Title: The World Has Gone to Shite
Fandom: The Hobbit, LotR
Warnings: Canon Typical
“The world has gone to shite,” Eru bitched. He glared at Aulë as he laughed. “It has.”
“Not my fault,” Aulë said with a shrug.
Yavanna looked up from her aggressive weeding of a flowerbed and smiled. “Nor mine.”
“I wouldn’t say that. It was one of your Hobbits who kept the Ring for five-hundred years,” Eru snapped. “And then two more of them kept it for decades. And they still didn’t want to destroy it.”
“But another helped make sure it was destroyed,” Yavanna reminded. She kept stabbing the weeds in front of her and then pulling them out to pile them by her knee. “So, there.”
“Are you three trying to decide who’s fault it is that the world went to hell?” another voice cut in.
Eru turned to look at the garden gate and found one of his elves leaning against the structure. “Why are you here?”
“I passed over into the Undying Lands, milord. And as I entered them with my One, I was separated from him so he could go to his own people’s afterlife. I wanted to know how I could go be with him,” the elf explained. His gaze moved over the other two beings in the garden and huffed slightly. “And while Yavanna’s people had some responsibility, Aulë’s didn’t. Most of the blame can be laid at your feet, milord.”
“What?” Eru asked.
“Ha!” Aulë barked out a laugh. “Yon elvish princeling has teeth.”
“I do indeed. Will you hear my petition, sir?” the elf asked.
“I’ve already been petitioned,” Aulë said, voice wry. “There are a number of dwarrow who want out of my Halls so they can be with their Ones. I’ve been contemplating what we can do.”
“And since one of those pairs has a Hobbit in it, I’m involved as well,” Yavanna cut in. She sat back on her heels and gazed up at the elf. “Why do you say that it’s Eru’s fault?”
“Milady,” the elf said with a bow. He side-eyed Eru and shrugged. “Melkor was created by Eru, and in turn so was Sauron and they went bad. Eru was the one who banished all the evil that was created by his children to Middle Earth for us to take care of. And frankly, since it was him who made the elves and Elrond who let Isildur walk off with the damn Ring instead of kicking him into the volcano when he had the chance, it’s all ultimately his fault.”
Aulë stared at him for several seconds before he burst into laughter. “Oh, lad. You didn’t learn that sass at your father’s knee, now did you?”
“Ha, no,” the elf admitted. “I learned it from my One. I’d like him back, please.”
“Your One seems full of piss and vinegar, then,” Aulë observed with a large amount of cheer.
Eru cleared his throat and stared at the elf before him. Tall, with long blond hair, piercing blue eyes and with the lithe muscles of a runner, he looked like a great many of his kinsmen. An elf. Nothing too special even if he was very fair of face. Looking closer, Eru could see the shadowy edges of corruption and grief that stained his soul. Corruption from Sauron and the Ring and grief from the loss of his One. “You’re Legolas.”
“I am,” Legolas confirmed. “And I’m here. My One is not. I would like that fixed. Please.”
“We’re not actually here to shuffle people around in their afterlife, you know,” Eru sniped.
“I noticed. You’re here to bitch about how the world went to hell,” Legolas said. He tilted his head in question. “How’s that working for you?”
“You know, I don’t know if I like it when my elves get snarky,” Eru observed. He stared at Legolas before turning to look at Aulë. “And your dwarrow are a bad influence.”
“I’m pretty sure it’s the Hobbits,” Legolas said with a shrug. “Bilbo had a lot of time to think things over and he spared very little in his book. Frodo was even worse. Samwise let me read them when I visited him in the Shire. It was enlightening.”
Yavanna giggled slightly. “They told me about the book and what they wrote when they both got here. I think I agree with them.”
“Well, I can’t turn back time to when Isildur didn’t throw the damn Ring into the fires. Too much time has passed,” Eru said. He sounded petulant to his own ears.
“And when Smeagol got it?” Yavanna asked.
Eru stared up at the unchanging sky over their heads and thought things through. The ripples he could feel moving out from that idea were enough to give him hives. “Nope. Can’t do that either.”
“I’m guessing that keeping Smaug out of Erebor is out?” Aulë guessed.
The ripples that idea produced made his hair stir like it wanted to stand straight up. “That’s a hard no.”
“What about when Bilbo picked it up?” Legolas asked. “Would that work?”
