A/N I shouldn't be doing this ... Gah! I still have "Only time will tell to finish", I shouldn't be starting another story. Why, oh why? I got this idea stuck in my head and decided to play with it a bit. I don't know how long this story will be and even if it's going to have a proper ending... plus I'm messing up canon so bad here than most likely the Valars will strike me down *grin* Let me know what you think about it! The idea is somewhat taken from the anime Full Metal Alchemist as is the quote from the first chapter, though there the setting is different and the alchemy has been changed with something else that will be revealed in the next chapters.
Disclaimer: As you very well know none of this is mine. Also, English is not my native language.
Summary: The Took family had always had many secrets. As a child Bilbo had learned all he could about the forbidden arts from Old Took. The First Law of Equivalent Exchange had been drilled into his mind ever since he could talk. However, when faced with no other alternatives, he gives it all to safe those who are dear to his heart.
Chapter I: Equivalent Exchange
"Human kind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain ,something of equal value must be lost. That is Alchemy's first law of equivalent exchange."
~ Full Metal Alchemist
Still... they looked so still and small, lying on those flimsy cots, with pale faces and bloodied bodies that Bilbo had a hard time recognizing the exuberant youths that he had grown so fond of in the broken dwarves before his eyes. Their chests barely rose anymore and it was clear that no matter what happened next, no healer would be able to bring them back from the threshold. They were too far gone and only a miracle would be able to save them from heading to Mandos' Halls.
Next to them lay their uncle, looking just as still... there was no honour and glory in war, Bilbo thought bitterly in that moment, if the only thing it did was rob the life of those who had fought so hard to reclaim their home. Thorin would never get to see the glory of Erebor restored, would never live to truly claim his title of "King under the Mountain." Fili would never follow his uncle on the throne, would not make the line of Durin endure. Kili would never grow a beard, never find love, and never know the meaning of home.
As he stood in front of all three of Durin's heirs, Bilbo felt a steely determination take over him and vowed to aid them even if it meant forsaking his life. He knew the Law of Equivalent Exchange was not to be trifled with and understood that even if he used it, what he had to offer might not even be enough, but Yavanna help him he would try. He would not let them fade after they suffered so much and sacrificed everything.
Using the blood dripping from the gash on his arm, Bilbo drew a series of symbols on the ground. He had learned their meaning as a fauntling under the strict gaze of Old Took and had been reminded again and again:
"To obtain , something of equal value must be lost."
"Our powers cannot bring back those who have passed the threshold, dear boy."
But they were not dead, not yet and he still had a chance, before natural balance interfered. One last change...
"In blood I sign," he chanted and the symbols under his hands started giving away a red light. He had only moments before Gandalf saw the light and understood what he was doing.
"An oath I bind..."
It was the right thing to do, he told himself. It was something his mother would have done for him and now he did for those he cherished as a family. There was no turning back, no changing his mind. His Took blood fuelled him and led him onward.
"Fire, earth, water and air..."
A soft light engulfed the three bodies on the bed and their breathing started easing. The flow of blood was stopped and colour returned to their ashen faces.
"Their burden mine to bear..."
He felt shadows dancing at the corner of his eyes and fatigue seeping into his body. His voice became softer and quieter, the last words of the chant becoming mere whispers that no one else could hear.
"Body, soul and heart, I give them all..."
The last words of the chant were the ones to end the pledge, but he knew only the wind would hear them and carry them forward. As the word left his lips, silence fell in the healing tents and the oath claimed its first toll... a voice.
"And pledge my fall..."
Bilbo Baggins fell unconscious on the hard ground and knew no more. Next to him, on three different cots, the heirs of Durin felt life coursing one more through their veins and stirred...