a/n: Thank you everyone who read. Once again, I refer you to my profile for the wonderful art that goes along with this chapter. Be sure to drop a line and tell me how much you enjoyed!
There was a motherfucking Balrog in Moria.
The dwarves discovered it around year 10 of Ancalagon leaving the Shire. But still, a Balrog in Moria, awakened by the goblins because they couldn't quite swarm to the point where Anclagon couldn't roast them alive.
The dragon had been very pleased with himself, congratulating himself on a job well done, and casually winging through gigantic columns that dwarfed even a full grown dragon. That's when it appeared.
The Balrog erupted out of a fissure like Lobelia from bushes, expressions exactly the same. Dwarves swore later that they had heard the most unseemly shriek from Ancalagon, followed swiftly by a shout of "LOBELIA IS BACK AND SHE SPROUTED FIRE!"
Then there was a silence, before Ancalagon came tearing back through the dwarven tunnels shrieking in terror. Many dwarves later swore that they had never seen a dragon needing brown pants, but as there was a fiery roar and a crack of a fire whip, they had turned around andthought they'd seen-
"That really is Lobelia," Kili muttered, eyes wide as the Balrog began to descend upon them.
Balin didn't hesitate- he picked up the younger dwarf and began to run. "BACK! BACK TO THE GATES! GET OUT! WE MUST GET OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN!"
Dwarves abandoned their places, short, stubby legs booking it back towards the gates. Ancalagon shot ahead of them, shouldering the giant doors open. The still lake, cleared of the giant tentacle monster, rippled in response to the tremors. Ancalagon whirled around as there was a cry-
One of the dwarves had tripped and fallen. He could see Balin skidding to a halt, Kili still thrown over one shoulder, reaching back-
It was Ori. Ori who had patiently read to him from tomes he was too large to read from anymore. Ori who had written the letters he had sent home. Ori who was his treasure, his horde, and he didn't share.
Eighty feet of furious dragon slammed into the Balrog, it's own smoke rising from nostrils and mouth. Ori scrambled up to his feet in that precious second that Ancalagon had bought him, and Balin grabbed the younger by the shirt to pull him towards the door. Other dwarves were pouring out of side tunnels, faces going pasty white at the sight of the Balrog.
Ancalagon roared, practically feeling the thrumming of ancient commands twined within his blood rising to the surface. Something was threatening his horde, and it could not, would not be tolerated. He had given up one horde freely- but he wasn't letting one be taken away.
Dragon and Balrog stared at each other, Ancalagon's wings beating in time to his heartbeat. He oculdn't hear anything beyond a low thrumming, and the command to kill.
The Balrog was hesitating- Ancalagon did not. With a roar, he tackled the balrog, claws scrambling to tear off the head. The claws raked against black shadow, and went through. The fire that made up its throat scorched claws.
Ancalagon felt the giant beast beneath his claws waver, and fall backwards- He shot forward at the last second, barely avoiding the calwed hands that reached for his wings. The dragon attempted to shoot upwards- and slammed into the ceiling. The Balrog roared from its position on the ground, as Ancalagon attempted to hover for a few moments. He just needed long enough to catch his breath-
The fire whip wrapped around his neck, and threw him into the nearest pillars.
Ancalagon groaned as he shook himself, giant bat-like wings aching and punctured. His sharp eyes glanced sideways. The Balrog pulled himself to his feet, the firey whip crackling and shimmering with heat.
A single white flame dripped out of Ancalagon's mouth, as he stared defiantly up at the Balrog. This place was his the dwarves that fought and lived there were his and nothing would drive him out.
"ANCALAGON!" The faint shout caught his ears. His head swiveled, looking to the entrance. The dwarves were waiting there, hands on the doors. "COME ON!"
Good hobbit sense and Wyrm logic warred within. He wouldn't be able to win this fight. Ancalagon knew that- he was still yet young and inexperienced. Fighting things that you ate by the mouthful was hardly the same as battling a monster bigger then you. But his dragon blood cried out and screamed against abandoning the horde-
Far, far away, Kili's face went white with horror as Ancalagon launched himself back at the balrog, roars shaking the very rocks. What did that idiot think he was doing? "ANCALAGON!"
"It's no use." Balin muttered, "Horde-fever is upon him. He might have an unusual horde, but never have I heard a dragon running from it."
"But- he's not just a dragon, he's a hobbit! A Baggins! The Baggins who refused most of his share of treasure despite all that we did and told Uncle Thorin off for being in gold-fever!"
Balin shrugged uncomfortably- it looked as though the Dragon's blood trumped a Baggins. Kili shook his head as he yelled, "ANCALAGON! COME!"
