Pairing/Characters: Bilbo, Fíli, Kíli, Dwalin, Dís, Thorin; Bilbo/Thorin
Fandom: The Hobbit
Word Count: 2,624
Spoilers: For the end of the book/movies.
Summary: Thorin finally Changes.
Notes/Warnings: My sister asked if anyone had written gender-changing Dwarves. That planted a seed in my head and resulted in several pages of headcanon. This is probably the one story everyone's been waiting for the most. Especially me. No beta.
Update 3/27/14: Made some edits to the story to help with the flow and fill in missing words.
Despite how many of his friends he'd seen through the Change already, Bilbo was still anxious about Thorin's Change. His worry mainly stemmed from what Dís had revealed about her first Change from female to male in decades. He didn't want Thorin to be uncomfortable, but neither did he want her to be in pain. In the end, he told Thorin that it didn't matter to him whether she was male or female, only that she was comfortable in her own skin. Which was why he now waited for her and Dís to emerge from the Chamber of Change.
The waiting itself was the worst part, as far as he was concerned. He'd wanted to be there with her, but they didn't know if the Chamber would affect Hobbits or not, so they'd decided it would be better if Bilbo didn't go in. He liked being male, thank you very much. He jumped when Fíli and Kíli sat down on either side of him. "What's wrong, Uncle Bilbo?"
"Why the long face?" Kíli tugged playfully at Bilbo's bare chin.
He batted her hand away half-heartedly. "I'm worried about Thorin, if you must know."
"She'll be fine," Kíli assured him with a grin.
Fíli wrapped an arm around him. "You know what? How 'bout we distract you so you don't worry as much?"
"How do you intend to do that?" Bilbo looked from one heir to the other. He held up a hand before either of them could reply. "No weapons practice. I've had quite enough of that for one lifetime, thank you."
Kíli actually pouted at him. "There goes my idea."
"You just want to show off for that Elf Captain." Fíli grinned mischievously at his sister.
Red crawled up her cheeks under her stubble. "Shut up!"
"Elf Captain?" Bilbo asked, looking from one to the other curiously. "Whom do you mean?"
Fíli's grin faded and he looked at his sister. "He'd understand. Might even help."
"Understand what? Help with what?" He didn't quite stifle a sigh of exasperation.
Kíli scuffed the toe of one boot along the stone floor, looking more scared than he'd ever seen her before. Quietly, she told him, "I think I've found my One and she's an Elf."
"Oh." Bilbo knew all about a Dwarf's One because Thorin had told him about it while the Dwarves had been captive in Thranduil's dungeons. Her hatred of Elves that she'd never bothered to hide stifled his urge to congratulate Kíli. It could all end very badly if the situation wasn't handled properly. "I'm not sure how I can possibly help."
Kíli shrugged, still scuffing her boot along the floor. "I dunno. You could try to help him see that not all Elves are bad. I mean, they did fight alongside us just last year."
"Only because we had a common enemy." Fíli looked bitter, and then immediately contrite when his sister seemed to shrink into herself. "Sorry, Kee."
Bilbo hugged her tightly. "We'll think of a way to bring Thorin 'round to the idea. I'm sure it'll be enough for her that she'll make you happy."
"Thanks, Uncle." Kíli hugged him back. Then she reached over to squeeze Fíli's shoulder. "I know you're trying, Fee, and that means a lot to me."
Fíli smiled back and covered her hand with his, looking relieved. "Why don't we talk about something else?"
"I have a question about Dwarflings," Bilbo told them, which was true. He'd been watching the families settle into Erebor and it'd brought so many questions to mind that he'd never thought of before. He only felt comfortable asking his Dwarves about their culture and this was the first chance he'd had to bring it up.
Both of them perked up at that, looking at him expectantly. Kíli tilted her head to one side as she asked, "What sort of question?"
"How do you know whether to use 'he' or 'she' for a Dwarfling?" He asked, thinking mainly of Bombur's herd of children. "It was my understanding that Dwarves don't pick a particular gender until they come of age."
Both heads nodded in response, though it was Fíli who answered the question, "Dwarflings go by whichever gender they're in at the moment, which may change from day to day. I don't know if anyone's told you, but it's easier to Change the younger you are. That's why Dwalin didn't have much difficulty Changing, even though she'd been male pretty much as long as Aunt Thorin."
"Yeah, she's younger and I'm pretty sure she Changed a few times while she was in the Blue Mountains." Kíli looked thoughtful, tapping her chin. "Aunt Thorin never did."
Bilbo knew his next question might seem scary to the other two, but he couldn't help wondering. "Have you ever heard of Dwarves not born in a Chamber of Change?"
