kathierif_fic: (writing:sentence fragments)
[personal profile] kathierif_fic
Title: The Greatest Fighter Of Them All
Rating: FRT-13
Fandom: The Hobbit (movie-verse)
Pairing: Dwalin/Thorin
Disclaimer: Not mine. So not mine. No profit made, quite to the contrary.
Summary: Dwalin is Middle-Earth's Chuck Norris and everybody keeps making jokes.
Warnings: AU of the "everybody lives"-kind, mentions some injuries suffered in battle
A/N: This was written for a wonderful prompt on the hobbitkinkmeme here. I really cannot put in words how much fun I had with this prompt, first, the search and selection of Chuck Norris-jokes and then the transformation into Dwalin, son of Fundin-jokes (which some anons and not-anons on the meme did as well, parallel to me, it was awesome).
Also, Dwalin/Thorin. Hello, new pairing I never knew I liked, but which I have written several things for now?
1974 words.



Dwalin isn’t sure who has started this nonsense, or when exactly it started, but he suspects Nori was involved somehow - this, he thinks with no small amount of exasperation, is exactly the kind of prank someone like Nori likes to pull, no matter that he is now more than a mere petty thief and criminal, but a Dwarrow of rank and standing.



What he knows is this: the jesting started after the Battle of the Five Armies, but before Thorin had healed well enough to take back the throne of his grandfather and be crowned King Under the Mountain; many, if not all, of the soldiers from the Iron Hills that stayed behind at Erebor know these jokes; and there are many. The jokes are like mold: one day, they appeared and they cannot get rid of.



In a way, he thinks, his spine pressed against cool rock and his eyes half-closed, some of the jesting is not bad. It is, after all, meant as a form of respect, albeit one he could do without.



“Mister Dwalin.” It’s Kili who greets him with a cheerful smile, his quiver on his back and his bow in his hand. Kili is still limping, his injuries from the battle barely healed, and he is pale and thinner than Dwalin likes to acknowledge. He had a hand in training the young Prince, and the time they’d spent together during the quest had not cured him of his fondness for Kili, nor his brother.



“Kili,” he returns the greeting, nodding his head slightly as acknowledgement of the young Dwarf’s rank, higher than Dwalin’s own. Kili returns the nod respectfully before the smile spreads across his face again.



“What are you doing?” he asks and leans against the wall next to Dwalin, curiously peering around the corner..



The rock here is smooth and cool, and Dwalin remembers the first time he picked up a battle axe under the watchful eyes of his father and elder brother. It had been here, deep in the halls of Erebor, in the training caverns where the King’s Guard and soldiers honed their skills, and Dwalin had been so young back then, young and innocent. He remembers the feel of the handle of Fundin's axe, worn smooth by constant use and by age, in his palm, and he suddenly feels every ache and every twinge of his old bones.

If he'd known back then what the future would bring...

If not for Smaug, Fili and Kili would have learned to handle their first weapons here as well, surrounded by Dwarven fighters ready to teach the young princes, he thinks. Instead, he recalls Dis’ backyard, ankle-deep mud and Thorin kneeling, folding Fili’s short fingers around the hilt of a wooden practice sword and patiently guiding him through the first moves while Dwalin himself was tasked with keeping Kili, who had been still too small for such activities, away from his brother and uncle.



“I’m listening,” he says gruffly, and Kili frowns while the clank of metal blades striking each other and the sound of Khuzdul drift to where they are standing, just out of the main practice cave.



“What are you listening for?” Kili asks, and Dwalin opens his mouth to answer when he hears it, loud and clear and cutting through the background noises like a well-sharpened axe cuts through flesh or wood.



”It is the truth that Dwalin, son of Fundin, died in the battle of Azanulbizar. Death just hasn’t built up the courage to tell him yet.”



He doesn’t recognize the voice of the Dwarf who shouts this, but his hands curl into fists and he fights the urge to storm into the cave and demand the jester to reveal himself, to suffer the punishment of such disrespect - not to Dwalin, but to all those Dwarves who died in the battle of Azanulbizar, and in the much more recent battle of the Five Armies.



The only thing stopping him is Kili, laughing and leaning against Dwalin’s side with the trust of a young puppy.



“That is a good one,” Kili tells him, and for a moment, Dwalin is reminded of the Dwarfling that barely reached his hip, whose dark eyes following every move Thorin taught his brother while Dwalin’s hand remained on his thin shoulder, holding him back and keeping him safe from flying weapons.



The illusion is broken a heartbeat later when Kili straightens and says, “Have you heard this one? Dwalin, son of Fundin, does not breathe. He holds air hostage.”



He laughs and ducks under Dwalin’s swipe for his head, and Dwalin challenges him to a round of axe throwing instead of grabbing him and shaking him until he takes his words back.



~~



It becomes part of his life. Every now and then, someone, more often than not Kili or Bofur, drop in on him with a smirk on their face. “Have you heard this one, Dwalin?” they ask, followed by a jest.



After a while, Dwalin knows most of them, and he even finds that he likes some of them.



And then, there are some that make him want to grab someone and shake the words and laughter out of their heads. It takes him a while to figure out which ones he can tolerate and which ones not - but those that disrespect the many dwarves who’ve died in battle, those make him want to howl and hit somebody.



