Title: To Bell a Dragon
Fandom: The Hobbit
Warnings: Canon Typical
Prompt: “Bilbo Baggins accidentally kills Smaug and has to figure out how to go tell the dwarrow who are waiting for him to come back with that stupid stone.”
Summary: Thorin had sent Bilbo in to steal the Arkenstone. He wasn’t expecting him to bell the dragon.
Thorin was staring over the edge of the cliff when the mountain shook. There was a roar that echoed out of the hidden passage and then silence. “What was that?”
“That my lad was a dragon,” Balin muttered as they both moved to stare down the gullet of the mountain. Between one step and the next, there was the sound of something metallic hitting the ground and the resultant reverberation echoed through the whole mountain.
“That was the great bell from the entry hall,” Thorin said. He shared a look with Balin. “Why would our Burglar be there?”
“Smaug was no small wyrm,” Balin reminded him. “And the entry hall was one of the biggest spaces in the mountain. We used it to host the market after all.”
“True,” Thorin allowed. “Do you think the old lizard moved the gold there?”
“Mayhap,” Balin muttered. He placed a hand against the inside edge of the passage. “My stone sense is blunted, I can’t tell what’s going on with the Mountain.”
Thorin and Bofur both placed their hands on the stone inside the mountain as well. “She’s badly wounded and has been for years,” Bofur muttered as he placed his forehead above his hand. “And something major just happened. Something that released a canker. She can start healing now, but it’s going to take time and help.”
“Agreed,” Thorin confirmed. He could barely remember what the mountain had felt like when he had been a child. It had been warm and content from what he remembered, but that wasn’t what he was getting now. It felt like Erebor had a deep wound that was only now starting to bleed cleanly. “As strange as it is, whatever that sound was, Erebor is better for it.”
“That’s disturbing,” Dwalin observed. “Can Erebor tell you what’s been happening with our Burglar?”
“No, we can’t get that. All we get it a general sense of how the Mountain is doing,” Bofur explained. “If I was looking for things to mine, I would have a lot to report. Because Erebor is rich in everything but Mithril.”
“She never had any,” Thorin admitted. “She had everything else we ever needed, but the only source for Mithril in this age is Khazad-dûm. And no one is going there because Durin’s Bane is camped in there like a cancer.”
“Let’s not go there then,” Bofur said. “It’s got to feel like death.”
“It really does,” Balin told him. “Azanulbizar was a nightmare for many reasons.”
“Wonderful. Don’t go there,” Bofur snapped. “Something is coming up the passage.”
Thorin tilted his head as he tried to listen with his ears and heard nothing. Reaching out his stone sense, he pushed down the hallway and nodded. “I can feel them. It can’t be Smaug. Too light.”
“Agreed. It has to be Bilbo,” Bofur said as he stepped back.
“Right,” Thorin let his hand drop and stepped back from the door. He didn’t want to seem like he was impatient with the halfling.
“You lot are damn lucky I like you,” Bilbo bitched as he made his way up the hallway several minutes later.
“We are indeed, Master Burglar,” Balin confirmed. He was obviously planning on saying more but Bilbo stepped into what light there was and everyone saw his condition.
None of them were as neat and tidy as they had been in the hobbits little hole, but after getting resupplied at Laketown, they had at least been able to clean up. Bilbo was a mess. He was covered in dirt, cobwebs, and something…sticky. It looked like blood.
“Lad, what did you get into there?” Dwalin asked, horrified.
“Smaug,” Bilbo said. He seemed dazed.
“You got into Smaug?” Thorin asked. “Why? We asked you to quietly steal the Arkenstone, not engage the wyrm.”
“And I got the damn stone,” Bilbo confirmed. He reached into the blouse of his robe and pulled out a glowing stone out. He tossed it at Thorin and stared at him. “Is that what you wanted?”
“Yes,” Thorin ran his thumb over the smooth surface of the Arkenstone. It looked just like he remembered and he took a deep breath before tucking it next to his heart. “What happened? We heard the noise, but couldn’t figure out the meaning of them.”
“Ha!” Bilbo stared at them and then turned to Bombur. “Do you have any cram?”
“Yes, you have to be hungry,” Bombur exclaimed as he pulled a small loaf of cram out of his pack before handing it over.
Bilbo tore into the loaf and started eating it. He got half the loaf down himself before he took a deep breath and looked over at the dwarrow staring at him. “Are you going to stare at me while I eat?”
“Yes,” Thorin admitted. “At least until you tell us what the hell happened in the mountain.”
“You had to have been the most impatient child,” Bilbo said with a sigh before sliding down the wall by the entry. “So, I made it down to where you said the treasury was. It’s empty. There’s nothing there but a lot of really pretty green stone. Speaking of which; Erebor is amazing on the inside and I completely understand why you wanted to come back here.”
Thorin tried not to growl in frustration at the way Bilbo’s attention was wandering. He needed to remember that the hobbit wasn’t one of his men and for all that he had signed a contract, he rarely did what he was told. “I’m glad to hear that,” Thorin said and waved a hand at the depths of the hallway. “What happened next?”
“I went wandering around,” Bilbo admitted. “Smaug left a lot of damage in there, and frankly, he shat in what looks like a number of mines. The smell is horrendous, and I don’t want to think about the mess that will need to be cleaned up. Sorry.”
He looked at all of them and then shrugged. “I tried to figure out where the front of Erebor was because I remember what you said about how Smaug entered the mountain. As I got closer to the front gates, I started seeing coins. Then there were mounds of coins and hills, and eventually what seemed like mountains. Seriously, your grandfather was apparently dedicated to filling his treasury to a massive degree because there’s a lot of gold down there.”
