looking up at her. Dis sighed.
“Darling, I was talking to your Uncle.”
Thorin scoffed. “Shouldn’t you be inside already?”
She jabbed him for that comment, kissed Fili’s forehead, and went in.
To keep them both busy, Thorin told Fili stories of cherished memories with his own siblings, along with Very Important Advice on how to be a good Big Brother. Because Fili was absolutely perfect, he listened to every word and a part of Thorin relished in the attention. Secretly, he was fine with not being in the chamber with Dis. It left him more time with Fili; and he knew he would get the chance to bond with the new child soon enough. Dis would be plenty tired after the delivery, so he would get to take care of the new child then.
It felt very quick, but soon enough Nima was poking her head out to cheerfully state that Dis, and her second son Kili , were hale and healthy. Excitedly, Fili scrambled off of Thorin’s lap and dashed into the room. Thorin smiled after him fondly, and followed at a rushed, yet slightly sedated pace.
His sister looked tired, but smiled at Fili as he stopped at her side to look down at the bundle in her arms. Gently, Dis passed the baby to him to hold. Thorin and Dis had prepared Fili for holding his little brother or sister when the time came, and Thorin was proud to see his nephew take Kili with only a little hesitancy. He would be a wonderful Prince as he got older. Fili looked up, triumphantly, and took a few cautious steps to Thorin, and passed the baby to him.
“This is Kili.” Fili introduced, “And Kili, this is Uncle Thorin.”
Dis groaned loudly, complaining about traitors conspiring against her while Thorin thanked Fili and happily took the bundle. “Hello young one.” He greeted softly. Unlike his older brother, Kili opened his eyes to regard him. They made eye contact as Thorin considered him. He focused on memorizing the details of his second nephew’s face, walking away from his sister and first sister-son to have a few moments with his second sister-son.
“I see you are quick to react.” He mused, “This will be good. You will be important as well, for your brother is going to rely on you as you get older. He will protect you, that’s what an elder brother does. But I am going to need your help to look after him as well.” Kili blinked, and went back to sleep. Thorin considered it a good talk.
He ignored his overdramatic sister as she complained about losing yet another child to her ‘ ridiculous brother .’
This was his second nephew! She was the one being ridiculous.
Thorin had a difficult time sending Fili and Kili off to daily lessons. It was a tough ale to swallow – lessons were only the first step. It felt as if they were only babes yesterday, but now they were learning the basics of swordsmanship, penmenship, and would soon be apprenticing, courting, and doing adult things and Thorin was not ready for that.
Dis told him he was acting childish, but she was clearly the childish one.
However, the good part of these days were that after their lessons, Fili and Kili would rush straight to his own office – where he handled State affairs for the former dwarves of Erebor in their settlement – and they would have a light meal and share their day with him.
Today, they arrived promptly in the afternoon, but this time had another dwarfling trailing behind them. He has a mop of red hair, and seemed to be even younger than Kili. Thorin had never felt fatherly towards any child other than his nephews, but this small one pulled at his protective instincts.
The unnamed dwarfling hid behind Fili, who frowned and tried to side-step away with no luck. “Uncle, this is Ori.” He said.
“His brother Dori makes the best cookies!” Kili added.
Thorin knew Dori – every dwarf knew the most attractive, and strongest, dwarf of Ered Luin. He had his mothers’ looks – she had been so beautiful, even after falling fatally ill a few short years ago. He let himself look at Ori carefully, and he saw remnants of her looks on him. He’d be a true Ri in no time. For now, he was a shy little child who was still attempting to turn invisible behind his first child.
Undeterred, he knelt down in front of Fili, not trying to look around him. He gently placed an arm on Fili’s shoulder to get him to stop moving, so Ori would stay still.
“Hello.” He said, pretending to look at Fili. The blond smiled back at him, catching on to Thorin’s goal.
“It is nice to meet you Ori,” Thorin continued, as if the redhead were looking at him and not the floor. “Are you very hungry?”
“Yes-“ Kili started to say, only for Fili to hush him.
Thorin only had to wait a few moments for Ori to whisper, “Yes.”
