Hello! This is my first attempt to write in English so forgive me if there are any mistakes!
It's basically a reincarnation story. Fem!Bilbo is fem!John, Smaug is Sherlock, and Thorin is Sebastian Moran.
You can find pictures on my Tumblr (alienawyvernfanfiction dot tumblr dot com) and a video on my Youtube channel(watch?v=xJjjmzPdS2s&feature=youtube_gdata_player).
The story is also posted on AO3.
Cover art is mine.
The soulmate!AU belongs to Resacon1990 who allowed me to use it (thanks to you :)
Check this amazing story, I've been looking for you.
Johanna Helen Watson is born with a brown mark on her wrist.
So, this is the burglar, it says, and even before she's old enough to learn how to read, she wonders what it means.
She doesn't understand, at first, why all the adults, even the teachers at the beginning if the schoolyear, think or say that she is a poor little girl, why they all look at her with pity, as if she was some weird abnormality. She doesn't need to be a genius to realize it has something to do with her peculiar mark.
Everyone around her, her parents, her sister Harriet, her classmates, absolutely averyone, have bright red marks. Grandma has a black one, and when little Johanna asks her mother why, she answers that it's because Grandpa is dead. Many old persons have black marks, she discovers. There are also two boys, in another class, who share everything, including matching green marks. Her uncle has a green one too.
Hers is written in a dirty brown that looks like mud.
She doesn't like looking at it. The other children don't like it either.
You are a freak, they say, and she bends her head and hides it under her sleeve, and she wonders why she can't be like the others and have a normal mark. She doesn't make friends, and pretends she doesn't care.
She is eight when she finally understands, when the teacher, at school, explains the marks and their meaning, and her whole life is shattered in the blink of an eye.
The mark is the only way to recognize the other half of one's soul.
The words are the firsts one is supposed to hear when they meet them.
And the colour determines what kind of relationship they are supposed to share once they've find them.
It sounds simple and marvelous, to have somewhere in the world a soulmate waiting for you.
But it's not.
Red words are for a romantic bond.
Green means a platonic one, and black means that the bond is ended because of death.
Purple is a familial bond and blue is an unrequited one.
In the classroom, one of the girls starts crying, because she has a yellow mark, and it means that the words that are shining like gold on her wrist are the last she will ever hear. For the first time in her life, Johanna is glad of her own brown mark.
Pink means a sensual bond only.
Grey, and the teacher's lips twitch when she says it, is for sexual only.
It doesn't feel that bad, but all the children snort, and two of them turn bright red.
And a brown one? Johanna asks shyly, and all the heads turn toward her and it makes her feel terribly small and alone under their unforgiving gaze, because they look at her the way they would look at a monkey in a zoo. The only thing they see is the freak, whose mark is so unnatural. She feels trapped.
The teacher looks at her with pity, again, and clears her throat, Her voice is soft and apologetic when she answers, and eight-years old Johanna doesn't cry, because that's what they are all waiting for, holding their breath, eyeing her like a prey. They will laugh, and she doesn't want to hear their laughter. Doesn't want to give them what they want.
Yet, she is just a little girl, and when the teacher, knowingly or not, metaphorically takes her little heart in her hand and crushes it in thousands of pieces with her implacable words, she wants nothing more than to scream and sob and run far, far away from them and their taunting gazes. But she doesn't, and her eyes stay dry as the explaination seems to burn like poison in her wrist.
A brown mark means a severed bond.
Okay, she says with a weak, yet firm voice.
She doesn't need to hear more.
But it's a lie and she knows it. She is not okay. She never will be.
Belladona Baggins, daughter of the very respectable Bungo Baggins of Bag End and of the not-so-respectable Belladona Took, is born with a bright scarlet mark.
Maybe it is a bit too bright, like if someone has carved it with a knife in her flesh, a wound that never healed, and some may take it as a bad omen, but she's quite satisfied with it. After all, it means that she indeed has a soulmate, in a romantic way, and Lobelia Bracegirdle can say whatever she wants, that she is a disgrace on the family, that she sould behave like a proper lady instead of running out into the fields, wearing boy's clothes and her hair short, and coming back muddy, dirt-streaked and scratched, it won't change the fact that she knows she has someone who is the other half of herself and that she just has to find them.