“Hmm,” Eru hummed softly as he turned his attention to that option. “It’s better. Do you think he would do it?”
“Well, I can’t,” Legolas said with a frown. “I’m nowhere near the Misty Mountains when he picks it up and my father is a horror show at that point regarding dwarrow. My hands will be tied. Possibly literally if I push too hard.”
“Your father needs to have his arse kicked,” Yavanna muttered as she transferred her harvest of weeds at her feet to a basket. “And if we send Bilbo back, we need to send his One as well. They’re too intwined in how that quest took place to leave one out.”
“Thorin will be pleased, I think,” Aulë said with a wide grin. “Give him another chance to make things right.”
“And hopefully not fall prey to the damn dragon sickness like he did the first time,” Eru snapped. He was watching the ripples of this decision move out on a possible timeline and it was doable, but so much would be riding on the shoulders of a Hobbit and a Dwarf. He had to wonder if they could handle it.
“They’ll be fine,” Yavanna soothed. “Bilbo knows how to deal with the dragon sickness now and if we give them a little time before the quest actually leaves, they can prepare a bit better. Make it so they are less desperate.”
“Isn’t that stacking the deck?” Eru asked. He was trying to work out the best time to actually send the hobbit and the dwarrow back in time. “And honestly, why those two?”
“Bilbo because he has to pick the Ring up,” Legolas explained. “And Thorin has to go because he’s the leader of the dwarrow then and the one leading the Company on the trip to Erebor. Sending someone else won’t work nearly as well.”
“Fine,” Eru huffed. He waved a hand and the two beings under discussion appeared before them. “You three deal with them. I’m going to be rewinding time and smoothing everything out so we don’t get destroyed by the ripples.”
“Your Majesty, Bilbo,” Legolas greeted cheerfully with a wave. “We’re trying to figure out how to fix Middle Earth.”
“By doing what?” Thorin asked. He moved to stand in front of Bilbo and glared at Aulë and Yavanna. “I know who he is,” he said, nodding at Legolas. “But who are you two?”
Legolas snorted softly in amusement. “Thorin Oakenshield, Bilbo Baggins, may I make known to you Aulë and Yavanna. And the plan is to send you two back in time to the quest to retake Erebor and have you try again. Only succeed in taking the Mountain without the clusterfuck it was the first time.”
From the startled look on Thorin’s face, he hadn’t been expecting that. Legolas had to wonder what he thought he had been pulled out of Aulë’s halls for.
“Move, you great lummox,” Bilbo hissed. Legolas was sure that he had poked the dwarrow in front of him from the way the dwarf jumped. “That’s the Green Lady and I will make my respects before we start working on any planning.”
“Are you sure?” Thorin asked quietly. He was staring intently at Aulë.
“Yes,” Bilbo said. “Now you go greet your maker like you have actual manners and then we’ll get started.”
Thorin nodded once and walked over to stand in front of Aulë. Legolas watched as he dropped down onto one knee and bowed his head. Whatever he was saying was in Khuzdul and no matter how much Gimli had tried to teach him the language, he wasn’t actually conversant. He knew all the really filthy bits, but understanding the conversation happening before him was a bit out of his wheelhouse.
Turning his attention to the other party in their group, he found Bilbo kneeling beside Yavanna, helping her weed. He was also talking in a different language and Legolas sighed in frustration. He’d never been offered a chance to learn Hobbits, so the lack of understanding wasn’t surprising, but it was annoying. He really liked knowing what was happening around him.
He made a mental note to ask about learning Khuzdul. Being ignorant was pissing him off.
“You’ve been avoiding me since you came into my Halls, Thorin Oakenshield,” Aulë announced as soon as Thorin had completed the simple oath that every dwarf was taught to give their god when they stood before him. “What changed?”
“Bilbo,” Thorin said with a shrug. Not like he was going to lie to Aulë. That was dumb and despite all evidence to the contrary, he wasn’t that foolhardy.
“The Hobbit?” Aulë asked.
Thorin nodded once. “Yes. If I had come before you and he wasn’t there… I doubt I would have been able to stay my tongue. He is my One and I treated him shamefully in life. I wanted to be able to apologize to him, but since I was dead and everything I had ever learned said that I wouldn’t be able to leave your Halls… I avoided you so I didn’t demand things that were out of my reach.”