“Then it is a good thing I have all these biscuits – I was worried that I would have to eat them all.” Thorin solemnly told him.
(In truth, they were Dwalin’s, but Ori was much cuter so it was fine.)
(And because Dwalin would be so angry, and Thorin lived for those moments.)
(And it was worth seeing Ori come out from behind Fili, look up at him with the biggest eyes he’d ever seen on a dwarfling – which didn’t seem possible considering he knew Kili, and yet it was – and say, “I like biscuits. And chips.”)
(This child was more precious than gems .)
Fili and Kili, in between bites, told him about the things they learned. Ori was content to let them speak, and he politely munched on whatever food Thorin offered him. He decided that he liked this boy as their friend.
“Ori, what do you like to do?” Thorin asked, when the two had finally taken a breath, and decided to focus their attention on eating. While Ori had relaxed enough to no longer try and hide, he was still startled at being directly addressed.
“He writes.” Fili offered, because he didn’t seem to be quick to talk.
“He writes really well !” Kili stressed, ignoring Fili’s glare at modifying his words, “Balin moved him to my lessons but he’s gonna start working with Fili tomorrow and he’ll probably be better than him.”
In response, Fili pushed him and the two broke into a miniature fight.
At the praise, Ori had gone red. Thorin sighed at their fighting, and glanced at his desk, suddenly thinking of an idea.
“Ori, I would like to show you something.”
Interested, the young dwarf followed the exiled king to behind his desk. He watched Thorin shift through a drawer, in pursuit of something. After a few moments, he let out an, “Aha!” and pulled out the most beautiful book Ori had ever seen.
Thorin gestured for Ori to sit in the desk chair, and then helped him into it (it was higher than he could reach and it was so adorable Thorin was keeping this child forever ) so he could see the item properly.
“This is a journal.” Thorin explained, “It was given to me months ago, but I have had no need for it. It has been gathering dust. Don’t you think it is too nice to be gathering dust?”
Ori nodded, his eyes regarding the journal with reverence. Thorin chuckled.
“I would be honored if you could take this off my hands. You could practice writing and illustrating with it.” He set one of his quills and a small bottle of ink on top of it, sliding it to the shocked child. Ori held these items as if it were Mithril. He looked up at Thorin, eyes filled with awe.
“I swear I’ll do my best, and take care of it.” He vowed, and Thorin gave him a solemn nod of thanks.
A few hours later, Dori arrived to the office to fetch Ori (who had been expected home hours ago ) to a most unusual sight. It was to seeing the young princes Fili and Kili practicing their studies calm as you please on the floor (if only they could be so sedate in his own shop), and his little Ori sitting in the lap of Thorin Oakenshield himself, drawing in a journal while the would-be King watched on with rapt interest.
Well , he thought, eyes warming as he placed a hand over his heart , that was simply adorable .
And when Dis had paled when he mentioned this to her, he had laughed her off when she had tried to warn him about her brother being a child appropriator.
But she would get the last laugh (and give him thousands of “I told you so’s”) in the end when he watched his not-so-little-anymore Ori sign onto the quest to reclaim the mountain years later right alongside Fili and Kili, and outright glared at the child-stealer as he embraced Ori and declared how proud he was of his third-child.
If you were to ask Thorin what his weakness was, he would probably glare at you for hours for attempting to undermine him. Yet if the same question were posed to Dis or Dwalin, the answer would unflinchingly be, “crying children.”
And they were right.
So it was fortunate for him that dwarf children were slow to tears, else the fallen king of Erebor would be useless. ("That is," Dis would say, “ more useless then usual ”)
Thorin was blessed to have three children that were so sturdy ( Not your children , Dori and Dis would say, well beyond exasperated by now) and was hardly ever faced with his weakness.
Until this day.
His duties normally kept him out of Dwalin’s training grounds unless it was time for himself to
kick his cousin's arse train. But Fili was learning how to hold a real sword for the first time today, as opposed to the training sticks he had been practicing on with his brother and little Ori, and what kind of heartless cretin misses out on this important milestone?
And Dis was wrong in saying he was a softie. She was a softie.
