A/N: Hey, it's me again. So I might've seen Hobbit 2 onetwothree times now, and OMGSMAUG! Smaug you well-spoken, paranoid, lovely thing you. :D
Where was I? Oh yeah! Seriously, thank you SO much for every tiny and huge comment that I have gotten. You guys are amazing! I wanted to write more after seeing the movie so I took things you had mentioned in the comments and, uh, went kinda wild with them? Here's what you wanted:
-Interaction with elves/lotr events
-Interaction with Gandalf
I just kept mindlessly writing on and on and the result of it was... well. This fic. I'll let you be the judges of it, I suppose.
As always, please enjoy!
The last time Smaug truly fell asleep, the dragon has been informed, it slept for 60 some years. And as far as it is concerned, it was a time well spent slumbering away completely surrounded by the weight and shine of its treasure, every last ounce of it still a pleasant hum at the back of Smaug's mind.
Nowadays it doesn't sleep all that much anymore. It retires for the night with Bilbo, dares to close its eyes for five, four, three hours before waking with a start, unable to fall into a continued slumber. Bilbo worries, of course he does, which does not lessen Smaug's level of irritation.
Because it's not the dragon's lack of sleep that is the problem. The problem is that it is absolutely, completely, undeniably bored.
Sleeping has always been a good way to spend time, but since it cannot afford to take the risk of sleeping for too long anymore, it has to stay awake, and there are only so many books Smaug can read to keep itself entertained during its time of lone wakefulness. Bilbo, the stupid, fat, lazy hobbit, Smaug is starting to think, is to be blamed as well. If he had not insisted on adopting the thing that now requires too much care and affection –which Bilbo shouldn't be so ready to share in the first place, not with others- then they could have gone travelling like they used to. Like Smaug had been promised to.
Instead Bilbo chooses to rot in the Shire while taking care of the thing that weeps and shivers and hides behind the older hobbit's feet when Smaug glares at it hard and cruel, the coward. Furthermore, Bilbo doesn't even blink when Smaug storms out of the hobbit hole without sparing its words on what it thinks of this simple life and how it will distance itself from it for a good, long while lest it too becomes a stupid, fat simpleton. Lobelia too gets a glare full of daggers as Smaug passes her on its way out, seething at how she asks if they've had a little domestic and if Smaug's departure means she can have her items back now. And it's not because Smaug will miss any of Lobelia's ridiculous books or worries that it hasn't hidden her jewellery well enough so that there's a risk they might be found, but because Bilbo is too fast to agree with the condition that he is to receive his stuff back in return.
The last hollers after it demanding the dragon doesn't do anything unsavoury while out and about by its lonesome Smaug makes no promises to. And then it is out and free and while Middle-Earth might not be ready for that, Smaug sure as ever is!
And so it travels far and wide, all the way to Rohan because their horses feel so uneasy around the dragon and it never fails to amuse it when the beasts fidget while their riders look on baffled, unable to understand the reason for the odd behaviour. From there it moves on to Minas Tirith and loses itself in the vast libraries buried underneath it, hoarding information until the amount of it makes it fall asleep with ancient dust in its eyes and cobwebs crowning its dark hair.
It's only when someone taps Smaug on the shoulder that it stirs again, blinking sleep off its eyes and caring not how the oils of its human body have latched themselves onto priceless parchments about the history of races and now eat on them like acid.
"Haven't I met you before?" an all-around grey old man asks him as he runs his eyes over Smaug's person, assessing it.
"I would not know. Have you?" Smaug asks in return, rubbing at its face and feeling irritated both for having fallen asleep and being woken up.
"Yes. Yes, I rather think I have," says the man after a long, noisy release of breath. "You are that peculiar man who accompanied Bilbo Baggins after the Battle of the Five Armies. Yes."
At the mention of Bilbo's name Smaug jolts up in its haste, unsettling the dust that had started to set around it as it had slept, the gasp on its lips making the dragon inhale the mixture of fibres, particles and skin cells of curious academics which in turn results in a great, big, fiery sneeze.
"My, my, my," says the man in slight awe as they both stand there staring the papers on the table catch fire and burn merrily. "Peculiar indeed, but hardly a man, are you?"
Then they both seem to remember the worth of the parchments on fire and are quick to combine their efforts to put them out of it, flailing and patting at them hastily. After there is nothing but smoke and lost information left, the old man looks at Smaug in disbelief as if an impossible thought has just occurred to him.
"Bilbo saved your life," he says from memory. "Or did he spare it? Do not tell me you are-"
But Smaug hasn't got the time to converse with old men when it doesn't know for how long it has slept. Instead it hurries out of the library while the last it hears of the grey old man is a stern grunt of, "Hobbits!"