The worst one he knows is “The tears of Dwalin, son of Fundin, heal the worst of battle injuries. Too bad he never cries.” He remembers all the injuries he’s seen in his life, and how he’d wept when Balin told him their father had fallen. How much had he wished for such a gift then, and how much does it still pain him when he thinks of that day! It’s enough to leave him in a foul mood for the entire day.



~~



“There is no chin behind the beard of Dwalin, son of Fundin. There is only another fist,” Ori intones with all the seriousness of a Dwarf who’s had more ale than it is proper. For a moment, the table is silent, and then, laughter breaks out, loud and rambunctious.



Dwalin scowls, but when the candles have burned down, he still helps Ori, who is barely able to stay on his feet, back to his chambers.



~~



“Brother,” Balin greets, a small smirk on his face. Ink stains his fingers, he is dressed in fine wool and silk, his beard impeccable. They touch foreheads, Balin’s hands on Dwalin’s rough tunic and mail, dusty from travel, Dwalin’s on Balin’s soft clothes. It’s been long weeks since they saw each other last, and they exchange pleasantries while they wait for the King Under the Mountain to find time for Dwalin’s scouting report.



“Have you heard this one,” Balin says, his smile widening slightly, “Dwalin, son of Fundin, can knock you out by throwing a snowflake at you.”



It is so ridiculous that even Dwalin has to chuckle and shake his head. “Who comes up with these?” he wonders, but before Balin can attempt to answer, they are called before the King.



~~



“Dwalin, son of Fundin, eats the core of an apple first,” Fili says with a grin and parries an attack with the skill of a dwarf who has seen, and survived, battle.



Dwalin growls, and Fili dances out of his reach, unhindered by the blindness in his left eye. He moves smoothly and with ease, and Dwalin follows him until he manages to pin the prince, who is breathing heavily by now, to the wall.



“Better,” he says, and his forehead comes to rest against Fili’s for a moment before he straightens and takes a step back, toward the center of the cave, his grip on the blunted axe and practice sword in his hands unfailing. “Again.”



~~



“Dwalin, son of Fundin, can cut through a hot knife with butter,” Bombur says as he puts huge plates of meat, bread and cheese on the table.



A laugh answers him. “Dwalin, son of Fundin, can drown a fish,” Dori says, and, interrupting him, Nori adds, “Dwalin, son of Fundin, sleeps with a candle burning - not because he’s afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of him.”



Dwalin considers turning around and not joining the Company for dinner, but before he can leave, Bifur is herding him toward the table with an arm slung around his shoulders and a jest in Khuzdul on his lips, and the other Dwarves are laughing and eating and Dwalin only sighs and takes his place next to Ori.



~~



”Dwalin, son of Fundin, does not sleep. He waits.”



Dwalin groans as he pushes the door closed and leans his forehead against it for a moment, to collect himself and his patience.



“This is getting more than ridiculous,” he mutters to himself before sighing and straightening his shoulders. He cannot let the other Dwarves see his weaknesses, cannot let them know how their jesting is annoying him when he can see that it is all done in good fun and with the utmost respect for him and his achievements. But here, in the privacy of his own rooms, he can drop the pretense, and he can grumble about the jesting like a Hobbit grumbles about a missed meal.



Stripping off his knuckledusters and his coat, he mutters, “Dwalin, son of Fundin, does not push himself up, he pushes the world down? Utter nonsense, that.”



A deep chuckle greets his words, and Dwalin whirls around, reaching for the dagger in his belt and crouching low - he should be safe here, in the heart of the mountain, in his chambers, but one never knows about the paths assassins and thieves take, and one never knows if a goblin or orc would slip past the guards and find the same paths.



His stance relaxes at once when he recognizes his visitor, and he drops his dagger onto the wooden table. There is one Dwarf in this mountain who has seen him like this, with all his layers of defense stripped away; one Dwarf for whom Dwalin needs no mask of disdain to hide behind.



“I could’ve killed you,” he grunts as he steps closer and bows his head slightly.



“I very much doubt that,” Thorin replies and touches their foreheads together. He isn’t wearing his crown, and is dressed in a simple tunic and cloak with no insignia of his rank. His hands come to rest on Dwalin’s chest, and Dwalin returns the caress without hesitation before he catches Thorin’s lips in a kiss.



“What are you even doing here? Have I not told you that I’d be in your chambers later, Your Majesty?” he asks gruffly.



Thorin’s lips twitch into a grin. “You were taking too long,” he announces and pulls Dwalin into the bedchamber, tumbling them both onto furs Dwalin hasn’t slept on for weeks, since most of his nights are spent with Thorin in the royal chambers.



They are both down to their smallclothes when Thorin grins up at him, a teasing glint in his eyes that makes him look so much younger and for once, free of worries. “Besides, I had to verify something I’ve heard.”



“So? What is it that you’ve heard?” Dwalin asks curiously and leans up on his elbow.



“I heard that Dwalin, son of Fundin, has a warg carpet in his bed chamber. The warg is not dead, it is just afraid to move,” Thorin says, his voice earnest but his eyes laughing.



Dwalin blinks in disbelief, but then, the King Under the Mountain laughs and Dwalin grabs a pillow and throws it at Thorin's head in retaliation and buries Thorin’s body underneath his own - after all, there are things not even his King is allowed to make fun of without repercussions...
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