While he already knew Fili would do wonderfully (because Fili did everything wonderfully) he was proud to watch his oldest hold his own with Dwalin. Granted, Dwalin was obviously holding back because he was a child but this was still important.
Momentarily, Thorin was distracted by noise from the entrance of the arena. He stood to investigate on behalf of Dwalin, because he was doing something more important than a mere perimeter check to ensure their safety.
As he drew near, Thorin heard shouting, and as he came into view he recognized his cousin Gloin. He was currently glaring, and sternly disciplining what looked like a younger miniature version of himself. That would be his little Gimli then. The likeness was incredible.
Gimli was holding what looked to be an axe as big as he was, and trying to convince his father that he was plenty big enough to practice with it, while Gloin would have none of it. And, to Thorin’s horror, tears of frustration were welling in Gimli’s eyes and this was not okay.
“Gloin,” Thorin spoke up, causing the two to pause in the argument.
Hastily, Gloin gave a slight bow which he waved off.
“I have noticed your son seems to want to fight.” At being indirectly addressed, Gimli’s eyes widened.
Thorin continued, “I could offer my assistance to help, if you are otherwise engaged. Though,” he gave the axe an appreciative glance; Thror’s memory of Groin’s metalwork hadn’t been exaggeration, “I don’t think I would be ready to start with real weapons so quickly.”
“We can use fake ones,” Gimli offered quickly, as if it were perfectly sensible. Gloin huffed – it was probably the argument he’d been making.
“You want to teach him, he’s yours.” The father declared, taking the offered axe before leaving the area. “Have him back by dinner!”
Thorin barely heard that as he gave Gimli a grin, that he returned eagerly.
His then? Well. Four children was quite the boast.
Poor Gloin learned after the fact to never be mince words so casually with his cousin ever again.
5, 6, 7. Sigrid, Bain, and Tilda
The less that can be said after the dwarves had temporarily stayed in Bard’s home while in Laketown, the better. There was a reason that Bilbo handled affairs in Dale, lest they want a repeat of Bard and Thorin dueling after the newly crowned King had mentioned, off-hand how proud he was of his three youngest children.
Bard hadn't been happy about that.
But being invited to commiserating tea parties with Dis, Dori, and Gloin was quite pleasant, at least.
Peace after the Battle of the Five Armies between the elves and dwarves was tentative at best, and bloody awkward at worst. It was most apparent now, when the members of Thorin Oakenshield’s army are currently staying in Mirkwood, as invited guests this time. The pretense had been working through agreements in trade, the reality was to prove to the general public that there could be a decent relationship with their people.
It’s a failing venture on both sides.
As Thranduil’s son, Legolas had been tasked with seeing that the dwarves would be comfortable during their stay. It’s quite honestly the hardest job he ever had - and his hobbies include hunting spiders in the Mirkwood. The members of the company recognize him, and recall his cruel disdain – particularly the red-head one (Gloin, he learns) who seems to despise him for the things he said about his wife and son. (Which, in hindsight, Legolas really cannot fault him for that because it had been immature of him.)
The dwarven members of the company don’t exactly speak to him. Whenever they do, their requests are usually for nonsensical, rather passive-aggressive things like wine from barrels or how, if you please,do you tell your lads from your lasses?
The hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, is the only one who will tell them to hold their tongues if he is around, and Legolas learns to only go near if the Halfling is there. Though a few aren’t too bad when he happens to be with them one-on-one. One day, he manages to catch the dwarf with a star on his head, and fights down the urge to flee (because he’s the worst at making the wine-jokes and always makes rude insinuations as to what gender he is) and says that he likes his hair. It seems to lessen the cruelty behind his jokes, but only when he’s on his own. The group mentality still isn’t pleasant.
Legolas also makes sure to apologize to Gloin, who stiffly nods and half-hardheartedly accepts. Legolas imagines it’s because he waited too long for it to be proper, but to his defense he couldn’t have exactly given it sooner!
And there is the dwarf Tauriel is so besotted with – he is the worst of the bunch. Legolas can’t practice his archery anymore without their presence, and the dwarf always manages to one-up whatever tricks he practices, and does it with a smirk in his direction.