The dragon didn't seem to hear him, twisting and turning to shoot fire at the Balrog. The Balrog stumbled back a few steps, before digging its heals in. Two sets of wings flared outwards, as fire spun and blasted against each other.
"He can't win Kili." Ori fretted softly, eyes wide. "The Balrogs- they are Maiar level spirits! The same level as Gandalf! Gandalf himself would have to be the one to kill the Balrog."
Kili was growing more and more worried- technically he was the leader. He needed to decide now- did they close the doors on their companion? Or, did they leave the doors open and hope that the dragon would come to his senses and flee?
Balin swore. "He's driving the Balrog back!"
Kili looked- and his heart leapt in joy.
The Balrog, slowly, but surely, was being driven back in the direction from whence it had come. Ancalagon, white-hot flames, hotter then any forge, dove after it. The flames still swirled and mingled, the wings still rent the air- but Ancalagon was winning.
Ori abruptly screamed, "ARCHERS! PICK OFF THOSE ORCS AIMING FOR ANCALA!"
Shouts and the sound of dwarves scrambling for weapons abandoned abruptly started. Kili stared at the dragon, at the huge expanse of dragon back-
He remembered how whenever Ancalagon went home, the hobbit babes begged for a ride on their giant cousin, way up high in the air. The parents would tie them on Ancalagon's back, and away the dragon would glide, giving them just a taste of freedom. And when they rode, they had a particular shape cover the weak spot, so none of the children accidentally hurt the dragon…
"Ori- I need leather. Balin- where's the mithril?"
Ancalagon felt the arrows rattle off his scales like rain, and desperately hoped that none hit his weak point- his scales, unlike his predecessor, had a bare spot on the back right. He was usually too high for anyone to reach it, but in these cramped quarters anything could happen. But for now-
His blood sang in his veins, chanting for the destruction of those that had touched his horde. His wings and body ached, throbbed in time of his heartbeats, his entire vision narrowed in on the creature that threatened him. But there was the problem of the goblins and orcs that swarmed around him, and then there was a-
"ANCALAGON! DOWN HERE!"
Ancalagon barely dodged the flaming whip at Kili's cry. He dropped like a stone, landing heavily and gasping for breath. "Wha-What- do you- is some-thing the- *gasp* matter?"
"Always the polite hobbit lad aren't you? Nevermind, I've fashioned some roughshod armor for you."
Silvery metal, attached to leather straps was thrown across his back, as several dwarves circled in around him to attach the metal on. "I can't fly with that-"
"Shush, It's lighter then the hobbits that you carried when it was your birthday! We should've made this for you long ago, but we've been putting it off." Kili said something else, but it was drowned out in a rush of fire as the whip hurtled towards them.
Ancalagon swept the stocky figures beneath his wings like a mother hen. He felt the heat wash over his back, the flames spilling on either side, and the leather straps heat up in response- but where the armor rested, remained surprisingly cool.
"Get out now. And close the doors, before the orcs swarm you. I don't think I'm going to survive this-"
"Don't you dare think like that. You can never think that you're going to die in a fight, or else you will. You will win, and you will say hello to Bilbo again." There was a hearty thud, and the sounds of feet were quickly drowned out by another rush of fire. Ancalagon kept his body wrapped around the idiot dwarves.
There was a shout from the doorway, as Orcs rushed to it, ignoring the dragon and the dwarves underneath. "Go Ancalagon- we'll keep the door open and Orcs dead. You take care of the Balrog."
Easier said then done- Ancalagon dutifully winged off in the direction of the Balrog as the Dwarves rushed the Orcs. Even dwarves had to fall back underneath the heat. Truthfully, Ancalagon was feeling it as well- but he ignored it for now.
Back. He needed to push the Balrog back further and further and further-
The Balrog toppled, wings unable to support its weight as it fell into the abyss. Ancalagon shot after him, wings folding up along his body to chase the Balrog deeper and deeper, further and further-
A blast of heat so hot that even Ancalagon had to stop, washed over him. He stopped on the edge, feeling every ache, every cut, bruise, gash, and muscle scream. Surely not even a Balrog could survive that shadowy pit-
Something in the darkness moved with a slimy, slithering sound. Ancalagon's heart froze in terror. There was another movement, like giant teeth nibbling on the very bones and back of the Earth itself. Nameless dread filled the dragon, as he ignored the Balrog, ignored everything, and shot up. Faster. FASTERfasterfasterfasterfast erfaster runrunrunrunrunrun.