So, this is the Burglar, the mark says, and her parents fear that this is a proof of irrespectability or future misbehaving, but Belladona, or Bilbo, because it's shorter and suits her, even if she sometime acts like a tomboy, never steals anything. She doesn't even try to steal Farmer Maggot's mushrooms, like every fauntling in the Shire does, or perhaps just once, not because it is not proper, or because of his dogs, but because she fears being caught, and she fears Farmer Maggot says the words, and she really, really doesn't want Farmer Maggot to be her soulmate.
She doesn't steal, she doesn't become a burglar, but all her childhood is spent in running and running, meeting imaginary elves and slaying imaginary foes with a wooden sword, and going on adventures that never go further than Bree, and she dreams of the day she'll be old enough to go on a real one with her famous mother, because she is young and joyful and innocent.
She also knows everyone in the Shire, every boy, every girl, and she knows that none of them is her soulmate. The day she goes with her mother, the day she crosses the borders of her green and bright country, this day will be the one she meets her other half. She knows it. So she waits and waits and when she thinks this day has finally come, the Fell Winter happens and everything changes.
Bungo is out in the snow for wood and everything is silent in the smial and the red mark on her mother's wrist suddenly turns black and she screams, and Bilbo doesn't understand, not until the rangers bring back what is left of her father. Not much.
Her mother doesn't last long after that. She fades slowly, rots alive and turns to a shadowy ghost who can't even recognize her own daughter in the end.
Bilbo is left alone in a cold, empty smial full of memories and everytime she looks at her red mark, she fears to see that it has suddenly turned black. She prays the Green Lady and swears that when she finally meets her soulmate, she won't lose him, or her, or whatever they are. She swears, with all her young, innocent heart.
Many, many years later, when she is old and bitter and desillusioned and broken-hearted, she will laugh at her own foolishness, but for now, she doesn't know it and her mark is still bright red and seems to shine with happiness on her wrist, like a promise signed in blood.
One isn't usually born with a brown mark. It happens when one of the soulmates decides to remove his mark or end the bond, in case of unrequited feelings or polyamorous relationship because one doesn't want to choose, but no one is ever born like this.
It is not normal, and that's the burden Johanna has to carry. Even if she is only Johanna on her identity cards. She goes by John, actually, because if Harriet decides to call herself Harry, why wouldn't she do the same?
Johanna was a bullied little girl who was forced to move in another school, and in this new school no one knows she has a brown mark amd hopefully no one will know. John is not a bullied little girl. John is not a freak. John is strong, and hardened, and she still doesn't cry. John is not frightened.
Fourteen-year-old John H. Watson is angry.
She is angry at her parents, because they obviously knew their daughter had a severed bond, because all grown-ups know these sort of things, and never told her, she is angry because instead of simply talking with her when she learned about the meaning of her mark, they sent her to a therapist, and she is angry because when nineteen years old Harry meets her soulmate, she is forced to leave the house because their parents can't accept the fact that their perfect, beautiful, clever eldest daughter is gay.
She is angry at Harry for leaving her in a home that doesn't feel like home anymore, with parents that can't even look at her in the eyes without feeling guilty.
She is not, however, angry at Clara. Harry's soulmate is smart, funny, and acts as if John was normal. That's enough for her.
She is angry at her therapists because they always repeat the same things, that she's going be alright, that all hope is not lost, that she can still find someone, someone who will be as broken as her. She hates these people who think they know better, and only make it worse. She doesn't want another broken being to share her life with. She wants a soulmate, like everyone else, and she knows she will never have and that makes her even more angry.
She is angry at her soulmate because for an unknown reason, they decided they didn't wanted her, before she even existed. She wonders if one can hate someone they never met, never knew. She doesn't know if she can. Anger is easier, but she can't keeps it for herself, and one day she knows she will snap and she wonders how much she can take before it happens.
And it happens.
