Fate be Changed
Reborn as a Hobbit, Willowyn Proudfoot isn't about to let a doughy potato like Bilbo Baggins get himself killed on Gandalf's hairbrained idea of an adventure. She's taking his place. For better or worse.
Canon-divergance (in kind of a BIG way in places), fem!Hobbit!Harry, allusions to History and Culture not covered in the films (I did research for this motherfucker and I'm going to damn well show it off), mentioned slash.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN – Victory long Awaited
War leaves it's trail
in moonlight so pale,
it's shadows they flow
in rivers, in rivers
so put on my mask
I'll go where they ask
so I might once again see the
Roses of May
(Rose of May – Lyrics written and owned by Erutan/katethegreat19)
It did not take long to find the stone, it had been within spitting distance of them the whole time they spoke, lying innocently atop the golden coins as if placed there by the hands of the Gods. As if by Fate herself.
Willowyn knelt down beside it and gently scooped it into her hand.
"They did say it was a jewel glowing with inner light," she whispered softly, her fingers gently grazing the edges of it. It was smooth like glass, and oddly warm, the light lazily circling within the stone as if a galaxy, a world, a universe, were burning within it. Like a star, she realised, staring at it in shock. Truly this stone could not be...
Smaug watched with unreadable eyes, crouching, half his body in shadow, kneading gold beneath his claws as he fixed his gaze upon her. She took a deep breath and climbed to her feet, she turned to him, "I believe I have found the stone. Could you please escort me from your Halls, Great Lord? I do not wish for there to be any doubt of dishonesty, and... I do not know the way out," she begged, blushing in shame, hugging the stone ever tighter to her chest.
Golden eyes slitted for a heartbeat before he nodded, "You are wise for one so small. I shall accompany you from these Halls, Wind Rider, we shall discuss payment under the light of the Moon," he rumbled, turning and slithering up the piles of gold, towards her original way in.
"As You desire, O Great Dragon Lord," she demurred, trotting along after him as fast as her tiny legs could carry her, scrambling and stumbling upon the gold.
"You Contractor, did he have a name, may I ask?" the dragon rumbled as he stopped to allow her to catch up to him, seemingly taking malicious amusement in her struggles.
"H-he called himself Oakenshield. Though I do not think that is his name, Great Dragon Lord," she admitted. That should be a safe name to use, it was not a lie, and it was one that Smaug, having been shut in here for the last sixty years without contact will not have heard she didn't think.
"Oakenshield," he rumbled slowly, "How decidedly elvish a name," he mocked darkly as he started walking once again.
"As You say, Great Dragon Lord," Willow agreed earnestly chasing after him.
It wasn't until she saw a familiar golden shield that she realised... they were not heading towards the entrance of Erebor.
Alarm shot through her, but she bit her tongue all the same.
She tasted fresh, night air, billowing down through the tunnels and paled as the Dragon chuckled throatily.
"Did you think I wouldn't guess?" he demanded lowly.
Suddenly, in a violent motion that flung her off her feet and startled a scream from her lips just by the backlash of air, he whipped around and destroyed one of the nearest tower supports , bringing it down with an almighty crash that flung up waves of gold that washed over her. She struggled and heaved under it for it was a great weight, that much metal falling upon her.
He brought his face down low and leered at her, "I have decided upon my payment, Wind Rider," he growled.
She blanched as she saw the Dwarves, her stupid Dwarves, boiling out of the passageway, weapons lifted, terror etched upon their faces as they realised what they had just walked into. Seeing her trapped beneath the Dragon, half buried under a landslide of gold.
"I will take all that is your Oakenshield's! His life! This mountain! The Arkenstone! And Y O U!" he roared, a claw coming down around her, raking her up, gold and all, into his palm.
Or trying to.
She slithered out between his fingers with a cry and scrambled away. She did not get far before a tail crashed into the ground in front of her, blocking the path. She could hear the Dwarves shouting and scrambling down to reach her, as if they could actually protect her from Smaug.
"Now, now, do not run away now, Wind Rider. Our Trade is not complete!" Smaug rumbled with malicious amusement as he herded her back towards him. "The Arkenstone, for that pretty red gem. Amongst other things. So which will it be? You, or them?" he demanded, his voice reverberating through her down to the bones once again.
She shook her head, "Both are unacceptable!" she declared as forcefully as she could before turning and running once again. She grabbed a silver tray from the treasure pile and jumped, her mind flashing back to those afternoons in winter, those rare times it snowed, and how she and Bilbo would go sledding on Belladonna Baggins' best tea-trays.
It wasn't much different.