It hurries the best it can and finds no amusement anymore from the way horses refuse to carry it on their backs. Sleep and food fail to matter much on its way back, and Smaug knows what Bilbo will think of that, but it can live with a scolding or two for as long as it's going to get them.
And it matters even less when the dragon makes its way through a mist infested Shire at the wee hours of the morning, hating the moist air that clings onto its hot skin as it marches on with purpose. Having travelled for so long and bearing every mile on its resemblance, Smaug hesitates only half a beat of its heart when a familiar green door comes to view, thinking how Bilbo will not approve the mud clinging onto its person but pushing the door open despite that.
Only, the door doesn't open. Frowning, Smaug tries to pull it even though that is not the way it should open, and it still doesn't. Which is strange. Because Bilbo doesn't lock his doors unless someone unpleasant is standing behind it. Unable to think of anyone unpleasant who'd be standing outside of Bilbo's door at so early in the morning, Smaug sniffs and dismisses the thought altogether, opting to be polite and knock.
"Who is it?" a voice it can't say it recognises asks from the other side of the door, wee and sleepy and slightly cranky sounding.
"Who are you?" Smaug asks with aggression, knocking again even though it had already gained contact to the other side. Patter of feet follow its question along with hushed whispers, after which the door is pulled ajar and two small hobbits peek from the gap of the door.
"It is Sherlock," says Frodo relieved from behind the other small one who still eyes the dragon with untrusting eyes. And for once Smaug is relieved to see how small the hobbit still seems to be.
More or less forcibly it pushes the door open, making the two hobbitlings squeak and hop from out of its way as it traipses its way inside.
"Do not tell me Bilbo has gone and taken more of you wee things in while I was gone?" it asks from the one it is unfamiliar with, a blond and round little thing that has more spunk in his eyes than it's ever seen in Frodo's.
"He did take us in," the thing answers hardly in Bilbo's defence. "Though only temporarily and only as guests."
"Us?" asks Smaug while stopping short upon finding more tiny hobbits sleeping in the parlour. "What are all these?"
"They are my cousins and friends all the way from Buckland! It's like a big slumber party, don't you think?" Frodo informs the dragon with a small, shy smile on his face which turns into embarrassed worry when he sees them start to stir.
With a sigh, Smaug is about to let the matter be, turning back to the original fauntling it was more or less used to dealing with. "Where is Bilbo? I need to talk you all out of his care."
"Beg your pardon, sir," the blond one says, sticking to his polite manners despite being about to speak his mind. "But you weren't here to offer an opinion when the decision was made. What makes you think you have the right to turn us away now?"
A small, nagging alert goes off at the edges of Smaug's mind as it stares down at the two tiny things, asking slowly, "Why was the door locked?"
"Because Mr Bilbo told us to lock it," says the blond one like that much was obvious.
"But why?" Smaug demands with a harsher tone of voice which seems to upset the younglings who have stirred up enough to notice the on goings in the next room.
And when Frodo gives an agitated answer of, "So that we'll be safe," Smaug's patience runs out and it roars, "From what?"
"From bad things," a female voice says from behind it, voice stern when she speaks to Smaug but gentler as she tells the young things of the sweets they might find in the kitchen. When most of them are gone, Lobelia looks at Smaug right in the eye with a frown on her face, resting her hands on her hips. "Look at you, finally showing up."
"What are you doing here?" Smaug asks, as utterly confused as it is displeased. "And where is Bilbo?"
"Someone has to look after these wee things," she huffs. "And not here is where Bilbo is."
"Would you just be more elaborate!?" Smaug roars again, startling both Frodo and the blond one beside him who have stayed to listen to their conversation.
"You sure are concerned for someone who left for three years and with such bravado," she glares, apparently not at all intimidated. And why should she be? In her eyes, Bilbo was the one who remained the biggest obstacle between her and Bag End. "But fine. Bad things are creeping towards us from the northeast, they say. Some in as close as Bree have had strange encounters and we do not want to risk these things occurring in the Shire, so the fauntlings from Buckland were sent here while some of us grown hobbits wandered there."
"Some of us grown hobbits, you say," Smaug snorts even though bad feelings start storming inside it. Looking at Lobelia with sharp eyes, it says, "While some of you stay behind?"
Offended, she glares at the dragon right back. "Not all of us grave for senseless adventures, mind you. But if anything foul ever finds its way here into Hobbiton, I will slay them with my umbrella if I have to!"
"But in the meanwhile you are fine cowering here while sending Bilbo face the foul things for you, is that it?"
"We sent the one most likely to know what they were doing," she says through gritted teeth, the tensions between them rising so high that Frodo and his friend have long since fled the room. "It ain't fair, but it is smart."
Unable to disagree, Smaug only grinds its teeth and curls its hands into tight fists, though none of that do it any good when all it can think about are the troubles Bilbo might be in.