One day a boy from her previous school comes and laughs at her and calls her freak and immediately the whole school is aware of her brown mark, and that John H. Watson will never have a soulmate, because said soulmate actually never wanted her.
And she sees red and punches him in the face. Again. And again, until she feels his bones break under her fists, and he retaliates, but she doesn't feel the pain. Just the anger.
She ends up with a black eye, a bleeding nose and a few twisted fingers, and the satisfaction to know that she will have to move in another school, again, and that the boy is missing three teeth and that his nose is broken and will likely never return to its original shape, but the anger is still here.
In the car that drives her home, her parents are silent.
Her mother sighs.
We know it's hard, Johanna, she says. We know it's hard.
No, you don't, John thinks. You know nothing.
Because on both of her parents' wrist is a bright, taunting red mark.
And the therapists come again. She does their exercises, and speaks when they asks her to, and nothing changes, because despite what they say, that she can't possibly miss or even love someone she never met, the only thing she wants is to tell them to fuck off, because she knows him.
She dreams of him, since since she knows he has given up on her.
She dreams of fire and stars and moon and thundering of iron, of green hills and mighty mountains and dark, bottomless caverns, of endless hoards of gold and blood-streaked snow, of battle cries and great ships disappearing in the evening's sun, and in her dreams he is always here.
She can never remember his face when she wakes up. There was a time she would always try to draw him, and never could. But she knows he has blue eyes.
And she curses him because despite her shit-colored mark, he still torments her.
She wonders if he has got a brown mark too.
She asks him once, in dream.
He never answers.
Fourteen years old is the beginning of the end of all hopes, because around her, everyone start to find their soulmates, and she is left alone. She decides to stop trying to do as if she was like them.
John H. Watson cuts her sandy blond hair short, wears dirty jeans and ugly sweaters, and signs up in a rugby club. She is a tomboy and decides she likes it. Her mother disapprove but doesn't say anything, because the therapists are whispering in her ear, about brown marks and broken hearts, oblivious parents and slashed wrists.
Apparently, rugby is good for her personal developpement, as is clarinet, because she can't always choose her activities because they annoy her parents.
John hears the whispers and if she thinks of killing herself, she doesn't tell anyone, nor does she takes this step. She wants to live, even for a little while.
Fourteen-year-old John wonders what she did to deserve this.
She asks her soulmate in her dreams.
He vanishes without a word.
When Bilbo Baggins finally meets her soulmate, she doesn't know what to think. She only knows something is wrong.
She is fifty, and that's old enough in the Shire to be considered a spinster. Most of the Hobbits are married and have chi
ldren in the few years following their coming of age, and yet Bilbo Baggins, Mad Baggins, as they have started to call her when they think she isn't listening, is still living alone in her much too big smial.
It's not proper and she knows it, but that's the only unproper thing she allows herself to do, alongside with wearing trousers and smoking Longbottom Leaf. But she isn't running anymore, and the farthest she's been in twenty years is Hobbiton's market and it only happens twice a week.
The suitors have gradually stopped knocking to her door, mostly because one of them, certainly the most annoying, has had an unpleasant encounter with a frying pan. She prefers it like this. Alone, but unbothered, and that's priceless. None of them was her bloody soulmate, and they were as interested in her money as Lobelia, now Sackville-Baggins, in her silverware.
She lives alone, with her books and her memories, and that's enough, even if sometimes, her childish dreams take her and makes her wonder if she must start breaking into the houses and stealing things and hopefully getting caught to finally meet her other half, before she is old and grey and unable to do it.
You've given up, says the nasty little voice in her head.
She doesn't bother arguing.
She settles in her boring and safe life in which nothing ever happens, and she is happy with it.
That's why the whole business with Gandalf and twelve scary, dirty, noisy dwarves invading her house at night, empying her pantry, and shamelessly defiling the whole smial is completely and utterly unexpected.
Dwalin, Balin, Fili, Kili, Ori, Nori, Dori, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Gloin, Oin.
What a mess.
She starts asking herself if a dwarvish skull is thick enough to resist a powerful blow of her faithful frying pan without exploding when the fifth knock on her green door is heard.
