|Woman of Man: There and Back again
Author: Spirit De Mortis PM
a woman landing in Middle Earth just before the dwarves meet Bilbo in Bag End. Her presence there throws things off and while they are on their journey to Erebor, they try to find a way to send her back home. She grows attached to several of the dwarves, especially Balin. when they find a way to send her home, can she bring herself to leave, knowing some of their eventual fates?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Balin & Bofur - Chapters: 3 - Words: 15,655 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 03-17-13 - Published: 12-31-12 - id: 8859683
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thank you for the reviews. I was debating on how much I actually wanted this to go in the same direction as the movie or the book and I decided I couldn't really do that without making Angel overshadow Bilbo completely from his original standpoint in the movie and book, so this will be a completely new adventure :) Poor Tolkien is probably rolling in his grave right now. No disrespect to him intended. I just don't want to ruin his work THAT much.
I was stuck for a while on the decision of what to do in the story, decided she will end up being romantically involved with one of the dwarves (I bet you can't figure who) and since this is a lightly rated fic, the material posted will not likely be more than a shared kiss. So there is a warning for ya.
Bilbo was walking around with weapons in his arms and slung over his shoulder like he was a public coat rack as the door was knocked so hard it was nearly pushed off the hinges. She watched him, in a towering temper, throw the arsenal on the floor and in front of his mothers glory box, shouting about poor taste before he opened the door and the heads of eight dwarves fell to the floor at Bilbo's feet, grunting and groaning under each other's weight. Hats that may have been firmly in place at one time now tumbled down and onto the floor abandoned. She looked back up at Fili and shrugged slowly. He stared down at her with his hands clasped together before him, waiting for an answer.
"I don't know what's going on at the moment. My mind seems to be playing a very well rehearsed trick on me..." She said and for the first time since waking up on the hill side, feeling worried that this was in fact real as she rubbed her still stinging arm.
"Laddie… can you help get the dishes out for everyone else?" Balin called to Fili. Fili looked briefly over his shoulder and then back at her. Her eyes displayed a shine of fear and he really didn't know what to do with her, not less because he didn't know her, but what business is it of his the troubles of the women of men? If she was in trouble… find a man to help. So he nodded toward her politely and walked away as the other dwarves finally managed to get off the floor and one by one noticed her sitting there and one by one in their own way acknowledging that she was there and not just part of Bilbo's hole in the ground.
After a moments silence from her as the dwarves bustled about, a frustrated Bilbo dancing between them with varying degrees of irritation, Angel noticed the tall thin gray clad figure walking up to her, weaving in and out of the smaller bodies of the busy dwarves and one very disconcerted hobbit as he looked down at her on her perch. As the wizard approached her she stood to her feet. After having read about this character and indeed seeing him in movies and cartoons, she hadn't realized just how tall the old man was. Her head had to still crane back considerably as she looked at him. Her eyes over bright… temporarily her confusion was dashed at the sight of Gandalf… for he has been one of her favorite mythical characters of all time and here he was… in front of her… in the flesh. She had a shaky smile on her face as she lifted her hand and rand her finger and forefinger down the length of the scarf that hung down his front.
"Oh my god… Gandalf… I am actually standing in the same space with Gandalf the Gray." Angel said on a giggle of awe. Her mystified gaze shifted down the gray clocked body and back up to the wise old countenance, the bushy white eyebrows and the gray white beard and mustache and… the iconic hat and staff. Gandalf only looked mildly perplexed about this strange woman saying his name.
"Who are you?" He asked. She looked for a moment that she had trouble drawing breath as she looked into his face.
"I'm… Angel."She said faintly. He stepped closer to her, his eyes squinting in a scrutinizing manner.
"I have never seen you before. You are obviously not a hobbit or a dwarf."
"Too tall… and I am not an elf… elves are pretty… I am… not so much." She said as if this was a matter of little to no concern.
"Are you from Bree?" Gandalf asked, knowing it was one of the closest towns to have man in it mingling with other inhabitance of Middle Earth like the hobbits and dwarves. She shook her head.
"Nope. And I am not from Gondor… I am not from Rohan or any other place. I am a human… just and ordinary girl."
"And what business do you have in The Shire?" Gandalf asked perhaps a little more harshly that he would normally have. He didn't know all of Bilbo's associations and he didn't want to be rude if she indeed is a friend of his… a queer sort of friend but it wasn't his place to judge. He skipped introduction of himself since she obviously knew who he was, which was not uncommon. A lot of lands knew of Gandalf the wondering wizard who comes uncalled for. Instead he searched her for explanation of her accompaniment in this festive moment when dwarf, hobbit, wizard and now woman came together under one roof to share a pint and good food before waging a trip on the map of Middle Earth. She forced a smile and shrugged at him and taking her seat again.