Hobbits in Buckland say the same things about foul creatures while eyeing Smaug a bit suspiciously, and folk in Bree talk about a hobbit who was apparently on his way to Rivendell to counsel with the elves. The tightness in Smaug's chest does not lessen its hold the as it tracks down the path Bilbo has taken, and when the talk of foul turns into actual orcs, the bones of its human body start to crackle as it runs its lungs out of air.
Smaug falls down on the ground mid-sprint, howling loudly as its wings start to take form from out of its back, tearing the clothes it is wearing to shreds. Changing back into what it used to be is not an effort it likes to make because it is painful, but the more it thinks of Bilbo the bigger its body seems to grow.
(Groaning bones and stretching muscles and hardening skin, and it hurts, hurts, hurts-)
And Smaug is not sure if falling down now will prolong it or if gaining the ability to fly like this will hasten its way.
The group of elves gathered on a misty field outside of Rivendell can hardly be called an army. They are on horses, though, as well as well-equipped and skilled for a demanding battle if need be. Elrond rides in the front, filled with dignity and confidence that this too shall pass.
After all, they've dealt with orcs near their borders before, and he's lived for long enough to know that some days are more restless than others.
What he does not expect, however, is to have orcs come running towards their direction, screaming in what he suspects is panic and not stopping upon spotting them, only continuing to run onwards without their weapons drawn. While the elves ready themselves for an easy slaughter, the orcs keep looking behind them like they were chased by fire.
Which turns out to be quite true, when a full grown dragon comes into view from within the thick mist, its chest glowing like lit coal before it exhales a sea of fire upon the foul creatures.
"Death! Fire!" the dragon roars, its heavy landing making the ground shiver as it descends onto the field. The horses seem most unwilling to stay where they are, restlessly protesting against their riders' orders to stay put as the elves stare at the creature.
"Smaug," Elrond whispers in disbelief. "How can this be?"
Slowly, the dragon turns to look at the group of elves, its eyes narrowing dangerously and chest starting to glow again. The weight of its steps makes the land shudder again, and the dragon raises its head higher in the air as it speaks its promise, "You will all burn."
Hastily drawing their bows to shoot arrow after arrow against a foe they can do little else against while being so ill-prepared, the elves prepare for the worst, before suddenly there came a shout of, "No, no, no!"
And then Bilbo Baggins appears from out of thin air, flailing his arms in the air in distress as he runs from behind the group of elves. Elrond lets his attention shift from the fire breathing dragon onto the running hobbit, and Smaug too seems to be more interested in the halfling than it is in anything else. The fires in its chest die down and it lowers its head from the skies as Bilbo runs past Elrond's horse and onwards towards the dragon.
"What did I tell you about unsavoury behaviour!" the hobbit seems to be scolding the dragon who looks very put out, somehow.
"Nothing worthwhile!" it says back angrily. "In fact, you are the one I should burn, Barrel-rider. Then at least I would be free of the headache the thought of whether or not you have already met your miserable end always brings me!"
"And I should impale you on a fishhook for all the trouble you have just caused me, you miserable worm!" Bilbo yells back at it, making the dragon huff and turn its back to the hobbit.
"Just," Bilbo says a bit out of breath, dropping his arms to his sides and wiggling his fingers nervously before turning to look at the elves. "Give us a moment?"
"By all means," is all Elrond manages to say from his wonderment, watching Bilbo run after the dragon that has decided to start walking away even though it is completely capable of flying. Perhaps, Elrond thinks, it does it to annoy Bilbo as much as it does it to give him a chance to catch up.
And when Bilbo turns around to look at him again, both index fingers held in the air and an expression on his face as if he's unsure how to word the oncoming request of, "This whole. Ordeal. Stays between us, right?" Elrond can only give his word, "Of course," no matter how hesitantly it comes out.
"What is up with you?" Bilbo asks while hanging onto the dragon's tail like he could stop the thing by pulling on it hard enough. When that doesn't happen, he mostly just gets dragged along to wherever it is the dragon is off to. "Would you just stop?"
"You are up with me!" Smaug says moodily while sparing him a glace from the corner of its eye. "You, a stupid hobbit who does not know how to stay put when you should. Do you not know the aches I went through while not knowing where you were?"
"Aah, actually, I do." Bilbo says quite sarcastically after having pretended to think about it. "I felt it when you went and disappeared for three years, you lump!" he continues angrily, smacking his hand flat against a red scale that can hardly even feel it, though it makes Smaug stop like it had been slapped much harder.
Hopping off the tail, Bilbo marches to stand next to its huge eye instead, looking at it sternly as he says, "And being worried is what it's called."
"Nonsense," Smaug huffs. "I do not worry."