The dragon spotted the light up above, and forced exhausted wings to beat faster. An eye, the size of the dragon, blinked.
That dark thing that had no name slithered back into the darkness to await the Destruction of the World, before the Renewing.
Bilbo received word that Ancalagon had been grievously injured in Moria shortly before his 130th birthday, and Frodo's 33rd. It wasn't much time- and it didn't change anything really. Bilbo was already planning on leaving. Frodo needed to grow into Bag-End, and didn't need to look after his insane uncle while he was at it. And Bilbo was itching for one last adventure, as his mind grew thin, like too little butter across bread.
Gandalf promised to be there with his famous fireworks. And since Bilbo had no intention of going to Erebor, he would go to Rivendell and then to Moria. There he would visit his first son.
The party went without a hitch, and somehow Bilbo managed to leave the ring behind. It called to him, but he ignored it. Mostly. There were times he could feel an ache in his bones about it.
Gandalf helped him get to Rivendell, and the Elves there helped him get to Moria. His son, his oldest, the one he had worried about the most, was curled up atop of his 'horde' asleep. The dwarves admitted that it was surprising that Ancalagon could even fly seeming how there were more holes then wing at that point. And even through his scales, the dragon had been partially cooked alive. Scorch marks from the whip would forever mar his scales.
Ancalagon was sleeping when Bilbo entered. Several dwarves were hovering around him, holding long bits of string as they carefully measured his weakspot. Bilbo smiled at the sight. Then frowned.
"YOU LET MY SON FIGHT A BALROG WITHOUT ARMOR?!"
It took a bit for everyone to calm Bilbo down, which Ancalagon slept through. His wings were masses of bandage-blankets slathered with enough healing salve to get a company of dwarves through a year. Bilbo could see scorch marks, making a permanent indent in scales.
"Oh my dear child." Bilbo murmured. That woke Ancalagon up, the dragons eyes slowly cracking open. A large smile split both son and father's face, as the Dragon's large head leaned sideways to lightly brush against the hobbits hand.
"Dad. I fought a balrog."
"I don't think its dead yet." Ancalagon admitted softly. "But it fell in so deep, I couldn't- there was something there dad. Something horrible. Something- something really, really bad. Even worse then a Balrog."
"The nameless ones, who gnaw on the bones of the Earth. It was good that you turned back then. You would not have been able to win- I doubt Gandalf would've been able to win against those." Bilbo said softly, climbing atop the thick fleece blankets to nestle against his Son's side.
Ancalagon sighed as his head lowered to be able to watch his father. "I just want to go home."
"Once you're healed, you certainly may."
Ancalagon hesitated, "I don't think that's possible. I've changed. I think- I think I'm more Wyrm then Hobbit now. And only Hobbits belong in the Shire."
"I think you will find that the ones whose opinions really matter won't mind."
"No father, when I fought the Balrog- I wasn't a hobbit. I was- I was just a wyrm. Something that didn't stop, didn't think- just fought for its horde."
A dark shadow crossed Bilbo's face. "Ancalagon…"
They didn't discuss the matter any further, even as it nagged and niggled at their minds.
It was a bittersweet return to the Shire. It was fifteen years later- Frodo had already left. Frodo had already left, been stabbed, gone through Moria, where Pippen had managed to reawaken the weakened Balrog leading to Gandalf's death. Ancalagon, in retaliation, had hunted down several of the Nazguls, eating them, and melting their magic rings in his belly flames. It caused an upset stomach, almost grounding him as the magic sparked and fought their destruction.
But the fight with the Balrog had reawakened something within him- he could hear a siren call from Mordor, calling him to come home. It wasn't home though, and Anclagon needed to reassure himself of that.
So he went back home to the Shire.
His heart ached at the thought of Frodo, his little brother, going off without him- but the Elf's words in Lotherien, Lady Galadriel's words, they bugged at him. The Shire burning- the Shire being attacked. It would happen. Whether or not Frodo managed to destroy the ring, it would happen.
The least Ancalagon could do while his little brother went to Mordor was to protect their home.
A small contingent of dwarves went with him, ready to protect the Shire. Kili mentioned that his Uncle may or may not be coming- giving Rivendell a wide berth. The Human Rangers that had been originally protecting the Shire had since taken off to aid Gondor.
Ancalagon didn't actually go into the Shire- he remained within earshot, listening for trouble, but avoiding the Hobbits. He was marked from his failed battle, and it showed. Kili had rolled his eyes at the reasoning, but remained remarkably silent.
