Chapter 1– The Waiting Room


"No Hay Problema" Pink Martini

Danika blinked. She was sitting in a wide waiting room—taupe walls, plush red chairs, and a water cooler with paper cups in the corner of the room, but for the life of her, she couldn't remember how she got there. Furthermore, she couldn't remember what she'd just been doing…

"Where am I?" She asked aloud. It was only after she spoke that she realized the chairs were being occupied with characters she recognized from the movie, The Hobbit.

"This is the waiting room, lass," said Balin from his chair.

"The waiting room? For what?" She said with a quizzical brow.

"The fan fictions." He shrugged. "Each of us are called upon to go through the door when it's our turn to occupy a fiction. Each fills whatever role he's been given."

Danika stifled a laugh and sat beside the older dwarf. "I'm assuming yours is just like in the movie; the one who gives explanatory dialogue and backstory."

Balin shrugged again. "In one fiction, I had an alleged affair with Thorin's sister, Dis, but for the most part, you're right. Still," he glanced around at the other waiting dwarves, "being an older dwarf means I'm safe from the fan-girls."

Danika peered around Balin, nodding at Thorin. "What's he so upset about?"

"Probably another smut story with Bilbo Baggins." Balin said, reaching for a magazine.

"They do that?" Danika asked incredulously, her disgust showing plainly.

"It's called slash, I think." He said numbly, licking his finger and pulling at the corner of the magazine page. "They bear the brunt of it, but there's still poor Dwalin and Ori."

Now Danika's eyes scanned the room for Dwalin. The bulky warrior was sipping from a paper cup beside the water cooler while Bombur laughed at the bubbling noises that came from it. Meanwhile, Ori was as far away from Dwalin as he could manage, weeping in the arms of Dori.

Before she could ask another question, though, Danika was startled by the abrupt opening of the waiting room door when Kili appeared through it and plopped tiredly into a chair. This was when Danika realized Fili was sitting nowhere near him, though the blonde dwarf peered at his brother from across the room.

"How was it?" Fili teased.

Without looking up from the magazine he was holding, Kili extended his middle finger at his brother and blurted out a profanity.

"Another Mary-Sue." The blonde guffawed.

"I didn't realize those two hated each other so much." Danika whispered out of the corner of her lips at Balin.

"You can't expect them to be brotherly and loving ALL the time," Balin snickered. "That's pretty much all those two ever do: slash, family comfort—and they're always making Fili out to be this whiny and protective figure—Mary Sue's, and whump."

"Wait, what's whump again?" Danika asked through squinting eyes, trying not to stare at the axe in Bifur's head.

"That's the, uh," Balin scratched his chin just beneath his beard, "the hurt one. The one where they beat you senseless to evoke sympathy."

"I can't believe how many people like that," Danika sneered. Turning her head to face Kili, she called out, "There's one fan who thinks you're adorable WITHOUT bruises—I like you just the way you are."

Just as before, without looking up from the magazine, Kili held up his middle finger toward her. She stuck her tongue out in reply, crossing her arms and sinking back into the chair.

"Don't be too hard on him, he gets the most slash."

In red letters above the door, Kili's name appeared. "Again?" The archer grumbled, slapping down the magazine on the table. Heaving an exasperated sigh, he stood and looked around the room with his hands on his hips. "Alright, which loser is coming with me this time?"

Thranduil's name suddenly appeared just above Kili's.

"Oh, Mahal, no…" Kili's hands dropped to his sides. "No, no, no, no…"

"Wait, Kili!" Fili suddenly shouted, rising to his feet and putting his hands on Kili's shoulders. "I can't let you do this! Let me protect you and go in your place!"

Kili stared into his brother's face. "Wait, really? You'd do that for me?"

Fili broke into laughter, slapping his knees. "No! I wouldn't." Holding his sides in laughter, he dropped to Kili's previous seat. "It doesn't work like that anyway, so you're just gonna have to suck it up."

Kili took a few tentative steps toward the door before Fili added, "Literally."

"You'll get yours soon enough," Kili snarled before disappearing through the door.

"I can't believe what goes on here." Danika murmured. "I think I'm gonna be sick."

Balin leaned over to hand her a trash can, but she waved it off, feeling the sensation pass.

"At least they get some action with the lasses," Bofur grumbled from his seat. "I only ever get Bilbo pairings."

"Aw," Danika scooted closer to him. "There's gotta be a nice Original Character out there waiting for you."

"Not likely," he said, putting on a pretend goofy smile while he mimicked himself. "Hi, I'm the funny miner with the hat, I only ever have stupid things to say while I encourage other characters in their adventures."

"That's not very fair." Danika said, putting an arm around his shoulders. "I'll write one for you, how about that? A nice brunette lass who laughs at everything you say and understands that you have a deeper side?"

Bofur nodded. "That'd be nice. Could she look like Beyonce?"

"Why doesn't anyone ever write anything for me?" Dori complained as Ori slunk off to the water cooler, splashing water all over himself like he was trying to take a bath.

Danika peered at the disgruntled Dori. "What's your name again?"

"At least you don't have to say things Out Of Character," Gandalf muttered. "And at least you don't have to resist the urge to correct grammatical errors!"

"Grammatical errors!" They all grumbled together.

Danika shook her head. "Some of them are just starting out, give them a break!"

"Oh, I'll give 'em a break." Dwalin growled, smacking his fist into his hand.

Danika paused for a moment. "Wait, so why am I here, again?"

Balin shook his head. "Not sure, lass. Maybe you're an OC."

"Better not be mine," Bilbo whined, rubbing his hands against his face. Realizing that he'd said it out loud, he apologized. "I'm just so tired from all this Bagginshield…"

"Maybe you're mine," Tauriel smiled from her seat.

"Er," Danika bit back the urge to gag, "I'm flattered, but I'm not really into that…"

The door swung open and out came an injured Kili, cuts and bruises marring his face, and a very haughty-looking Thranduil. "Until next time, slave…" The elf-king simpered.

Fili's eyebrows rose. "Bondage, eh?"

Kili crossed the room to sit beside Danika, raising his middle finger at Fili again.

"Poor thing," Danika said, reaching for a tissue and dabbing it at Kili's bleeding cheek.

"Thanks," Kili murmured, clenching his hands to keep them from trembling.

Everyone's head turned as Kili's name appeared above it.

"I JUST got back!" Kili shouted, spit flying from his lips. "I can't be expected to walk through the door like this!"

But his name flashed brighter, as though insisting that this is EXACTLY what he was expected to do. And just above Kili's name appeared Danika's.

"Are you kidding me?" Danika shrieked, dropping the tissue. She spared Kili a disgusted glance. "I don't even like you all that much."

"Gee, thanks." Kili said as he stood, touching his still-bleeding lip.

"That's not what I meant." She said with a roll of her eyes. "I'm a Thorin girl."

Thorin snickered from his seat, reclining against his chair with his hands clasped behind his head. "Sure. Whatever you want, sweetheart." But the way he said it was more twisted and devious than affectionate.

Danika sighed, clenching her eyes shut. "Fine. So, how do we do this?"

Kili looked at her like she'd grown a second head. "Um, you WALK through the DOOR."

"Well, yeah, I get that." She said, following after Kili as he came closer to the door. "But are we supposed to hold hands as we go through, or what?"

"We don't know if you're a love interest, yet." Kili growled. "So let's not rush to any conclusions. Just walk through the door." He groaned.

"Okay," she said with a preparatory sigh. "Here goes nothing!"