She swept out of the dragon's reach and rolled off the tray when she finally reached the Dwarves, sprinting past them into the narrower reaches of the hall, Smaug roaring in frustration behind them.
"YOU WILL BURN!"
The girl was shaking violently, her arms wrapped desperately around herself as she took great gulping breaths as they hid within one of the inner-chambers, once some Dwarrow's family Hall, now bereft and rotting. Bifur had her wrapped up securely in his arms and was crooning lowly in Khuzdul, stroking her hair as she tried to calm herself down. Balin was crouched in front of her, his earthen eyes wide with concern, his aged hands white knuckled and pressed against her knees.
She took a deep breath, "Well. I s-suppose now would be an extremely pointless m-moment to tell you that I succeeded," she admitted shakily.
"What?" Thorin breathed, turning from where he had been glaring down the passageway for any hint of the Dragon possibly sending fire to them like the funnel of a Blacksmith's forge. "You found the Arkenstone?"
She nodded and patted her chest where she had hidden it (in that place that all females possessed for hiding things).
"Don't worry about that right now, Lassie," Balin told her firmly, patting her knees. "We'll deal with that when we get out of here."
"Balin, Dwalin, Bifur, Fili, Dori, Gloin, Mistress Proudfoot's safety is now our number-one concern," Thorin rumbled aggressively from the doorway, staring down at her with unreadable eyes, hand gripping the hilt of his blade in a white knuckled hold. "Mistress Proudfoot, even if all of us are to fall this day, you will continue on to the Iron Hills in the East. Give the Arkenstone to Dain. My cousin. If none of us survive, it is he who will rule over Erebor. Do you understand?" he instructed, looming over her.
She shook her head, "Yes. But you had best survive Thorin Oakenshield, you and all of this Company, because I will do no such thing. I will only hand this stone over to you or your nephews. So cease speaking of 'what ifs' and focus on getting out of here alive," she snapped swallowing down her fears and climbing to her feet, nodding sharply as Nori handed her sword over, hiding a grin behind his beard.
Thorin looked as if he had swallowed something exceptionally sour and didn't know how to feel about it. But he nodded silently all the same, and gave the Dwarves around her a Look. Undoubtedly to make sure they did as he told them to and protected her above all others. Her, or the stone, she didn't know. She needed to talk to Gandalf about the thing, because she had a bad feeling that it wasn't just some paltry gem, but something a great deal... more.
The room trembled and the sound of Smaug's fury echoed back to them, the hall behind them taking on an ominous glow.
"We should move on. Quickly," Dwalin murmured softly as he stood beside the Hobbit, shifting uneasily in his leathers. Thorin nodded and lead the group onwards, following dusty memories of a young Dwarrowling and reverent stories of a half-mad father drowning in grief. All that could be heard were the distant sounds of the Dragon's rage, and the steady pattering thuds of leather boots upon the stone floors. They moved as silently as they could, Willow having to tuck the hem of her dress into her trousers as she kept tripping on it, allowing the excess fabric to fold over and hang at her knees, Thorin glancing back at her in paranoia every few paces or so before turning his attention forward once more.
They came to a stop, nerves taut as they peered out into the Great Hall, Thorin twisting his head this way and that.
"We've given him the slip," Dori whispered, half hopeful, half elated.
"No, he's too cunning for that," Dwalin refused in a low rumble.
"Where to now? I can't hear him raging anymore, it might be an idea to double back and try to sneak our way out through the secret door," Willow suggested softly.
Thorin shook his head, "He will be expecting that. We make for the Western Guard House, there may be a way out there," he whispered.
Balin shook his head in dismay, "Too high. There's no chance that way."
Thorin grimaced, "It's our only chance. We have to try," he retorted quietly before gesturing the group to follow. Practically tip-toeing, they slipped out of the archway and began to edge along the bridge to the far wall, hearts in their throats, their palms sweating on the handles of their weapons.
They froze as a coin jingled upon the floor, dropping down in front of Kili who's eyes practically bugged out as he looked up in horror. The rest of the group going painfully still, their blood filled with ice as the Dragon they had been trying to avoid clambered over the stonework above them. Inanely, Willow could only think that the stone masons of Erebor were truly master's of their craft if they could create such bridges and walk-ways able to hold up a dragon's weight.
With large eyes, Thorin silently gestured them onwards, the group following after as they finally left the Great Hall and into the lesser passages. Ori looked positively grey with terror under his rusty red beard. They sprinted through the dark corridors but to Willow, the air did not feel any fresher as they ran, nor did it feel cooler.
"Stay close," Thorin called back to them in an undertone as they turned a corner and down a small flight of stairs...
Into a dark room, filled with corpses.