"Just dropped in, I guess." Angel said.
"Did Thorin ask you here?" Gandalf asked her, looking at her suspiciously. She sighed.
"No he didn't. Thorin has never seen me before." She said wearily.
"Nor have I and I know many in this land. You are the first I have seen like you." Gandalf said, looking at her. She shifted in her seat a little as one of the dwarf's came by with a plate of sausages. She could smell the meat and nearly taste it. She was hungry. This is a really good dream. She had oft wanted to be dropped even in the most despicable scenarios in the most evil of games and movies just to be nearer the characters she loved so… had her wish been so powerful that she was able to enter Middle Earth and go on an unexpected journey with the dwarves of Erebor, Bilbo Baggins of The Shire and Gandalf Greyhame? That is ridiculous of course… in the world no more magic happens than what exists in the mind of the ones who write books and create movies and such. Beings that are walking about bold as brass are figments of imagination and consider those who take a liking to them as nerds and geeks and very much outcasts to the social masses. At least… that is what she has found. Still any world is better than where she was from where it was the same thing everywhere. No elves… no dwarves… no hobbits or wizards. All humans who hate each other for differences they think they see.
"I guess if this is real, I am screwed huh?" Angel said with a slight smile. "It's a good thing I am not completely helpless. I can defend myself. I don't need much looking after. As a matter of fact, I can help protect all of you because I know how it all ends. Its one of my favorite stories actually." Angel said until Gandalf placed his hand over her mouth.
"Are you telling me you know the outcome is of this journey?" He asked quietly. She searched his blue eyes. For as old as he is, his eyes were very bright and vibrant. She slowly nodded and he closed his eyes in worriment.
"Yeah… I know the reason Bilbo goes… I know what happens. I read the book many times." She said a little too loudly for Gandalf's taste and he hushed her with a finger over her lips because Oin the dwarf was angling his ear trumpet toward them to hear what they were saying.
"You must not… it is imperative… that you do not relate the means of the journey before they come to fruition, lest you ruin our timeline."
"But I can stop some really awful things from happening." She said. He searched her for a moment.
"You cannot stop them. They have to happen. I may not like the outcome of every quest I have embarked on and wish I could change it… but oft when situations occurs like this, to deter the rightful course and passage of time and consequence, something more frightful will happen in its place and you long to have it the way it was ordained." Gandalf said sadly.
"But-" Angel said, a fear welling up inside her… she hoped it was a dream. Now she almost needed it to be because she wasn't sure she was strong enough to allow the events to happen without doing anything to stop it… she felt a tool in the inevitable fate of some who are and will be present.
"Not a word to anyone. If there is word you are some sort of oracle… Thorin may not return to Erebor… Bilbo will never leave Bag End… and I will not likely want this journey to proceed and to my reckoning… they do proceed, don't do anything to hinder time and consequence. If we have to make you tag along just to watch you keep your tongue, young lady… we will." Gandalf said finally. He could tell by the look on her face and the reaction of her knowledge, that whatever will happen was likely not going to be good, but the less they know beforehand, the easier it will be to carry on, if death awaits some of them or all of them… so be it. "And if we can… before this is over… we will help you get home."
Angel was confused. This is the weirdest dream… the feel reaslest dream… the most frightening dream she feels she has ever had. The scariest dream she had, nightmare really, she knew it was just that… a nightmare even while the most frightening things were happening she felt she would wake from it. What made this scarier than the worst nightmare she ever had was she couldn't say this was for certain a dream and didn't know if she could wake from it. Pain… clarity… no one conspicuously knows her and where she is from.
Her fear caused a black stain in the midst of merriment, the only other person who looked distraught was Bilbo, who was pacing outside the dinning area, looking at plates and cutlery being thrown around and tossed hither and thither with the food as the dwarves piled the tables high with the hobbits food.
This isn't right… how did this happen? She felt tears fill her eyes a little and her feet tucked in as a really fat dwarf moved by her, his thick braided beard curled up and over his shoulder. He looked down over his huge red mustache and his even bigger chin at her, nodded and carried on with three wheels of cheese in his arms. Several others walked by with other dishes in their hands and Bilbo yelling in the hall as they cleared out his pantry and brought the contents to the dining room where there were more bodies than there was anything else.
She looked up from her maundering and stared at Gandalf's back. Did he really not know who she was or was he pretending and carrying on like he didn't know, the way Bilbo lied about not having seen Gandalf. An older dwarf walked by with a tea tray wrapped in his left arm. An intricate system of braids held his beard and hair off his face and shoulders as he approached her.
