silly, amateur magic, such as the coin behind the ear trick, and amazing the
Company but making Gandalf laugh
Word count: 1782
Characters: reader (female) POV, the Company
Warnings: none, I think, though feel free to correct me.
“What is so fragile
that to say its name would break it?” Bilbo puffed on his pipe, adding to the
pipe-haze that lingered in the air.
You grinned. “Easy.
“You’ve heard that one
You shrugged, watching
the fire flicker and dance as you tried to recall another riddle. This constant
back-and-forth of riddles was your way of passing the time, especially after
learning how Bilbo escaped from Gollum in Goblin-Town. The dwarves had long
since ceased to try and join in, rather speculating among themselves about the
“What can you have,
yet not share? And what can you share, and therefore, not have?”
The others blinked in
confusion. Oin held his ear trumpet closer, and Bombur stopped chewing. They
glanced at Bilbo to gauge his reaction to this new poser.
Bilbo took a long
draught from his pipe, his foot tapping against the leaf-littered ground. The
side of his cheek turned down. “Well…considering this lot,” he motioned at the
gathered dwarves with the end of the pipe, “food.”
The clearing rang with
your sudden laughter while the dwarves tried to comprehend. Indeed, sharing
food with the dwarves usually resulted in your lack of it, as you had learnt
the hard way.
“Quite a reasonable
answer, but no.”
have…” he mumbled. “I suppose you can…share secrets?”
You nodded in defeat.
Bilbo smiled. “Hm… The
more you see of it, the less you see in
“The dark,” you
replied, with barely a beat in between. “I’ve heard that one before.”
“And so have I,” Bofur
chimed in. “If anything, it seems as if the two of you are running out of
riddles. Is there anything else to do so we can pass the time?”
Dwalin looked up from
the dagger he was sharpening. “We could spar.”
“I’d rather not do
that after I just ate,” Bilbo said.
With a cringe, you
remembered all too well what happened last time. “I vote no.”
Dwalin huffed. Fili
was digging his dagger blades into the ground, churning the soil. The others
were doing mindless, trivial things, as they hungered for some sort of
entertainment. Something to lift their spirits. Especially Thorin, who had a
mighty gash from his run-in with Azog, and who sat in a cloud of brooding.
A smile slowly spread on
your face. “Maybe we could…make a bet or two?” You flipped a coin into the air,
attracting everyone’s attention from the glint of its gold face.
“On what?” Kili asked
“Hold on.” Gloin
patted his pocket. “Where’d you get that, lass?”
“I found it lying
around.” You tossed it at him. “Mind you, I keep finding them everywhere. Like
for instance,” you leant towards Ori, pretending to grasp something from behind
his ear. When you pulled your hand back, another piece of gold glittered in
your palm. Ori pawed his ears, eyes wide, while the camp broke out in gasps.
“You ought to be
keeping an eye on the money, Gloin,” you chided, before throwing the coin over
at him as well. “Don’t just leave them here and there.” In quick succession,
you pulled out several coins as if from thin air and flicked them at each of
“How is she doing
that?” Nori asked, the master of light hands.
Kili grabbed your arms
and checked your sleeves, tapping your pockets for a jangle of gold.
“Nothing,” he said,
“You missed these,
though,” you said, showering a handful over his head, and making a show of dusting
“No, I’m serious, how
is she doing that?” Nori asked again, amidst the raucous laughter of the
“My, you seem to be
crying with laughter,” you commented, upon spying Gandalf shaking with
merriment. You stooped over where he sat, pretending to comfort him. “But don’t
worry, I have a hanky.” With two claps, a handkerchief seemed to materialise
onto your palms. You inspected it. “Oh dear, Bilbo, I believe this to be
yours.” You handed it to him, turning away from his slack jaw. “But not to
worry, Gandalf, I think I have another one here somewhere.”
With a flourish, you
pulled out a handkerchief from your left hand, one that was a mile-long, and a
combination of all the Company’s hankies tied together by the corners.
“There, a big hanky
for the tall wizard,” you said, dumping the pile of cloth on his lap. He
chuckled, and you gave him a sly wink.
On you went, your
antics increasing in ridiculousness, and their laughter and bafflement
multiplied by tenfold. You grabbed Bofur’s hat and pulled Bombur’s bread stash
from it. You asked whether Oin’s hearing was worsening, then claimed to find a
reason for it by shaking Fili’s moustache beads out of his hearing trumpet. Out
of Bifur’s coat, you pulled a bouquet of flowers, to which he crowed in khuzdul
and chortled. You added your simple ‘thumb-separation’ trick, which made even
Dwalin do a double-take. After making three of Kili’s arrows disappear, you
told Dori, Nori and Balin get off their rumps and- behold! There they were.