Tiny corpses, and mummies wearing long dresses adorned with jewels. Women and children.
"That's it, then," Dwalin breathed roughly, staring down at their kin, those poor 'Dams and Dwarrowlings, their grey dried faces stretched in bare toothed snarls and screams of pain and fear. What must their last moments have been like? Running into this room only to find the entrance lost to rock and stone, caved in. "There's no way out."
Silence followed as the group filled the small stone room, their eyes affixed upon the faces of their lost people. Willow knelt beside a child, her hair dusty and curtained with cobwebs, the colour, like cinnamon and caramel, still visible even now, so many years later. Her tiny face, confused and lax, as if the truth of her own death had not yet sunk in. She reached out to close the lass's eyes, her hand hovering above her face as she realised that they were gone, rotted away by time, and all that remained were empty black holes, filled with dust, and memory.
"The last of our kin," Balin crackled, his voice rough and breaking with grief, "They must have come here, hoping... beyond hope." She touched the youngling's cheek, felt it cold and dry under her hand, like leather and bone all at once. So young. Too young. She could feel her voice still echoing, sweet like the chime of bells. "We could try to reach the Mines. We might last a few days," Balin told them hopelessly, his voice filled with resignation, but also something else. At least they would die within these Halls, so very few of them did not. At least they would die within their home.
She yanked her hand back suddenly, "The Mines..." she whispered, there was something, a thought, an idea, something, something that Harry knew. Something about Mines, something Uncle Vernon had said. Something important! "Mines, mines, mines..." she muttered rapidly to herself as she climbed to her feet, unaware of the Dwarves staring at her in confusion as she snapped her fingers and scowled down at the ground, muttering and blinking. "Mines... Mining... The Mines!" she exclaimed, realisation hitting her hard.
"Lassie?" Balin asked worriedly, wondering if the hopelessness of their situation had addled her brains.
She lunged at them, "Bofur!" she demanded, seizing him by the shoulders, "You were a Miner, yes?"
"A-aye, b-before I was a Toymaker, aye," he admitted, glancing to the others in a little uncertainty.
"Mining Charges, can you make them?" she demanded harshly, a strange, almost manic light in her green eyes.
"Mining Charges?" Bofur echoed, "What's that?"
"Ahhhh! They're a bit like Gandalf's fireworks but with less fire and more force, they're used to break rocks that drills- ah, pickaxes can't!" she explained quickly, watching as realisation filled Bofur's face.
"Aye, yes I know how t'make 'em. Why?" he asked.
"How strong?" she asked, not answering.
"Strong enough to bring down the gates of Moria. Lassie, what's this about?"
She let him go, a ferocious light filling her expression, "I have an idea."
"This is either the most genius plan ever, or the craziest," Dwalin growled as they peered around the corner of the Great Hall.
"Amazing how those two traits often describe the same thing," Willow quipped from behind him, sandwiched between Thorin and the tattooed Dwarf, Bofur and Balin behind them.
"How'd you even know about the flash-flame, Willow?" Bofur asked in an undertone.
She snorted, "I am well read," she stated bluntly. She did not act like it most of the time but when she was younger she had been thrown off having two sets of memories and experiences and beliefs and so had read everything she could get her little hands on to try and make sense of herself, or this strange new world, of the strange world she left behind. When she met Halbarad she requested books from the Elves and with his help read them and learned even more of the world. But nothing of her old one. She was very well read, but preferred to fight instead of read, she liked to move her body instead of curl up in front of the fire with a book and a pipe like Bilbo. As for Harry. Uncle Vernon had often ranted at great length about how his drills were superior to mining charges and that those 'goddamn yanks' just liked explosions too much to have a goddamn piece of sense to know a good deal when it was slapping them in the face.
"Shh, quiet," Thorin rumbled, a hand pressing between her shoulderblades warningly. The group went silent as they heard Gloin, Dori, Nori, and Bombur shouting to Smaug, distracting him, drawing him away. "Now, go, go!" the Dwarf King hissed and Dwalin took off at a dead sprint, abandoning stealth and quietness in favour of speed, Willow sprinting after him with the other three males behind her.
The plan was to get to the forges ahead of everyone else, get there, Balin and Bofur make the strongest Mining Charges they physically could, wrap them in cloth and get to high-ground. The rest would join them as soon as possible, drawing the dragon along with them. It was true that dragons were fire-proof, and that trying to throw explosives into his mouth while he was breathing fire was stupid. Hence why they needed to get him monologuing, talking instead of breathing fire. All dragons were remarkably serpentine in shape and manner, serpents with wings. Serpents, as she knew from childhood whimsy and investigation, who could not vomit. The only way to get a snake to vomit was to drown it first, only then would it regurgitate what it has eaten, they had an automatic swallowing reflex for things that struck the back of their throats.
