As much as it breaks my heart I do not own the writings or the characters of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, they are the wonderful and exclusive workings of J.R.R Tolkien
It was a mid-Summers morning in Ered Luin. The clouds over the village were scarce, but if one was to gaze to the hills, a storm could be seen brewing in the South. Storms weren't particularly common this time of year, but then again, the last few weeks hadn't exactly gone as expected either. A great battle between the dwarves of Erebor, led by the yet to be crowned Thorin Oakenshield against an army of 100 Orcs had occurred in the forests outside of town. Many dwarves had fallen; in fact more had died than survived, including Thorin's brother-in-law, his sister's husband and the father to Thorin's only nephew and heir, Fíli.
Telling Dís, his beloved sister and only surviving family member, that her husband had been slain had been hard. In fact having to tell her and cause her pain like he did had been heart wrenching. It had been even harder watching her trying to control her grief because of the fact she was nearing the end of her pregnancy, waiting to welcome another child into the world.
Child bearing for dwarven women was difficult enough as it was, but trying to stop stress or, in Dís's case grief, from killing an unborn child was a difficult battle. And their family had suffered enough death in Thorin's lifetime that he refused to allow his sister to succumb to grief and lose her child. He had moved into Dís' house in order to look after her, to encourage her to grieve but in a manner that would be safe for both her and the baby.
Of course, it wasn't just Dís that was mourning the loss of a loved one. Fíli, his nephew, his heir, his shining golden light and boundless energy had lost his father. When his father had gone to fetch his weapons Fíli had been standing by the door watching him prepare for battle. He watched silently as his mother and father said goodbye, one promising to return and the other promising to be there waiting, no matter how long it took. Thorin arrived at the door at this point and he swept his sister into a hug before planting a kiss on her forehead, promising they'd both return, and then telling his brother-in-law that they needed to leave. Fíli's father stopped by the door and crouched in front of his son, and Fíli wrapped his arms around his father as hard as he could.
"Pwease don't leave daddy." Fíli whimpered quietly, his head buried in his father's neck.
"I'm sorry Fíli, I have to. Someone has to protect you and mummy." His father replied in a wavering voice. He wrapped his arms around the small boy and stood so he could squeeze him tightly.
"You'll come back wight? You'll be there in the morning when I wake up, just wike every morning?" Fíli whispered back.
If hearts could shatter, then Thorin's would have shattered where he stood. He hated having to drag his brother-in-law out to fight but there was no choice. A large contingent of dwarves had left not a week earlier for an extensive hunting trip to secure supplies for the coming winter, so they weren't left with many dwarves to defend the village.
He watched the pause that occurred before the older blonde dwarf nodded in response to his young son. "Yes Fíli, I will be there tomorrow morning, I promise. Just like every morning. Now, until then I need you to be brave and do exactly what mummy tells you to ok?" He felt the little dwarfling nod against his shoulder, and shockingly blue eyes swimming in tears met his as Fíli lifted his head. He pressed his forehead to his sons and then replaced it with a kiss before placing him back on the ground. Fíli ran to Thorin next, wrapping his little arms around his uncle's leg, Fíli couldn't quite reach around both yet.
"Pwease come back Unca Thowin. You and daddy must both come back! Pwomise?!" Fíli pleaded, his lower lip trembling.
Thorin cupped a hand around his nephews face "We will little one. I promise." And with that both dwarves strode out the door, leaving a terrified dwarfling and an anxious dwarrowdam behind.
Two dwarves strode out the door that night, but only one returned. It was early in the morning when Thorin, bloody, injured and battle weary limped through the door to find Dís and Fíli curled up on a couch they'd dragged into the kitchen. Dís awoke with a start brandishing a sword she'd hidden off to the side before she realised that it was Thorin who had arrived. Fíli had woken with a start cowering into the couch as Dís had leapt up leaving him no protection.