"You do about me, you nonsensical thing." Bilbo says confidently while placing his hands on Smaug's jaw, feeling the heat of its scales and not the least afraid. When Smaug says nothing to deny it, Bilbo grins up at it.
"I'm actually in the middle of a small little adventure as we speak," he all but whispers a bit mischievously. "If you don't feel like going home quite yet, then maybe we should continue ensuring the safety of the Shire?"
"And why should a lone hobbit try to ensure the safety of anything?" Smaug challenges him.
And while Bilbo knows it's more the worry talking than it is Smaug trying to insult him, he finds himself a bit offended despite everything. "I was just trying to ensure you still had a home to return to," he tries to defend himself, detaching his hands from the dragon's scales and crossing them over his chest in a motion of drawing back a bit further than the dragon was prepared for.
"You are the only thing I want to return to," it says then, seeing how Bilbo instantly drops all his guards and lets out an embarrassed laugh that Smaug will never figure out the purpose of.
"Come on, then," Bilbo slaps it playfully, hurting his hand more than affecting a small tingling feeling for the dragon. "Would you not shrink to a more huggable size?"
"Just this once," Smaug agrees with an exaggerated sigh, and, "Only for you," it says and keeps its word.
Elrond, for his part, also keeps his word. Smaug remains dead to the world, though an exchange of glances between him and Gandalf makes him wonder if perhaps not the whole world is as ignorant as it seems. Bilbo is a strange hobbit indeed, but as the years pass by without incidents involving a dragon of any kind, he learns to let his mind relax a bit more.
And it is years and years and years later that he stumbles upon the dragon while it's not by Bilbo's side, when he finally gets to talk to it alone and perhaps gain some insight as to why any of this ever happened. It's after Frodo has brought the One Ring to Rivendell and has promised to take it to Mordor to be cast into the fires of Mount Doom to be rid of it forever. The hobbits have locked themselves into a room where no one else is welcome at the moment, and Smaug looks quite unhappy to be left out.
It sits on a railing, feet dangling dangerously above a fall that is too high for anyone to survive. It seems to be deep in thought, and to Elrond's amusement, keeps playing with an ashtray made of silver.
"I have heard Bilbo complaining about how you pile up all sorts of uncomfortable things in his bed." Leaning against the same railing, Elrond studies the creature beside him.
"He likes to complain about inane things sometimes," the other responds, no indication in its tone of voice that it would like for the conversation to continue.
But, "And does he complain about Frodo going on a quest, I wonder?" Elrond asks just to keep the words flowing despite the reluctance of his interlocutor.
"I rather think he'd want to go in his stead," the dragon mutters, tossing the small tray it has taken into its possession from hand to hand above the fall.
"Always up for an adventure, even in his old days." Even though he's chuckling himself, the way Smaug flinches at his words enough to let the treasure in its hands fall the great distance does not escape Elrond's notice. Perhaps he should not have let the cruel reminder slip so easily.
"Given that you can still take your original form, would you not help Frodo on his quest?" he keeps asking even though Gandalf, for one, obviously does not agree with this thought.
And it just might be because of Smaug's instant, though hardly surprising, answer of, "No."
"It has got nothing to do with me." Smaug says while staring down to where the tray dropped, if only to avoid having to look at the elf beside it.
"The fate of the ring has everything to do with all of us," Elrond counters, drawing himself to stand upright as he speaks gravely. "If the ring finds its way back to its master, the world as we know it will come to an end. This you know."
"My world is ending whether or not that trinket gets tossed into the pits of doom."
A small, uncomfortable silence settles between them, during which Smaug lifts its legs over the railing and hops down from it in order to walk away.
"You do know that growing old is not a disease?" Meaning well, Elrond says this to the dragon's retreating back despite foreboding how little it will be appreciated.
It earns him a freezing cold look and a smile made of winter when Smaug turns to walk backwards only to keep Elrond in its line of sight when it says a final, "I wonder if you keep to your opinions even after your daughter chooses mortality?"
And then the dragon walks away, leaving Elrond unable to say anything or follow it even if he had wanted to. With a slightly defeated sigh, he tries to keep his worries concerning the choices of his daughter to a minimum while understanding why the dragon would rather spend these fleeting moments with Bilbo who is rapidly losing the battle against time.
Then again, the elf muses, he could have told Smaug about how easy it was for him to envision the dragon standing at the docks of Grey Haven with Bilbo beside it, quite ready for another adventure. Valinor would welcome them, and Bilbo would be at his prime again, and Elrond only wishes he could see the look on Smaug's face when the disease of time gets lifted from its heavy heart and it can sleep properly again without the fear of waking up to a loss.
But for now he leaves it to its grief, mostly because the future is not his to reveal. And only partly out of spite.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I'd love to know what you thought of it and if you feel like requesting a scenario or something the like, don't feel shy to do it. :) I'm slow and lazy but easily inspired.