Throw the explosives into Smaug's mouth, he would then swallow them. Hopefully. The second he tried to light up a flame, the heat would set it off, and suddenly he's got a massive concussive explosion in the pit of his stomach. A stomach that is decidedly less than fireproof.
They chose the forge for his deathbed as it was hardy, made of strong iron and the most reinforced place within the mountain, it would withstand the deaththrows of a dragon, and what's more, offer them enough shelter to protect themselves from whatever might happen when that explosion went off. Willow tried to explain the idea of a gun to the Dwarves, but they didn't get it. She did not want to see if the jewels and coins embedded under Smaug's scales would be shot out from under them with the force of the blast as if fired from said gun.
It was a long sprint to the forges, neither Balin nor Bofur were handling it well, almost bent double with exertion by the time they reached the heavy gates. Gates about as thick as the door of Bag-End was wide and tall.
"This way Lassie!" Balin wheezed, leading both her and Bofur to one of the back rooms, Dwalin remaining behind at the forges to await the others as Thorin followed behind them.
The room was dusty and filled with jars and bowls but it was serviceable.
Bofur nodded in excitement, "Aye, everything's here! Everything I'll need!" he exclaimed excitedly as he began to snatch jars from the shelves, Willow hastily taking them from him and holding them as he grabbed more and more, loading her and Thorin up with them. Balin directing them to the table before they were joined by the miner who swept as much dust and webbing aside as he could before getting to work, Willow using her dress to clean some of the bowls before he used them as powders and granules were added.
She turned to grab more and stopped, staring at a large stone box upon the floor, a nasty idea whispering faintly in her mind.
She grabbed it and hauled it onto the table, making the males stop and look at her in confusion, wondering why she was bringing them a box of six-inch long iron nails.
"Room for a little more?" she asked grimly, a nasty smile on her lips. If they were going to kill this monster, she wanted to be certain he was going to die.
Bofur laughed a little weakly, "Remind me not to get on yer bad side," he said a little faintly as Thorin took one of the nails in hand with an unsettling light in his eyes.
"Thorin?!" Fili's voice shouted to them.
"In here!" the Dwarf turned, dropping the nail as his sister's sons ran in, escorted by Oin. Parts of him that he didn't know were wound tight relaxed at seeing them both unharmed, if a little dusty, and greatly out of breath. He dragged Kili into a tight embrace before reaching out to clasp Fili's arm, letting them both know with the strength of his grip how worried he had been and how much he cared.
"Done," Bofur declared, dragging their attention back to the table where Willow was emptying the box of nails into a sack. Bofur stood in front of a bowl of black and grey powder, Balin at his side holding a delicate glass bottle filled with an odd, semi viscous transparent liquid.
Balin shook his head, watching as Bofur poured the granules into a separate sack, and then gently set the bottle of see-through liquid inside of it, "I have to say Lassie, you have a frightening mind. I don't think any soul has ever thought to do anything like this before," he admitted, watching as Bofur wrapped the explosive package carefully and then set it into the sack of nails the Hobbit had set out for him. She glanced at him as she began to place more nails atop it before looking down.
"I'm good at using what's available in unexpected ways," she admitted as she lifted the bomb carefully, testing the weight and shaking her head. "Kili, you have better strength than me and a fair eye. Think you can do it?" she asked, handing the bomb to him, she didn't have the physical strength to throw it as accurately as she would have liked.
He hummed thoughtfully, hefting it in one hand and then in both before nodding seriously, "I'd need to be high enough, and at a good angle, but yeah. I think I could manage it."
The room suddenly shook and they could hear the sound of the forges light and the other shouting and swearing.
"Looks like we're out of time," Willow muttered, "Get to your positions! Balin, show us where to go!"
"This way Lassie!" the elderly Dwarf exclaimed as the room shook once again, leading them out through a side door to a large flight of stairs. They staggered every now and again as everything shook and Willow gave distant thought to the people of Lake Town, the people who must have been beside themselves with terror believing the dragon would be coming for them soon.
'Not if I can help it,' she swore viciously in her head skidding to a stop. "Kili, keep going higher! Find a good spot and stay out of sight, wait until I get Smaug's attention on me! And remember, mid-word when his chest is dark!" she commanded as Balin lead him onward.
She turned and squawked, jumping a little when she very nearly ran into Fili. He caught her arm, his gaze serious and full of worry, "Are you sure about this? He could burn you alive," he warned her.
