- No Beta
- Alternate Universe
- Established Relationship
Two weeks after Dís arrived, Bilbo found himself alone with her in his rooms, everyone else having gone about their daily business while Dís helped him get the children dressed for the day.
Thorin had had no luck in cornering Dwalin since he’d mentioned he was going to try, the other Dwarf having been rather slippery when it came to Thorin engaging him in personal talks. Finally, Thorin had thrown up his hands in defeat and handed it to Bilbo to figure out since he had other pressing matters, such as dealing with former councilmen and councilmen’s heirs who did not want to be put off, regardless of Thorin stating that he would not be choosing anyone for positions on the Council until all the Dwarves were back home, and he had to spend some quality time yelling at them to shut up or get thrown in the dungeons until they could learn to listen.
That had been a week ago, and it wasn’t until now that he’d had Thorin’s sister all to himself, without any interference. “Dís, I need your help with something.”
“You only have to ask,” she called out from the bathroom, where she was drawing a bath so they could bathe the children, while Bilbo stripped them of their clothing.
“It’s Dwalin. And Nori. Well, mostly Dwalin.”
“Still pining for our sweet little thief, is he?” Dís asked.
Bilbo snorted. “Just how long has he been interested in Nori?”
“Since the first time he had to arrest him,” she said, coming out of the bathroom to scoop up Frór. “I’ve never seen anyone so smitten so quickly. I swear, half the times he arrested him were just so he could have him near and make certain he was safe. Nori is definitely his One, and it’s rather pathetic that he’s left it this long, especially when Nori has made it plain that he would be more than happy if Dwalin would make a move.”
“I’m surprised that Nori hasn’t simply sneaked into his rooms and crawled into bed with him at this rate,” Bilbo said, brushing a finger along Marís’ tiny whiskers on her chin.
“He likely would have, except with Dwalin so reluctant and often ignoring what’s between them, I think he fears he would be rejected.” Dís sighed. “It’s rather painful when our Ones reject us.”
“Speaking from experience?” Bilbo looked over to see not pain, but fond remembrance on Dís’ face.
“Aye. My Víli initially rejected my advances, because he felt he was not suitable for a princess. Thorin disabused him of that notion rather violently,” she said, and she laughed. “Once he recovered, he made certain to present me with my courting bead.”
“Why does it not surprise me that Thorin used violence?” Bilbo said, shaking his head and grinning. “Did they manage to learn to get along?”
“Oh, yes, after Víli got his head out of his arse, they became great friends,” Dís said, scooping up Frerin as well, and they headed into the bathroom.
“That’s good to hear,” Bilbo murmured as he placed Marís in the long basket by the tub and stripped off his clothing.
Modesty in front of Dís had gone by the wayside the week before when she and the boys walked into their chambers and caught Bilbo giving Thorin a thorough reaming. Fíli and Kíli had been amused and wolf-whistled until their sense caught up with reality and they realized who it was Bilbo was having sex with in front of the fireplace, and they fled with cries of blindness and demands for Gandalf to return to wipe their minds clean. Dís had merely smirked and closed the door behind her.
“Thorin has been trying to find out why Dwalin is avoiding what he could have with Nori, but to no avail, and he’s tasked me with finding out. I could use your help,” Bilbo said as he slid into the tub and took Frerin from Dís’ arms.
“You mean corner him and interrogate him until he cracks like a nut? I can do that.”
“The problem is going to be getting him to stand still long enough. Outside of work and group situations where this cannot be addressed, he’s been good at slipping through Thorin’s fingers. We need something that will draw him in.”
Dís nuzzled against Frór’s temple as the boy looked at the room around him. “We already have the bait. You know he cannot resist the children. We just need the trap.”
Bilbo grinned. “After the picnic lunch today, how about we decide to take a long walk? I’m certain we can get word to the others to have more important things to do, and you know Dwalin will refuse to let us go alone…”
“And he’ll have to escort us back to the chambers, and then we can figure out just what is going on, once he has nowhere to go,” Dís said, nodding with approval. “While we cannot force him to do anything about Nori, at least we can get to the bottom of why he denies himself his One.”
“Precisely. Now, let’s get these little ones bathed. Bombur is expecting my help with lunch soon.”
Their plan worked exactly as they’d hoped, and soon enough, Dwalin was in their rooms, holding Marís while she played with his beard.
Bilbo and Dís sat down with the other two children, and Dís started the conversation. “Dwalin, can I ask you a question?”
Dwalin nodded. “Of course. So long as it’s not about my love life.”
Dís snorted and glanced at Bilbo, whose eyes were rolling so hard, she feared they would pop out of his head and go rolling across the floor. “We are not here to force you into anything you do not wish to do. We are simply curious as to why you deny yourself your One. We all know Nori is your One. You know it. He knows it. And yet, you continue to ignore it.”
“The only thing I can think of is the age difference,” Bilbo said. “Thorin said that he is seventy years younger than you.”
“Aye, he is,” Dwalin said, sighing softly. “That is a long time to leave someone alone, and for him to watch me grow old and weak…”
Bilbo rolled his eyes again. “Oh, please. I know enough of Dwarves to know that only in the last couple of years do you even begin to ‘weaken’ as you say.”
“Also, how do you know he will outlive you?” Dís asked. “Dwarf lifespans range anywhere from two hundred and fifty years to three hundred and fifty. What makes you think you won’t live that long, or that he would live so long?”
“Aye, that is true, but you don’t know that, and I don’t know that I can risk his heart that way,” Dwalin murmured as he bounced Marís on his knees.
“You don’t know what will happen either,” Bilbo replied, “and you’re risking his heart now.” He closed his eyes and sighed softly, and then looked at Dwalin with a serious expression. “Look, you think I do not understand the position Nori is in? That I don’t know what it is like to love someone I would outlive by at least a hundred years? It is only a quirk of my biology that I was gifted with the fading. But I also live with the knowledge that the fading has skipped some in my family, and I have seen the pain they’ve felt, living on after the one they loved died. And I know that each and every one of them, no matter the pain, would have done nothing different.
“I tell you now, as someone who believes he will die not long after his One but does not know for certain, that there is nothing I would change. I would not give Thorin up. I would not give up my life here, or my children, for the pain I may have to endure until my time comes. It is a small price to pay for the love and joy I feel now.”
Dís leaned forward slightly and looked Dwalin in the eye. “Nori loves you. He loves you, and it hurts him now that you deny who he is. He will have to live much longer with your rejection than he would without you.” Then she smiled softly. “Think about what we’ve said, my friend. We’ve known each other since we were but young children. I want to see you happy. You deserve to be happy. So does Nori.”
Dwalin nodded. “I will think on it,” he said, his voice hoarse. “Now, after being cornered like this, I think I deserve something for my enduring it. Got any of those lovely chocolate biscuits?” he asked Bilbo.
Bilbo chuckled and handed Frór over to Dís. “I even have some berry cobbler I managed to hide away from the rest,” he said, getting up.
“Ah, then it was definitely worth our little chat,” Dwalin said, and he smiled at Bilbo as he walked by.
To Bilbo’s eye, he looked a little lighter for their conversation, and whether or not he took their advice, Bilbo felt that they at least had helped him with some of what he struggled with.
Only time would tell if he accepted who Nori was to him and courted him properly.