He stops going to practice archery.
Despite the tension, he tries to do his duty, and he wants there to be good relations on both sides. But he needs his father’s help for that.
Legolas maintains that an apology would not be remiss on his father’s behalf. He remembers how King Thorin had issued a very formal and very public apology to the men and dwarves after his behavior with the Arkenstone and withholding treasure that should have been theirs. While it may have been a blow to his pride, it certainly set the stage for improving relations. It wasn’t as if any side was blameless, and they in turn should apologize for imprisoning them all in Mirkwood.
But his father hates being disagreed with for any reason, especially one that would put him in the wrong with dwarves.
“I maintain that my decision was sound.” His king says, dismissively. Legolas takes a breath and begins to speak again.
“It was unfair of us, and we did not treat them kindly. They had not done anything to warrant-“
“One day, you will grow up and see that the world is not nearly as kind as you think it is.” His father snaps, and Legolas feels embarrassment even though the corridor they are standing in is deserted.
Thranduil, done with the conversation, turns and walks away.
Feeling much older than he is, Legolas lets himself lean against the hallway, and slide down until he is sitting, back against the wall and head resting on his knees. He hadn’t been in this position since he was an upset dwarfling, waiting for his mother or father to come by and give him a hug. And although his mother was deceased, and his father could no longer be bothered, the position was slightly comforting. Slightly.
The weight of the last few weeks is catching up to him. Cruelty from the dwarves, mockery from Tauriel’s lover, and his father’s disdain have left him feeling desolate. At this point, the only thing propelling him through the week is the knowledge that in just five days they will leave and these farce-filled peace talks will be over.
His melancholy was interrupted by a throat clearing, and the elf looked up through blurry eyes (when had he started crying ?) to see the King of Erebor himself. Looking uncomfortable. Wonderful.
“Is there something I can do for you?” Legolas asks tiredly, trying to keep his choked voice level. If this is another chance for one of the dwarves to ask if he knew where they could find some barrels of wine just in case, he really just cannot put up with it right now. And how much had he heard?
“I had gone looking for one of my charges,” Thorin said, using a soft tone Legolas had never heard before. It reminded him of when someone was attempting to approach an animal that was known to flee suddenly. “He likes to study in libraries, but forgets to eat and sleep on time.”
“The library is down that way,” Legolas directs with a half-hearted gesture, and waits for the dwarf to leave. Instead, Thorin kneels right in front of him so they are on eye-level, he slightly taller than the elf in this position.
“I think you gave wise council,” Thorin says, looking him in the eye. Legolas’ mouth falls open at the bold statement, “Though it is difficult for a king to swallow his pride. Regardless, your father should heed you. One day, you will lead this realm well.”
The praise is too unfair, and it makes him breakdown. The stress of the past few days had been affecting him more then he realized. Immediately, Thorin pulls him into his arms, and they stay that way for a long time.
The rest of their stay passes without incident, and the dwarves stop harassing Legolas. If anything, he notices several of them being considerably friendlier; specifically the three youngest of the company.
Kili (Tauriel’s dwarf) actually asks to formally practice with him, and apologizes for his earlier rudeness. (“ Brothers have to stick together, right? ” he says casually when Legolas asks what brought the change. The brother comment confuses him, but he thinks it is because they use the same weaponry, or because of how he and Tauriel had always thought of themselves like “Brother and Sister.” So he brushes it off.)
On the day before they’re set to leave, two dwarves ask to speak to him. He recognizes the red-haired one as Gloin, and the other introduces himself as Dori.
“We’re sure you have noticed some changes,” Gloin begins, and in spite of it all, Legolas appreciates that dwarves aren’t afraid to state their points openly, and not flit around the issue like elves and hobbits are won’t to do, “With Fili, Kili, and Ori.”
“King Thorin,” Dori begins, and here he and Gloin cautiously look around, as if they were expecting someone to arrive. Seeing no-one, Dori continues, “has… well… it’s a slight quirk.”
“A bloody obsession.” The other grunts, and Dori shushes him.
“Yes, it’s a bit peculiar,” the silver-haired dwarf nods, and Legolas is honestly so confused. They were supposed to get to the point.