So the silent months trickled by, until-
"YOU STOP THIS INSTANT!" Lobelia Sackville-Baggins voice broke the sweet silence. Her voice was higher pitched then normal, more urgent. "YOU PUT THOSE CHILDREN DOWN NOW!"
"Or what little Hobbit? Gonna whack us with your umbrella?" The cruel, mocking words made Ancalagon's blood boil. His wings snapped out, bowling a few of the dwarves over as he took to the sky.
The humans had no idea what happened. One minute they were threatening to gut a hobbit child (and they would've too) as a frail old hobbit woman threatened them despite not being to their waist- and the next, a dragon dripping flames landed directly behind the lady.
The dragon snarled, "Let the child go. AND LEAVE!"
The old lady didn't even bat an eye at the dragon, only darting forward to catch the child. The men took a few steps back- as a contingent of dwarves with a royal banner proclaiming that King Thorin was among them rounded the corner.
Thorin knew his homeland was under siege. Mordor's forces had arisen against them, fighting even now to try to get to the treasure of Erebor. He had left Gloin behind to spearhead those forces against the Orcs and Goblins. The rest- they came with him to protect the Shire, Bilbo's homeland. Bilbo was no longer there- but a debt was a debt.
The mithril shirt gifted to Bilbo, and passed down to his second son was a partial repayment- but saving a home needed to be repaid in kind. And if Thorin could save Bilbo's home, then perhaps he could finally ease his heart and stop Dis from frowning at him in disapproval.
Still, he wasn't expecting the dragon to interrupt the men, when Thorin had been planning on doing so. Nor was he expecting Kili to squeak in dread. "It's the Sackville-Baggins! Crap, that old hag is twice as scary then even mother!"
A woman who scared his nephews? (He heard that even Dwalin quite approved of her fiery spirit which told him more then he wanted to know). Either way, this woman was a strong one. Thorin's back straightened as she ran her eyes across them- and found them wanting.
With a loud sniff, she turned her back to them, to face the dragon meekly cowering in response. "Ancalagon." Her tone could've turned Brandy River to ice in midsummer. The wyrm visibly quailed at her tone.
She took a deep breath, arms tightening around the young hobbit at her side. "Ancalagon Baggins."
The Wyrm blinked. Slowly he looked at her. "Yes?"
"Stand up straight Baggins, don't slouch so." The wyrm's back instantly straightened, and his body went taunt. Lobelia Sackville-Baggins took a deep breath, and said without minding the fact that everyone could hear her, "I withdraw."
"I- Wait, what?"
"I withdraw my claim on Bag-End." Lobelia said proudly, even as Thorin's mind went back to what his dwarves had reported. The Sackville-Baggins woman had been aiming for the hole for years. Why would she- "Thank you for saving my Grandson. I'm eternally in your debt."
She said it calmly, as if she wasn't relinquishing years of wasted effort.
Ancalagon stammered, and bowed his head meekly. "It was nothing Miss."
"Yes, it was something. If it weren't for you, then I'd be the last. And I won't let any house get in-between me and my Grandson. You may have Bag-End, you and your family Mister Baggins."
She inclined her head to the wyrm. The closest she would come to a bow, the greatest show of respect he'd seen out of her, even when he had originally met her on the road and she had laughed at his King status.
Ancalagon shook his head. "I'm glad to of been able to save his life."
Baggins and Sackville-Baggins smilled at each other, as the young Hobbit clung to his grandmother in confusion. The woman tutted as she pulled her grandson to his feet, brushing sand off his shoulders and back. "We'll have to draw a bath up for you."
"Aye Grandma. Goodbye Mister Baggins." The two hobbits went peacefully along their ways. Thorin stared hard after her.
A soft voice pipped up at his side, "We can give you her address if you want, Uncle."
He still found himself outside of a slightly rougher door then Bilbo's own as night slowly fell. Inside, he could hear her moving inside, before he at least raised his fist to knock.
No one knew what exactly was said. Thorin and Lobelia refused to talk about it. Kili and Fili both only knew that something she had said something that struck a nerve when Thorin braided their hair, murmuring ancient songs of life and renewal beneath his breath, an odd look in his eyes. Like he was only just realizing something.
(Fili swore to his brother after that Thorin had said at one point, "I could have buried you because of my lust for treasure" but neither said a word to any other.)
It was said in Rivendell that Bilbo had never been more surprised then when the dwarf came riding up on a pony to apologize publicly.
There are no tales of a Dragon. No heroic tales, to be told in man, dwarf and elven tongue. There is however a song sung by a little people with big hairy feet of a guardian and protector. Of Ancalagon Baggins, one of the most unusual hobbits, nearly as batty as Old Took who had married a fairy.