"I don't think he will. I have the Arkenstone for one. Besides, he wants to keep me, for whatever reason. I'm probably a lot safer than any of you. Go. Make sure Kili doesn't get the bright idea to jump into his mouth in order to make sure that package gets to where it's supposed to go," she told him, giving him a push towards the stairs. She grunted as she was suddenly crushed into a tight hug by the blond Dwarf.
"We're lucky to have known you, Lady Proudfoot. We never would have made it this far without you," he told her gruffly before pulling away, "Stay safe," he ordered before running off after his younger brother.
She scoffed quietly, "I don't take orders from you, Princeling," she whispered before turning to the archway, the intricate stone carvings glowing with light from the forge. She could feel the air moving, cold at her back, heat at her front. A wind rushing around her as she stood between the two, half in darkness, half in light.
She waited a moment, to give the others time to get to a safe position, and then stepped into the light, onto the balcony that overlooked the forges.
The gates were broken and dented, the Dragon having finally burst through, the forges were lit, their cauldron's filled with bubbling liquid gold. Smaug rampaging and thrashing throughout the hard stone and thick iron of the chamber. Her Dwarves running hither and yon like panicked mice before a hungry barn cat.
She took a breath, squaring her shoulders, "SMAAAUG!" she screamed, causing the beast to turn and affix her with those beautiful golden eyes, pupils widening and then narrowing at the sight of her. "I THOUGHT YOU BETTER THAN THIS! BETTER THAN THE FILTHY GRUBBING ORCS AND GOBLINS WHO TAKE WITHOUT APPRECIATION THE TREASURES THEY HORDE!" she screamed as the dragon slithered towards her. She was just high enough that he had to sit upright, on his hind legs to reach her level.
The dragon laughed as he lifted himself to her level.
"Kiliiiii!" she heard Thorin bellowing from down below as the dragon's laugh actually blew her off her feet and down onto her back.
She saw the sack in slow motion, it sailed through the air and down the dragon's throat. She saw the instant it made contact with the fleshy back of his mouth in the moment the dragon's eyes snapped open wide and the muscles of his throat automatically contracted. He reared back with a bellow of anger and confusion.
"WHAT DID YOU GIVE MEEE?!" he roared furiously, his chest lighting up.
"TAKE COVER!" Willow screamed as she flung herself backwards, tumbling down the airs as she heard the muffled explosion – an explosion that was drowned out by the most awful screech she had ever heard.
She grunted, hitting the bottom of the stairs hard and rolling onto her stomach as the mountain around her shuddered and shook with the dragon's painfilled thrashing, his death-shriek tearing at her ears and filling the air.
She clamped her hands over her ears and moaned in pain, feeling it vibrate down to her bones, fill her being. So much pain and hate and rage.
And then it went quiet.
Slowly, hesitantly, she pulled her hands from her ears, and climbed to her feet. She couldn't hear anything. Not the voices of her Dwarves, nor the sound of Smaug's breath. Her ears were ringing so hard that she couldn't even hear the forges as she slowly climbed up the stairs and onto the balcony. Edging forward until she looked out upon the Forge.
And the Dragon below. His eyes dull, his mouth open and slack, tongue splayed upon the stone, bloody foam upon his jaws, his stomach and chest, distended, swollen and bloated, torn open at his left breast, his heart and lungs dangling from the tear, nails embedded in the now still and silently steaming organs.
Smaug was dead.
Yes. I killed Smaug with a motherfucking Nail-bomb Mining Charge. This chapter has been written for weeks now. You have no idea how much I have WANTED to put this up!
If you're wondering why his chest was torn open, Willow never saw the missing scale from where the black arrow found its mark, but it was a gap in the armour and there was a lot of pressure inside Smaug for that explosion, the force tore the tiny hole open and then expelled his heart and lungs outside of said tear. A decidedly NOT nice way to go.
Note about Smaug and Willow.
For Tolkein's dragons, they like Gold. LOVE it. But you know what they like more? Taking it.
The act of dispossessing someone of their belongings, Gold, Kingdom, Life, or Family, is of great pleasure to a Dragon. So for Smaug to want to keep Willow in the way that he did had nothing to do with her beyond the fact that she was an interesting novelty, and EVERYTHING to do with the simple fact that due to the contract, her life technically belonged to Thorin. Ergo, so did she in Smaug's mind. Stealing her from him, keeping the Arkenstone, AND his bargaining chip, even luring him into the Mountain just to see his face and then steal his life, was what he wanted, what he planned.
Figured I should explain that a little clearer as it won't be coming up in the story.
Also, updates will be on pause for a little bit while I work to get my buffer back (I only have two chapters left waiting in the wings). Shouldn't take too long.