He's here, says Gandalf with a dramatic tone, and she wonders how many times she can strike him before he retaliates and disembowls her with her staff. She doesn't, because she is a proper Hobbit maid and proper Hobbit maids don't beat their guests. Instead, she opens her door.
Bilbo Baggins, allow me to introduce the leader of our Company, Thorin Oakenshield.
The thirteenth Dwarf, not another one, she mutters under her teeths, is tall, broad-shouldered, short bearded, with a long mane of silver-streaked black hair and striking blue eyes.
He terrifies her.
So, this is the Burglar, he says in a low rumble that makes her shivering, barely looking at her, and her whole, perfect little world falls apart.
John signs up in the Army after her medicine studies. Johanna H. Watson, Fiftth Northumberland Fusiliers. Why the army? Well, at least, if her whole existence is pointless, she can give it a goal. And it didn't take her long to realize that she needs, craves action like nothing else. She doesn't know why.
She doesn't feel young anymore.
Her studies have been chaotic.
Clara and Harry's marriage has been chaotic.
Everything has been chaotic.
Harry drinks, and Clara is heroic and copes as best as she can. But John knows it won't be forever. John tries to drink too, but alcohol doesn't ease the pain, it just dulls it, then makes it worst, and she stops as quick as she started.
She tries to get laid and it's better. At least, she feels wanted, desired, and it feels good. She knows she doesn't look bad. Blond and green-eyed and curvy, yet strong. It doesn't matter if people think she is a slut. It doesn't matter she closes her eyes when she is in bed with someone, because even of she wants to hurt her soulmate, her nameless, faceless, cursed soulmate, to show him that there are people who still want her, she still feels like betraying him.
It doesn't matter.
Three-Continent Watson, they call her in the Army. It doesn't matter. It's still better than being called a freak. At least, that's what she keeps telling herself. She wears a strap around her wrist and when people asks her about it, she tells them her soulmate is dead, and that she can't bear looking at it.
Her studies have been brilliant.
She becomes a British Army Doctor.
Her military carrier is brilliant as well.
It takes her ten hears to become Captain John Watson of the Northumberland Fusiliers. And during ten years she learns how to save a life and she learns how to take one.
She throws up the first time she kills a man and sees his head exploding. It never happens again.
She dreams of battles at night, but instead of her gun and the sunburnt landscapes of Afghanistan and the human beings she shoots every day, she has a sword and it's snowing and she's killing faceless monsters and the snow is red and she's searching for him and she can't find him and there's so much blood and she knows it's too late.
Is that why? she screams, her voice drowning in the sound of iron against iron, crushed bones and anguished cries. Is that why? Is that because I couldn't save you?
He still never answers.
And she wakes up and kills and save lives and kills again and again and again and it's never enough. The smell of blood is always in her nostrils and her hands are red, red, red, and in the end she even stops trying to wash them. There's only adrenalin in her veins, the only thing she lives for, that and the Queen and Great Britain, and she can never get enough of it. The last thrill she has yet to experience is death, and it takes its time to come. She fights and she forgets about her broken bond and her missing soulmate, her empty life and the hole in her chest that seems to get bigger every day.
She fights until she can't fight anymore, and it doesn't matter, and it still doesn't matter when she feels the bullets hitting her before hearing the thunder of the rifle, and God, it hurts, but it still doesn't matter.
She's falling and falling and falling and the taste of her own blood and of the Afghan dirt on her lips feels strangely exhilarating.
In ten years, she hasn't had the time to realize how tired she is. Until now. Maybe it's time to sleep, and maybe this time she won't dream.
At last, she thinks, and she lets the darkness swallow her.
to be continued...
The meaning of the marks:
Green - Platonic
Red - Romantic
Black - Ended because of death
Purple - Family
Blue - Unrequited
Yellow - Soulmates words are the last ones you ever hear
Pink - Sensual only
Grey - Sexual only
Brown - Severed
None - No bond, or possibly bonded to a person with a vocal disability
Next chapter: Sherlock, season 1.