"Thorin!" Dís cried "Thank Mahal you're alive! But where's…." she trailed off as she saw the look of grief in her brothers' eyes. "No…. no, no, no, no" she whispered, shaking her head, tears flowing freely down her face.
"I'm so sorry Dís" Thorin said striding over and wrapping his arms around his sister and burying his face in her hair. "He fell defending me. I wouldn't be here if not for him."
Fíli had watched the exchange silently, tears welling up in his eyes, and before Thorin or Dís could stop him, Fíli went tearing out the door and down the road, screaming for his father. Thorin and Dís had been wrapped in their embrace and their grief, and when they heard the door slam open they looked in horror as the golden haired child disappeared into the night, before Thorin was hot on his heels.
Thorin shook his head to clear the horrible memory. The pain of losing yet another family member clear in his mind, but the cries of grief from his nephew, the pain and suffering of trying to understand that his father would never kiss him good morning in those incredibly blue eyes were etched in his mind forever.
Thorin sighed and looked down at the blonde dwarfling walking silently beside him. Thorin was taking Fíli to spend the day at Bofur's toyshop, the toymaker had told Thorin that he had come up with some new toys that he wanted Fíli to try out before selling them, but in truth all of Thorin's and Dís's close friends had secretly been worried about the child.
Dís had told Thorin that she didn't want anyone coming to the house, her reason being if she wasn't being asked how she was she'd be able to control her emotions until the baby arrived. She told Thorin that it was the only way to ensure the safety of the baby and she certainly wasn't going to lose this new and last connection to her husband.
However by stopping people from visiting her, she had also stopped people from seeing Fíli. Thorin would come home from the forge in the afternoons to see his nephew sitting in the yard in front of the house playing quietly with some blocks, all his toy soldiers had mysteriously gone missing the day after the fight, and not by the adults doing either. Fíli would look up at his uncle with no trace of emotion as he neared, and would then go back to playing with his toys.
The absence of a greeting, whether it was words or a smile, or both which was generally the case, left Thorin feeling miserable and empty. He had voiced his concerns about Fíli to his closest friends Dwalin and Balin, who had since started going home the long way, past Dís' house to check up on Fíli from a distance, as had others Thorin was close with, one of those being Bofur. The emptiness in Fíli's eyes, the slump in the normally excitable posture had affected the toymaker so much that he decided to create something new, just for Fíli, so that, if even just for a moment, everyone could witness the golden haired boys smile again.
"Do you know where we're going today?" Thorin asked Fíli gently, watching his nephew closely.
"No Unca Thorin" Fíli replied in a neutral tone, still looking ahead.
"Well I won't tell you then, I'll let it be a surprise" Thorin said, smiling slightly.
Fíli nodded in reply, his head still facing just ahead of him, his shoulders still partially slumped.
Thorin's smile faltered and he sighed. Hopefully Bofur would be able to cheer up his nephew.
As they rounded the corner, Thorin and Fíli spotted Bofur standing outside the toyshop, causing Fíli to stop dead in his tracks.
"Aye Fíli" Thorin said crouching next to his nephew giving him a view of the surprised expression gracing his nephew's features "We've come to see Bofur today." Thorin couldn't help but grin at the small dwarfling who was still standing there in surprise. "Well? Aren't you going to say hello?"
A dazzling smile broke on Fíli's face. He looked at Thorin briefly with a grin before sprinting over to Bofur with his arms raised. Thorin stood grinning, and hurried after his nephew who had just been swept up into Bofur's arms and twirled around making him giggle uncontrollably.
"Hewo Bofur!" Fíli gasped out, attempting to catch his breath.
"Hello little one! I've missed seeing you." Bofur said holding the dwarfling at arm's length to get a good look at him. Bofur pulled Fíli back to him and sat him on his hip so he could tweak the boys' nose. "And we've missed your smile. All of us have, including your Uncle." Bofur looked at the dwarf who was now standing near Bofur and Fíli with a smile on his face.