“My cousin has a habit of adopting other dwarves’, men’s, and I guess now elves’, children as his own.” Gloin explains.
Legolas stares at them both, convinced all that hair has made them lose their minds.
Dori gives an exasperated sigh. “Laddie, Thorin has decided you’re one of his children now.”
His eyes widen.
“We figured you didn’t realize.” Gloin mused. “Anyway, we just wanted to warn you. He’s done the same with my son, and Dori’s Ori you see. And Bard’s wee ones. And that’s not fair… but…”
The two look at each other, and seem to be communicating silently. Dori speaks up to say, “You should know that we, not just Thorin, have grown fond of you. And you should always feel welcome in the Mountain. Thorin’s going to make an official announcement before we leave.”
His eyes, widen again, but this time in wonder. The beauty of Erebor had been bedtime stories from his mother for the longest time, and he’d always dreamed of seeing the mountain. Though he’d known as he got older it would never happen – even without the dragon, you had to be formerly invited by the dwarves and as an elf he knew he’d never get invited.
But now he was.
“Oi, if you start crying that King’s gonna kill us,” Gloin grouches at him, and Legolas hastily wipes his eyes. And it’s good timing on his part, because at that moment Thorin himself appears in the room they are in, asking them what is going on, and asked Legolas is everything is alright.
The two dwarves give him I told you s o looks that Legolas pointedly ignores in favor of telling him nothing is wrong.
“I trust you to tell me if there ever is.” Thorin states, and then adds, “I was looking for you anyway. You did not eat enough at lunch. Come with me now.”
Dazed from the events of the day, Legolas obediently follows the Dwarf King without protesting, ignoring the snickers from the dwarves behind him.
After this, no one was surprised to hear Thorin say something along the lines of, “I love all my children equally, including the elf one.” (To which Dori, Dis, and Bard would repeat, “ Not your children” to the first half.) And it was not lost on any member of the company that Legolas became the official ambassador to Erebor, and always came over even for the simplest of reasons (he would journey there over sending a letter, even) and would always shyly ask to speak with Thorin, as opposed to Balin or Bilbo (who were official diplomats). Thorin always spent as much time with him as possible, and Legolas always left looking so much happier than when he’d arrived. None of the dwarves liked elves but they had all grown fond of Legolas, and did not like seeing him sad.
It was the one time no-one disagreed when he said Legolas was his child.
Six years after the conclusion of the Battle of Five Armies, Bilbo abruptly left Erebor, seemingly overnight, with Dwalin and Balin in tow. It threw the kingdom into a stupor, with dwarves terrified the very foundation of the mountain would fall without their hobbit. Thorin mopes (Fili and Kili imitate it for their mother’s enjoyment behind his back because how does someone manage to mope majestically?) and has Ori, who is now his official scribe (because in his unbiased opinion Ori is the best scribe in Arda) count the days until his return. He also wonders why Bilbo had left so abruptly, and what could possibly be wrong. He worries while he mopes, because Bilbo argues with him for fun even if he agrees with him - yet simply nodded absentmindedly when he had Dwalin and Balin go with him for protection when Bilbo declared he had needed to leave for the Shire immediately.
It’s revealed six months later, when Kili intercepts a raven that tells him that Bilbo is at the gates of Erebor, and Thorin is ready to rush to meet his One at the Gate when the raven mentions that Bilbo would like to speak before the King.
Which may be the oddest request Bilbo’s asked of him yet (and this includes the times he will talk to elves for his hobbit). Bilbo is his One – he’s never had to ask things before him as King - it was preposterous.
But when Bilbo kneels before the throne, and presents the tiniest child Thorin has ever seen, introducing him as his cousin, and newly adopted charge Frodo, that Thorin understands why his hobbit stood on ceremony. As king, he stands and formerly, yet warmly, officially welcomes them both into the mountain as honored dwarf-friends (tacking on Bilbo’s title as consort because it always makes the stiff nobles squawk and Bilbo flush beautifully ). Frodo is timid, quiet, well-behaved, and tiny - he is honestly the smallest thing Thorin had ever seen and it was adorable. After the ceremony, they return to the quarters he had been sharing with Bilbo as they find rooms for Frodo, and the fauntling hides behind Bilbo in a way that reminds Thorin of Ori when he was a child.