"No," Fíli answered firmly while Kíli shuddered. "When a Dwarf is pregnant, she stays near her home mountain. When it's almost time to give birth, she goes to the Chamber of Change and doesn't leave until the baby is born."
Kíli continued when her brother fell silent, looking sad. "We lost some mothers and Dwarflings when Smaug came. They were trapped in the Chamber of Change. The families with a pregnant Dwarf who managed to escape Erebor headed straight for the Iron Hills. They didn't want to risk giving birth outside a Chamber of Change. The rest of the families either chose to go to the Iron Hills as well, or wandered and eventually settled in the Blue Mountains with Aunt Thorin."
"I'm sorry." Bilbo shook his head at himself. "Here you are, trying to cheer me up, and I choose one of the worst subjects for you to think about."
Fíli and Kíli hugged him so tight that they almost smothered him. Dwalin's voice saved him from their enthusiasm. "Let him breathe, you clots."
"Sorry, Uncle." Both of them had sheepish smiles on their faces when Bilbo could breathe again.
He patted their shoulders reassuringly. "It's all right. Just make sure I can breathe next time you decide to hug me."
"All right!" That was all the warning he had before they hugged him again, this time ensuring he could breathe.
He laughed and patted their backs until they finally let him go. "Are you two done mauling Thorin's burglar?"
"For now." Fíli grinned and winked while Kíli patted Bilbo's head.
Shaking her head, Dwalin told them, "Good, because Thorin and Dís are waiting for him in Thorin's rooms."
"Oh, Yavannah help me," Bilbo whispered, suddenly petrified.
Fíli and Kíli stood up and tugged Bilbo to his feet. "C'mon, Uncle. Don't you want to see Aunt Thorin and Amad?"
"Of course." Bilbo stumbled as he followed the brother and sister to the door where Dwalin still waited.
Without a word, she wrapped an arm around Bilbo's shoulders. Her voice a gruff whisper, she told him, "Thorin's still herself. All that's different is she's female instead of male. Am I any different than I was before Change? Or Dori? Or Bombur? Or Kíli? Or Óin?" Bilbo shook his head at each question. "Exactly. She's still the Dwarf so besotted with you that it's sickening."
"You're one to talk," Bilbo told her with a smirk of his own. "I've seen the way you stare at Ori when you think no one's looking."
She made a show of looking around with exaggerated worry. "Shhh! You'll ruin my reputation as Thorin's big, tough bodyguard."
"Pshaw. As if anyone would dare to fight you to get to Thorin." Bilbo grinned, patting the big, muscular hand resting on his shoulder. Softer, he told her, "Thank you."
Clearing her throat gruffly, Dwalin stopped outside the door to Thorin's rooms. "In there, Burglar. Don't keep them waiting."
"Right." Bilbo squared his shoulders and knocked on the door. After a moment, he heard someone tell him to come in, so he opened the door and cautiously poked his head into the room. The only light came from the fireplace and two figures stood before it, but that was all the detail he could see. "Hello?"
The figure on the left gestured with one hand, speaking with Dís's voice, "Come in, Bilbo."
"Thank you for coming," Thorin added as he carefully entered the room and closed the door behind him.
He took a few steps towards them, hooking his fingers into his waistcoat pockets to hide the way his hands were shaking. "As if I couldn't." He managed a laugh that didn't quite sound nervous. "Did, uh, did the Change go well?"
"It did." There was a spark from Dís, and then the lamp beside her lit up. As he'd come to expect, she still looked much the same as he remembered: tall and muscular, though her shoulders weren't as broad as before. He couldn't be sure, but it looked like her beard hadn't shrunk at all. And, of course, she now had breasts and there was a curve to her hips that hadn't been there before.
A spark from Thorin's side drew his attention to her and his breath caught in his throat when he saw her fully illuminated. Like Dís, the only changes to her build were that her shoulders weren't as broad, fuller hips, and a rather magnificent bosom. Bilbo stared at her, attempting to analyze whether his feelings had changed. All he could think, though, was: By Yavannah, she's even more majestic. How is that possible?
"Bilbo?" Thorin looked worried now, moving towards him. "Are you all right?"
He stared up at her when she drew close. He could only think of one word: "Beautiful."
Thorin stared down at her beloved, who lay sprawled on the floor at her booted feet. She looked up at the sound of snicker. "What?"
"I thought the others were joking when they told me he'd fainted." Dís joined her sister beside Bilbo. "Has he done it often?"
She shook her head; grateful she'd tied back her hair. "This is only the second time he's fainted since I've met him."