"Would you like some tea, Miss?" He asked. Angel looked at him… knew him as Dori and shook her head. The best she could do is not get attached. Some of them won't meet a good ending and she already hurt for them. She didn't want to know them more personally than the book or movie provided lest it be worse for her in the end. And the less a burden she was, she felt she could stick around and find a way home. She did have to work in the morning after all and did not want to be late or she could potentially be fired. Besides… who would look after her dogs?
"Excuse me, Mr. Gandalf… could I tempt you with a cup of chamomile?" Dori asked to Gandalf's back. She looked up just in time to see Gandalf walk away from him with a polite 'no thank you' and a request for red wine.
She wondered as she sat here, how much difference her presence will make the outcome deter from the original timeline. She wondered if Gandalf even considered that? How can she let them walk into situations she knows will turn out badly? She wondered if she could keep her mouth shut in that case. Would anyone just let it happen? Anyone who loves the story and as equally, the characters… little Bilbo, proud and courageous Thorin, sweet and wise Balin, gritty and tough Dwalin… all of them… She crossed her arms as more food came by in arms of dwarves who neither noticed nor cared to even look at her. She didn't mind… again… why get attached if this is a dream and she will wake up from it soon?
Or even if this is real, why get attached when she will eventually have to go home… She kept separated from them almost the entire time they ate. She couldn't help, despite her urge to stay as anonymous as possible, she could not keep herself from the sound of cheer happening less than an arms length away from her. She sat behind Gandalf and not at the table. He packed her a plate, she seen food flying from one end of the table to the other with blurring speed, several bits of something she couldn't see but for the wiz of its color going by ping off the plate before Gandalf turned and handed it to her.
"Here you go." He said and gave it to her. She took it gratefully but sat it on her lap and watched the table some more. There was no way she could keep her eyes from the action; it was incredible how these dwarves behaved when eating together. She sort of saw her family at the table during holidays when looking at them in merriment in good days gone by like the reenactment of a fond memory. She wished she was part of the camaraderie and they would accept her as such, but she knew it wouldn't happen. This thought saddened her.
She looked at one end of the table to the next and couldn't help but smile because they were all so cute, some in charisma rather than looks but they also had a level of charm… well… charm is stretching it, but she found them fun to be around. Fili was walking over the foot on top of the table after he filled two mugs with ale, dancing between the plates with not too much care, nearly overturning some of the plates until Dwalin, someone she knew to have already eaten, grabbed the younger blonde dwarfs boot and hauled him off the table so he tumbled over several inches and platters of food and into Ori and Bombur's lap. Well, Angel laughed with her knuckles in her mouth, Fili actually landed more so his feet were held up by Ori's lap and his upper body was stuck between Bombur's massive belly and the table. She turned her head in time to see Dwalin dump a mug of ale down Oin's ear trumpet, she caught Bofur toppling out of his chair with his big booted feet in the air while that end of the table erupted in ruckus laughter and unrestrained glee, not least from Bofur, who popped back up with a huge grin on his playful face, his hazel eyes twinkling in her direction, the smile showing her dimples on his merry face.
Angel felt a blush creep up her cheeks and she turned away until he spoke in that heavy brogue.
"Why don't ye join the company, lass? No call to be a wall flower." A couple of the dwarves laughed at his words, one of them even said-she couldn't tell who said it- and she was embarrassed because she wasn't used to that sort of thing where she came from 'too bad she isn't a dwarf, she'd make a fine dwarf woman' as she attempted to refuse at the appraising look on Gandalf's aged face.
"Come, lass… 'Balin said, lifting his leathered hand to gesture to the open seat nearest him. She sat gingerly among the smaller bodies, her and Gandalf taking a fair bit of room between floor and ceiling. And there she sat during the feast while fits of laughter and lobs of food went whizzing by her. They toasted and exchanged, what was in her opinion disgusting, belches of satisfaction from the ale they gobbed down. She wasn't against the burping until Ori, the one on the end of the table on her side stood to his feet in obvious competition with his brother Nori and let out the loudest and most annoying burp so far and she seen a few, like Balin near her, flash the younger dwarf a disgusted look while the others took ruckus pleasure in the display. Even though she thought it was disgusting, she still giggled a little and felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned her head and a pipe was thrust near her face.
"You take a toke of the pipe, lass?" Bofur asked with that happy countenance. She looked from the corn cob bowl in his thick fingers, that was light and smoking slightly from the mouth piece feeling uncomfortable… sure that it was illegal.