Unfortunately, unlike Ori, Frodo doesn’t come around when he offers biscuits or food. He doesn’t leave Bilbo’s side period, and has frequent nightmares in the nights that come. Bilbo explained to the company about the accident with his parents, and how it affected him. It pulls at his heartstrings, but he can’t comfort him because Frodo still seems scared of him. The lad barely speaks to Balin and Dwalin, who have always been great with children (though not as good as him, of course) and had spent half a year traveling with him.
“It’s not personal.” Dwalin had shrugged it off when Thorin asked. They were eating biscuits that Thorin thought of giving to Frodo, before learning he and Bilbo were spending the day with Ori and Balin in the library to figure out where he was on his lessons. “We’re all too big for ‘im. He’s moved all the way across the land to strange people. All he knows is Bilbo, and he’s scared he’ll lose ‘im any moment.”
“That’s uncharacteristically wise coming from you.” Thorin quips, and dodges the punch to the arm Dwalin gives as a result. But it makes sense, and it gives Thorin an idea on how to connect with the hobbit-child.
A Few days later, Thorin wakes in the middle of the night to hear Frodo crying out. Bilbo is at his side, still asleep. His consort must be very tired if he hadn't been woken up, and Thorin does not want to wake him if that is the case. Instead, Thorin decides to try his hand at comforting the lad.
Thorin makes his way to Frodo's room, and very gently wakes him up. Frodo starts suddenly, still panicked, and clings to Thorin the moment he calms down. Thorin holds him close, and gently rubs his back.
"I dreamed I lost Uncle Bilbo," He whispered to Thorin, "And he left me and I was alone!" He trembled, and Thorin was worried he would start crying - and hobbits crying was even worse then any of his other children crying, which he didn't realize was possible.
“I know you are scared of losing Bilbo.” He whispered to the sniffling child. Frodo looked up at him, but said nothing. “Would you like to know a secret?” Thorin asked. The child nodded.
“I’m scared of losing him too.”
Frodo blinked in surprise. “Why?”
This was the longest conversation they have had without Frodo looking for Bilbo. “Because I love him, the way two parents love each other. And I’m scared that he’ll go away to. That’s why I promised to take care of him when I married him. I swear to you that I’ll look after him the best I can, and you too, if you’d let me.”
And he knows this vow is just as important as the one he’d made to Fili when he’d been a newborn. “I will. And I will do my best to take care of you too.”
(“Honestly, how does he do it?” Bilbo asks at afternoon tea the next day.
“Mahal knows.” Dis said wryly, sipping the tea he’d poured for her. “He took Fili and Kili before I was out of the birthing chambers. I never had a chance.”
Dori scoffed, having finished a tart. He complimented Bilbo on it before stating, “In my naivety, I happened upon our King the moment he took my Ori, and I never even suspected."
"I had tried to warn you," Dis says, in a far-too inoccent tone. Dori levels a look at her before handing Bard a freshly poured teacup.
After thanking Dori, Bard suddenly chuckles.
The others look at him, confused.
"Something funny?" Bilbo asked.
"Well, it is amusing that he keeps referring to them as, you know, children still." When the others look at him blankly, Bard elaborates, "Sigrid is considered an adult, and I know Fili, Kili, and Ori are because they went on the quest. Legolas is too."
"Speak plainly." Gloin snapped, still not seeing where it was going. Dis, however, let out an "Oh!" as her eyes widened. She slowly chuckled as well.
"They'll find people that they are fond of, if they have not already." Bard explain, and smirks at them both. "Think about how he'll react to that?"
Bilbo joins Dis in her laughter, and Dori and Gloin grin as well.
"He thinks they're his children?" Dis snickered, "Then he can deal with their courting and partners."
"I can drink to that!" Gloin toasts, raising his tea cup to clink with Bilbo's. Dori smirks and raises his to Bard's.
Suddenly, they can all find the humor the other dwarves in the company have had to this whole business.