"That's a fairly good track record," Dís mused as Thorin bent to scoop Bilbo into her arms, cradling him against her bosom. "Fainting at the mention of a dragon and at the sight of you as a female for the first time in over a hundred years. I mean, if you're going to faint, you might as well do it for the best reasons, right? Fear and desire?"
Thorin sighed as she carried Bilbo over to the sofa and set him down on it. "If you're not going to help me, why don't you go ask Dwalin to request a cup of tea from the kitchens?"
Dís made a rude gesture that basically meant 'up yours,' but she still went to the door and passed the request on to Dwalin. She then returned to where Thorin knelt on the floor beside the sofa, combing the tips of her fingers through Bilbo's curls. Softly, she asked, "When did you know that he's your One?"
"When the thought of the trolls tearing his arms out of their sockets made my blood run cold," she murmured, still stroking his hair. "I called him a grocer to his face when I first met him in the Shire. I think that was part of the reason he ran out his door after us: he wanted to prove me wrong about him. He did that, so many times that I've lost count."
There was a knock at the door and Dís stood up to answer it. She returned with a tea tray in her hands. Thorin gently shook Bilbo's shoulder with her free hand. "Wake up, Bilbo."
He sighed and stretched, turning his head into her touch. "Mmm, morning."
"It's still evening, ghivashel." Thorin told him, amused.
Bilbo's eyes popped wide open and he stared at Thorin once again. "Right, you Changed. Did I faint again?"
"You did." She helped him sit up while Dís poured tea for all of them.
He stared when Thorin handed one of the cups to him, breathing in the scent. "Chamomile. Exactly like what I have at home."
"That's because it is the tea from your home," Dís told him, handing a second cup to Thorin. "My beloved sister asked me to stop by the Shire to let your relatives know that you're alive and well here in Erebor."
Bilbo raised his eyebrows at that, looking at Thorin, who felt her cheeks grow warm under her beard. Gruffly, she told him, "I know you've been worried about certain relatives of yours assuming you'd died and simply moving into Bag End. Balin drew up a letter for Dís to show to anyone who might've moved in to prove that you were still alive."
"Lobelia wouldn't have believed just any letter, even one signed by the King Under the Mountain." Bilbo took a sip of his tea, looking a little misty-eyed. Thorin quickly took a sip of her own tea to hide the fact that she couldn't quite look him in the eyes anymore. Naturally, her Intended wasn't fooled. He narrowed his eyes at her. "What'd you do?"
Clearing her throat, she admitted, "Balin might've also included that letter in a stack of paperwork that needed your signature."
"I wish you could've seen her face when she got to the end of the letter and saw your signature." Dís looked inordinately pleased with herself. "I didn't think anyone's face could turn that shade of red."
"You Dwarves," Bilbo muttered, sounding exasperated, but the smile on his face was just as evil as Dís's. He looked from one to the other. "I'll have to go back eventually to properly pack up my things and bring them here, you know."
Thorin nodded, leaning in to kiss his cheek. "Not until after things are a bit more settled here. I want to go with you when you do."
Bilbo stretched up to kiss her cheek in return, looking unaccountably shy. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
They sat in silence for a little longer, drinking their tea. Finally, Thorin grew tired of the way he kept darting looks at her, and then away. She placed her hand on his knee. "Is something wrong, my burglar?"
"No, nothing." His smile was overly bright.
"Try the other one," she retorted, giving him the same look she'd give Fíli or Kíli when they acted too innocent.
He fidgeted with his empty teacup for a few moments before releasing a gusty sigh. "May I kiss you, Thorin?"
"As if you need permission by now," she told him, wondering why he'd been so nervous about asking that of all things.
Smiling nervously, Bilbo handed his empty cup to Dís. Then he turned to Thorin and cupped her face in his hands before leaning in to kiss her. It was just as lovely and sweet as the kisses they'd shared before, Bilbo's lips soft against her own, his cheeks smooth under her fingers. Thorin quite forgot about Dís until her sister loudly cleared her throat. "You two do have company, you know."
"I know." Bilbo rested his forehead against Thorin's, emerald eyes gazing into hers. A smile curved his kiss-swollen lips. "Nothing's changed about my feelings for you, beloved."
A relieved smiled spread across Thorin's face and she tugged Bilbo into another kiss. Part of her had worried and fretted that Bilbo's feelings would change when she did. Clearly, that part of her had been wrong. "Oh, Mahal! I'm leaving!"
Neither of them really noticed that Dís had left, too caught up in each other to notice anything or anyone else. Softly, Thorin told him, "I love you, ghivashel."
"I love you, too, beloved."