"Don't worry your pretty head, darling… tis only pipe weed, it won't make you sick." Bofur smiled more, his teeth showing, his eyes twinkling, the outward jutting braids on the sides of his head seemed to perk up with a jovial quirk of his head. She leaned forward hesitantly and took a pull on the mouthpiece of Bofur's pipe, letting the foreign smoke fill her lungs. She pulled away, it had a distinct spicy flavor and it seared her throat. She pulled back, spluttering on the smoke as it came out of both her mouth and her nose. She went unnoticed by all but Bofur, Balin and Bilbo who came to her and clapped her back heartily.
"I would a appreciate that no one passes out in my house!" Bilbo said and rubbed at her back as she continued to cough and hack at the potent stuff she put in her lungs, but all too soon, she was feeling light, warm and very happy. She laughed easily and only remembered snatches of things that happened from there on in. She could tell she was high, whatever it was, and it didn't smell of marijuana, that she took a toke of, made her feel giddy and not herself, so when the first plate flew over her head, the length of the table as a scattered handful of the dwarves sat about talking and smoking, song broke loose and because she already knew this would happen, she was able to keep up with the song, singing with them, watching Fili dance in the hall making spectacular catches of Bilbo's precious crockery.
She found all she could do was laugh heartily as Dwalin, someone she didn't feel fit into the jigging and singing category was helping in the clearing of the table and the consequent song. She looked across the table as plate and cutlery sailed through the air with little effort and the sink man, whom she knew to be Bifur, caught a knife with his hand a mere inches from his face as he turned toward the oncoming kitchenry.
What amazed her was just how complex it seemed to her to actually sit in the thick of the action, picking out and listening to everyone's voices as they sung. Balin in front of her, tossing plates over his shoulder as they rolled over the plate in his hand. Gandalf laughing cheerfully at the antics of the dwarves as Bilbo struggled to get through the airborne dishes and dancing dwarves where it brought him to his table end and all the dishes by then were stacked in a neat pile on one end, not a one banged, dented, cracked or chipped, gleaming in the candle light.
Of course, all jollity comes to an eventual end. The dwarves laughed at the severity on Bilbo's face as it melted away at the sight of his unharmed dishes when there was a loud and thunderous knock on his door, that she knew was coming but still it shocked her when it happened. Every laughing mouth was silenced as the din of the knock reverberated off the walls and died.
"He is here." Gandalf said, looking at Bilbo. Bilbo looked confused as there was a great scuffle, the dwarves getting up and piling into the front hall to meet the new guest.
"What on earth… not another dwarf. I think I have too many as it is… when will Gandalf's surprises end?" Bilbo said. Angel looked at him and crossed her arms.
"Just you wait. Its not over yet."
Bilbo's eyes bore into her as she looked at the backs of the assembled dwarves leading to the front door.
"What do you mean?"
"Nothing. I can't tell you."
"You can't tell me what? I am the victim here!" Bilbo looked affronted. She rose her brows at him.
The front door opened and heard someone come in with a deep melodic voice. The words spoken called attention to the one who opened the door and Bilbo had to shove himself between the bodies of dwarves to come to the newcomer in a obligation to welcome, however unwelcome, the new guest to his home.
Angel sat quietly, waiting, the conversation carrying out in the hall as she remembered it with little differences here and there, as if whomever wrote the script was only basing the lines off of what they remembered than it actually being word for word. The dwarves laughed and the dwarves backs that she was viewing had moved to the side and he came in. Thorin Oakensheild… he took one look at her and froze. She felt a thrill of fear… a fear that was not of him, but of the rejection she expected. His forget me not blue eyes bore into her hard, his brows knitting together angrily as he spun in place.
"Who is this, wizard? We never spoke of any humans coming with us. A woman of man no less… what possible skill could she have?" He asked angrily as he looked back at her. She was sour, no doubt, at his quickness to judge her… she almost forgot how foreign she looked to all of them and she caught herself before she told him off for his bold rudeness.
"She is astray, a traveler who landed here accidentally." Gandalf said, looking at her, silently telling her to let him do the talking. She of course let him, knowing that if Thorin kept his attitude up, she would not keep her tongue in check either.
"Let me guess… you are tagging her along too." Thorin said as he walked forward, the heavy boots on his feet thudding the floor as he approached the table and sat down. Even before his hands came to rest on the hard wood, there was a bowl and bread placed before him and ale retrieved by several of the dwarves. Bilbo was too busy being flabbergasted by the insult to him to really think of his host obligations.