Aulë eyed him for several minutes and Thorin tried not to shift uncomfortably as his knee started to go numb. Holding his creators gaze felt like he was standing in front of a blazing blacksmiths fire. It felt great to start, but it was rapidly becoming too much. When Aulë turned his gaze from him, Thorin could feel himself sagging around his bones.
“It dismays me that one of my children would think that about me,” Aulë said softly. He stared at Yavanna for a moment before he turned back to Thorin. “That you felt that I would not do my best to get you to your One.”
“For all that we hold you true and sacred, sire, we don’t have much history on your wife and how to treat with her. I didn’t discover she was the Hobbits Green Lady until well into my journey to Erebor,” Thorin said after taking a deep breath. He needed to explain and be understood. “And then, I left too much unsaid when I died and he meant too much for me to fuck up any chance I had by getting things wrong with you or with her. I had so very little hope, and putting myself out there and possibly killing that hope was beyond me.”
Aulë pressed his lips together and shook his head. “Am I known to be such a stern and unforgiving father that my children fear me?”
“No,” Thorin rushed to reassure. “But you did not set the rules for our existence, for our afterlife. And I would not want to cause more issues between you and Eru.”
“You do not have to sacrifice your happiness to preserve my relationship with Eru,” Aulë said softly. He reached out and patted Thorin on the shoulder before he cupped his cheek. “But I thank you. Now. Enough of the emotional bloodletting. Let’s figure out how you and your hobbit can save our collective arses.”
The urge to melt into the embrace of his god was overwhelming and Thorin closed his eyes and savored the touch. It had been a very long time since he’d had a truly caring paternal touch. He’d missed it.
“I was deeply affected by the gold sickness,” Thorin confessed. He hated how mad he had been right after they had taken Erebor, but he had no idea how to keep himself from falling into it again. “And that was to my detriment. And the detriment of the quest, the mountain and my people.”
“Hmm,” Aulë hummed. His hand moved off Thorin’s cheek and placed it on his forehead. The feeling of being in front of a forge fire roared back and Thorin broke out into a sweat at the rush of heat. “Yes, I can see it. Well.”
“Can it be fixed?” Thorin whispered, hope stirring in his chest.
“Yes,” Aulë said. He turned to where Eru was standing to the side and waved his free hand. “Come here.”
“What?” Eru asked. He walked to stand in front of them and raised an eyebrow. Thorin stayed quiet. If Aulë felt like a forge fire, Eru felt like the time he’d gotten too close to a lightning strike.
“My dwarrow have been corrupted with an urge to horde gold like a dragon,” Aulë explained. He wriggled the fingers of the hand on Thorin’s head before lifting them off. “Examine him.”
Eru placed his had where Aulë’s had been and Thorin held still. He felt nothing but something was obviously happening from the emotions moving across Eru’s face. “This is not how you made them.”
“Sauron and Saruman corrupted them,” Aulë growled. “If we let that stay, then the quest that we send these two on will be doomed from the very start.”
“Well, we can’t have that,” Eru muttered. His hand glowed on Thorin’s forehead. Thorin closed his eyes as the glow got brighter and brighter. Only when it started to fade did he breathe easier.
“So?” Aulë asked.
“So, you were right,” Eru said sourly. “And I removed the stain so when he actually gets down to Middle Earth, he won’t have a need to claim the gold in Erebor like a nesting dragon. As he meets with other dwarrow, the cure for the gold sickness will move on from him, to them, and so on until every single dwarf on Middle Earth is cured of it. And they won’t be able to be recursed. It won’t keep anyone from liking gold, but it will keep everyone from wanting to horde it.”
“Thank you, milord,” Thorin said gratefully. The thought of going back in time and exposing himself and his family to his gold sickness had horrified him. Having the chance to carry a cure for it was more than he’d ever thought possible.
“You’re welcome,” Eru said before he wandered away again.
“See? He’s not so bad,” Aulë said with a smile.
“Uh huh,” Thorin said. He wasn’t sure that he could agree. Even after being cured. He knew the history of Middle Earth and he’d actually spent his time in the Halls, studying the history of his people. He was much better educated than he had been.
“Right, let’s figure this trip out,” Aulë said, clapping his hands together and drawing the attention of everyone.
Thorin smiled as Bilbo walked back to his side and settled into place in his arms. As strange as their circumstances were, he was deeply grateful for them. He had Bilbo at his side, he had been cured of his gold sickness, and they had a chance to make things right with the quest to retake Erebor.