"We know it's been tough on you little one. Me, Balin, Dwalin, Oín, Gloín and my brothers, we've all missed seeing you lately. But we've never stopped caring for you, ok? And neither has your Uncle for that matter, so don't for one second think you're alone." He said, finishing sternly. He felt Fíli nod against his shoulder before setting him down.
"You're going to spend the day here alright? I need some help with some new toys and I couldn't think of a better dwarfling to help me. What do you think?" Bofur said with a much more playful tone, and smiling as Fíli's face brightened as he nodded in reply. "Well go on then!" He said nodding towards his toyshop.
Thorin watched his nephew dash through the toyshop door before turning to Bofur with a smile. "Thank you," he said "It's been a while since I've seen Fíli smile like that. I'll pick him up this evening, I've got to help Dís prepare for the baby's arrival, Oín reckons it's due any day now. And I think I'm going to talk to her about this visitor-ban that she's got in place as it hasn't been good for Fíli. He's needed others to be there, one's that didn't break their promise to him, and that hasn't been possible with her ban." Thorin finished sadly.
Bofur nodded in understanding "He'll be alright Thorin, he just needs time." He clapped a hand to Thorin's shoulder and headed towards the door.
"Fíli! I'll pick you up later ok?" Thorin called towards the door. He knew Fíli wouldn't hear him, but it made him feel better that he'd at least tried to tell his nephew where he was going without disappearing on him altogether.
As Thorin walked away, he heard the patter of feet and turned around to see a mop of golden hair flying towards him. Thorin knelt in perfect time for Fíli to launch himself into his arms.
Fíli wrapped his arms around his Uncles neck and pressed multiple kisses to his face "Fank you Unca Thowin!" He said happily, more happily than Thorin had heard since…. Well Thorin wasn't going to dwell on that.
Thorin went to pull away from Fíli so he could plant a kiss on his forehead but Fíli held him tight and put his mouth to his uncle's ear and whispered "I wove's you, Unca, more than anyfing. I wiwll always wove you." And he buried his head in his Uncle's neck.
Thorin was frozen to the spot in which he'd crouched. The amount of tender love that was in Fíli's voice made his heart soar. His nephew would be fine, eventually, but he would heal. He wrapped his muscular arms around his nephew in an embrace, wanting to keep Fíli there in his arms for eternity. Instead he settled for pulling Fíli slightly from him so they could touch foreheads, before Thorin placed his lips to his nephew's forehead.
"Have fun today, and don't cause too much mischief." Thorin said gently with a grin and a wink, looking into his nephew's eyes.
Fíli nodded, grinning widely and ran back to the toyshop, waving over his shoulder as he disappeared through the door.
Thorin sighed, elated and hurried home to tell Dís of Fíli's change.
Several hours had passed since Thorin had left Fíli at the toyshop. He'd hurried home to find Dís and told her of what had happened with her son. Dís had been delighted with Fíli's response to being left at the toyshop, but she'd also been horrified when Thorin pointed out that it was the no-visitors ban that was affecting the boy the most. She'd put it in place to protect and make it easier on the both of them, but it was only easier on Dís because she'd been through loss before, Fíli hadn't. She told Thorin that she'd make it up to Fíli when he got home, after giving him his favourite meal and lots of kisses and cuddles of course.
"Right" Thorin said, "now to get you sorted to move to the House of Healing until you give birth."
Dís poked out her tongue at that, but didn't argue. And so the rest of the day was spent cooking, packing and making sure everything would be ready for her when she got home.
Back at the shop, Fíli was sitting at the side of the building in the shade. He'd already discarded several of Bofur's ideas because of them not being good to hold, or fun, or they just looked weird. Those were currently scattered around the base of the tree, Fíli's temporary storage area, whilst Fíli played with a new wooden horse Bofur had made. Fíli liked this horse, he liked it a lot. It was time to play horse racing with it and see if it would be a good steed. He wondered if Bofur would help him paint it.
"Well well well." Looky what we have here boys…" A voice drawled suddenly as a dark shadow fell over Fíli.