Nori handed him a waterskin as his voice got rough. Bilbo took a deep swig from the liquid inside and sighed in pleasure. “Thank you, Nori. Anyway. Smaug was curled up under the mountains of coins. I didn’t know dragons could snore.”
“Is that what the rumbling sound was as you went in?” Ori asked as he jotted down Bilbo’s words.
“Yeah, it was,” Bilbo confirmed. “I found the Arkenstone immediately. Smaug apparently liked it as much as your grandfather because he had it on a staircase all by itself. When I picked it up, Smaug woke up and we chatted. He’s wasn’t thrilled with someone coming in to basically rob him.”
“Rob him? Hello, Erebor was our home, not his!” Dwalin snapped.
“I know that Dwalin,” Bilbo soothed. “And I made certain to tell Smaug exactly that. He mentioned that the gold had called to him and he came to claim it because Thrór had piled it all together. I wouldn’t know. At any point, I managed to talk to the damn wyrm for a while until I was able to duck under some of the stonework. Smaug wasn’t thrilled with that and tried to roast me.”
“Given that you aren’t burnt lad, I assume you managed to get away from that,” Balin observed dryly.
“You assume right,” Bilbo told him. “But my hair got singed. I’ll need to trim that later. Anyway. Smaug rammed his head into what looks like a balcony at full speed after trying to set me on fire. By the way, nothing’s burning inside either. After Smaug hit the balcony, this giant bell fell from the ceiling and caught the dragon right behind his skull. As near as I can tell, it broke his neck as it cut through the scales. I got sprayed with some of the blood as Smaug died.”
“So, the dragon died due to crazy luck and a bell that fell at just the right time?” Thorin asked.
“Pretty much,” Bilbo agreed before tucking into the other half of his cram loaf. He waved a hand at them as he chewed. “I really couldn’t figure out how it happened, but there it is.”
“This I have to see,” Thorin said before he headed into the mountain.
He knew where Bilbo had been and the route was easily remembered. As he walked the hallways of his home, he was assaulted with memories. Everywhere he looked, he could see the ghosts of what had been. But the reality of one hundred and seventy years of neglect was easy to see as well.
“So much damage,” Balin murmured as they walked through the devastation.
“Yes,” Thorin agreed. He glanced over to where the treasury should have been. There was nothing there. “Bilbo was right. The wyrm stripped the treasury bare.”
“If it’s all in the front halls, getting anything in or out will be difficult,” Balin offered.
“But it will be useful as a buffer between us and the outside world,” Dwalin said quietly.
“If Smaug is in the front hall, getting rid of the carcass will be easier too,” Thorin said. “Well, it will be easier to get it outside. Disposing of the corpse will be an issue.”
“There are no trees,” Balin reminded them. “Burning him will be difficult.”
“We can use the burning stone,” Thorin reminded him. “As I recall, there had been a delivery of some two days before Smaug came and we stored it by the Great Forges.”
“Good idea,” Dwalin agreed. “We have coins on the floor.”
Thorin looked at the area ahead of them and nodded. There were several coins scattered on the floor and they followed the trail. The scattered coins soon formed drifts and hills of treasure and he looked over at his friends. Bilbo had been utterly right so far. They weren’t far from the main hall now and the three of them slowed down. Peeking around the corner they took in the large room.
There were mountains of coins, piled all over the room and all three of them sighed at the sight. “That’s a hell of a mess,” Balin muttered as he stared at the coins.
“We’ll need wheelbarrows to move all of this,” Dwalin agreed. “How the hell did the wyrm move it?”
“I don’t know,” Thorin admitted. “Nor do I care. Because I don’t feel the need to nestle down into it. And before Bilbo came out, all I wanted was to go in and take it away from Smaug.”
“That’s good to know,” Bilbo chimed in.
Thorin glanced over his shoulder and winced. “We really didn’t doubt you.”
“Eh,” Bilbo waved that off. “If I had been the one hearing that tale, I would doubt me. It’s an insane tale.”
“That it is, lad,” Balin admitted. “Where is the corpse?”
Bilbo started walking on the gold towards one corner of the room. Thorin could see the mound of red dragon scale and tried not to wince. The last time he had seen Smaug was when the dragon had driven him out of Erebor. He had to remember that he was dead and couldn’t hurt him.
Listening closely, all he could hear was the sound of their footsteps clinking on the coins. There was no sound of anything breathing, no body noises at all. As they struggled to the top of the mound of coins they were climbing the true size of the dragon became clear. Smaug was huge and his body stretched the length of the hall. At the end of the hall, right before where the great doors to the outside was the biggest bell in the mountain buried a quarter of the way through the neck of the dragon.
His memories had painted the bell as being huge and the reality had lived up to the memory. It was indeed massive. “Now that’s a sight I never thought I would see,” Thorin muttered.
“What?” Bilbo asked as he stepped up next to Thorin.
“That someone managed to bell the dragon,” Thorin snarked with a smile.
The four of them were quiet for several seconds before they started to laugh. The sound was faintly hysterical, but Thorin wasn’t going to complain. Bilbo had managed to deliver both the Arkenstone and Erebor without any of them having to lift a finger.
“Thank you, Bilbo,” Thorin said as he leaned forward to whisper in the Hobbits ear.
From the rush of red that crawled up the Hobbit’s neck, he was embarrassed. “You’re welcome, Thorin.”