"This wasn't the agreement we had, Gandalf. It was you, I and twelve dwarves, the ones who responded to my call… and you said you would find a burglar. So far you have shown me a grocer and a woman of man… dressed strangely… and someone who doesn't look to have any particular skill. What use would she be?" Thorin said and leaned forward, the curtain of his dark hair shod silver falling forward, god and silver clasps in his hair glinting in the firelight. He sniffed the stew and felt the bread.
"Wow… do you show this much doubt to everyone you meet? I don't imagine you have very many friends." Angel mouthed at him heatedly. As Thorin picked up his spoon, he looked at her.
"Where I have was forced to live, women who show this much skin is only looking for one thing. I can't think of any reason Gandalf… or the hobbit would have you in company. Is this the sort of riffraff you consort with?" They all saw a shadow pass over Gandalf's wizened face and he grumbled.
"You know no more of women of men than you do of your own hurtful words, Thorin Oakensheild. Pray never to insult a person before you know even their name. "Gandalf said. The other dwarves were silent. She sniggered.
"I think he just told you to shut your mouth." She leaned toward him as she spoke and he turned his head.
"Who are you and what do you mean to this quest and why had Gandalf included you in the number?"
"My real name is Violet. But ever since I was born, my friends and family have called me Angel. " She said. She paused and realized they were all looking at her. She continued.
"I uh… I am not from around here." She said lamely. Thorin snorted and looked back to his bowl. She scowled and crossed her arms over her chest.
"And I think the only reason I am coming is because this is nothing but a dream. I am playing it out as I go…eventually I will wake up."
"Yes, you said that before… what does that mean?" Bilbo asked from behind the other dwarves.
"Where I am from, you aren't real. None of you are. You are the imagination of a great writer. I was laying in my bed… my dogs at my feet. It was cold and windy outside. It was relatively early in the night, I know because I had to go to bed to rest for work the following morning. I started to fall asleep… I can't remember what I was thinking before I did though… and when I woke up, I was out there.' She pointed out the window. "On the hillside in my pajamas with Bilbo over me… waking me up. I thought this was a weird dream… it has to be." Angel said, noting the incredulous looks on Thorin's face. She pursed her lips.
"Strange dreams you have… or flights of fancy. You probably had too much ale in your system and have hence wandered into parts unknown to you. Typical of man to be so ridiculous." Thorin said and put a mouthful of the stew in his mouth. She brought her hand down on the table in frustration.
"Dude… you weren't the nicest to begin with, but now that I am in your presence, the book and movie didn't do justice to just how much an asshole you are!" She said and noticed the red tint in Thorin's cheeks as he dropped his spoon into the bowl before him.
"By Mahal… Gandalf… this… nymph… is not coming with us!" Thorin said and several of the dwarves nodded in agreement, not liking how she was talking to their hopefully soon to be king.
"Awe come on! You can dish it but you can't take it? I am not a dwarf… I have no skill at fighting but I can be useful for some things, dammit." She said, feeling very angry. She wished at some point in knowing Tolkien's world of Middle Earth that if she had ever come face to face with the people of this world that they would be nice, peaceful and understanding and even tolerant of others who may not be easily understood to begin with. She really had hoped they would like her… but then again… it was her own whimsy… her own notions of their person that drove her to believe or hope they would like her… now she knew the reality of it. They weren't going to accept her. Much the way in her world no one accepted her for one reason or another. This thought made her upset and she felt tears in her eyes. Thorin and the other dwarf's discontent of her really stung her heart.
"You'd be another mouth to feed, you being human will take more food than we can spare to keep stock already… And if there is trouble on the road, you will have to be defended. We just don't have that sort of time to be caring for the capricious trifles of a traveling woman of unknown origin."
"I must interject here… Thorin. I have given word to help her find a way home; thusly it forces her to come with us."
"She will draw attention to us! Look at her! The halfling is odd enough, but a human woman who looks unlike anything we have seen before?" Dwalin said, gesticulating in both directions to her and Bilbo. Bilbo flushed and Angel cut her eyes at the warrior dwarf.
"We can help her blend in to our company by getting her appropriate garments. It is not uncommon for women to seek out adventure and should she be seen in the company of dwarves that is neither unheard of or uncommon either since dwarf and men have resided alongside each other for many an age, Dwalin… Never judge a book by its cover. The same with Mr. Baggins. He has a lot more to offer than you think. I am sure she is the same." Gandalf said, looking stonily at Thorin. Thorin growled in frustration.
"So be it. But she will not be our priority. She will learn to defend herself or perish… woman of man, who invades a world not her own and digs her nose into others journeys the way a dog shoves their nose in their masters hands looking for morsels." Thorin said pointedly.
"I can't wait to go home… suddenly you're not as awesome as you appeared to be." Angel said and looked away from his poison tongue.