The air was so thick
with exclamations of amusement and surprise that an orc pack could have crept
up in the shadows to lay waste to the camp. Only one person did not join in the
brooding glower had softened somewhat, all you ever wrangled from him was a lip
twitch. You were running through your mental repertoire of ‘magic’ tricks,
wondering if you had something special in store for the King Under the
Mountain. Revealing the Arkenstone would be spectacular indeed, but alas, you
were limited by your abilities. Or lack of it. They were mere party tricks from
You asked to borrow a
piece of parchment from Ori, and claimed that, with magic, you would always be
able to predict the truth of their statement: true or false. It was one you had
made up, simply by writing the ambigram of ‘true’ and ‘false’ on the slip of
paper, and flipping it when appropriate. You just hoped they would state things
you knew the answer to.
“Go on, say
something,” you said.
“I’m a hobbit.” Bilbo
said. An obvious test question.
You rubbed the piece
of parchment in your hands and muttered ominously. With exaggerated motions,
you carefully unfolded the paper, and held it to their craning faces.
“True.” Kili looked
cautioned. He tilted his head as he inspected the paper with narrowed eyes.
“I’ll do it again, if
you like. Just say another statement.” You folded the paper again and
sandwiched it in between your palms.
“My name is Balin,” he
“No!” Kili gasped.
“That must be a different paper.”
“It is one and the
This time, when you
refolded it, you made a point of showing your empty sleeves and palms.
“Fili is my brother.”
“Kili is a woman.”
“Haha! That thing is
Kili swatted Fili on
the shoulder. “Our Uncle is the King under the Mountain.”
Thorin glanced up at
you, his attention now fully invested on the scene before him.
“Gandalf taught you
The wizard’s eyes
“Then how?” Nori stressed, like he was
teetering on the edge of discovering a dreadful conspiracy.
Thorin had finally
stood up. He took the parchment from your hands and stared at the word,
slightly frowning, while an anticipative hush fell over the camp. His eyes
flickered up to yours, which were glittering with laughter, and his hands
rotated the paper.
“There,” he said,
holding it up to the silent dwarves. “True.” He turned the paper again.
He let the parchment
flutter onto your lap, which Kili seized, turning it this way and that. The
others peered over his shoulder.
“How about the coins,
“It’s obvious. She’s a
thief,” Thorin said. “The only other explanation we need is how Gloin has been
losing so much coin without noticing.”
He began to return to
his sleeping place, while Gloin looked down at his coin pouch.
You stood up, having
exhausted all of your tricks anyway. Except one.
“So I guess…you don’t
want me to explain this?” You said to
his back, holding up your hand for all to see.
His eyes alighted upon
the intricate iron key between your fingers, and his hands flew around his
neck, feeling nothing but his chest. By chance, really, how you came upon it.
After the Azog’s Warg almost reduced him to dwarf-chowder, you noticed the key
fall off his person when he was picked up by the giant eagle. You’d had it ever
Thorin’s jaw tensed as
he snatched the key from you, securing it around his neck and retiring to his
bedroll, back to the rest of you. From his still form, he exuded heavy, muted
anger. The dwarves said their hurried goodnights and the camp returned to dim stillness.
Gandalf exchanged a look with you.
You shrugged off the
shame stirring in the pit of your belly and went to bed, trying hard to fool
yourself into believing that you did not care for his anger. Or that you had
caused it. Really, you fumed quietly,
you had been trying to cheer him up.
Don’t you dare feel shame for it…
Even so, you resolved
to apologise in the morning, if his anger had not yet ebbed away by then.
When the fire embers were
reduced to tired flickers, Thorin took over Balin’s night-watch.
“You cannot deny that
it was amusing,” Balin said, before shuffling into his bedroll.
Thorin’s gaze shifted
over to where you lay, peaceful in dreams, and allowed himself a small smile.
“She seems to have hands more nimble than our burglar’s.”
Balin chuckled. “Aye.
There is no need to worry, Thorin. She has good intentions with whatever she
steals.” He raised an eyebrow as if sharing a secret, before tapping Thorin on
the chest. Not where the key was, but somewhere more to the left, where there
was the strong, steady thrum of life. His heartbeat.
You stirred in your
sleep, releasing a quiet, content sigh. It relaxed the knot coiled in Thorin’s
stomach as he watched you, the thief who had taken more than she realised from
the King under the Mountain.
He pulled the true/false
paper from his sleeve – he had wrested it earlier from Kili’s sleeping grip –
and opened it, wanting to deny his realisation, his secret. But he also wanted
“She loves me back,”
he whispered, feeling the comfort of the words, the lightness inside him. He
glanced down at the paper.