Author's Note: Alas, the tales of the Durin boys has come to an end. I'm sorry it's so short, but I felt it was where I wanted it to go. Thanks for coming along for the ride and I hope you enjoyed it! As always, a review would be much appreciated.
Thorin sat by the fire, idly staring into the flames as his thoughts danced wildly around his head. The black speech message lay limply on his leg, staring darkly towards the ceiling. He'd gone out looking for his father, but—instead—found a wizard.
Gandalf's words spun in his mind as he pondered the very idea of reclaiming the mountain. He'd longed for Erebor, thinking of its grand corridors since the day they'd lost it. But he also remembered the smell of smoke and flame, scourging his people and separating families. Nor could he ever forget the terrifying arrival of the great dragon Smaug. Thorin vaguely wondered if he'd grown too old and bitter for all this.
Thorin was inclined to trust Gandalf, despite his odd notion of a single burglar managing to restore his kingship under the mountain. He couldn't think of anyone capable enough for the job except an elf and that was a detestable idea indeed. The journey would be challenging, especially with the price on his head. Facing Smaug would be even more difficult.
But Erebor was home. He longed for it with every passing day.
It was time it became home again.
The front door creaked open as the sound of friendly chatter floated into the house. He allowed himself a small smile. Even amid his deep thoughts, he could spare a spot of joy for his sister-sons.
It had been decades since he'd run out of formal lessons to teach them. Of course, decades weren't nearly as long to a dwarf as they were to a man and Thorin often wondered where all the time had gone. However, he'd never truly finished teaching his nephews. He often found opportunities to pass on the wisdom he collected over his many years.
"I'm telling you, Fili, it was the size of a small calf." Kili recounted, holding his hands out as an indication of estimated dimensions.
"There has never been a fish that large in the river, Kili." Fili chuckled, a slight tease hidden behind his words. "Quit exaggerating."
The two of them stopped when they caught sight of Thorin, their fishing poles slung over their shoulders as the door slammed comically behind them.
"Uncle!" Kili cheered, tossing his fishing pole by the door as he quickly approached the older dwarf with open arms. Thorin had barely managed to stand when he was tackled by a bone-crushing embrace. Thorin couldn't resist offering a tight hug of his own and, even as they pulled away, Kili kept an affectionate grip on his shoulders. "When did you get back?"
"Just this afternoon." Thorin answered evenly, suppressing a chuckle as Fili batted his brother away to offer his uncle his own tight embrace. No matter how much they'd aged or how grumpy Thorin grew, the two brothers still seemed to clamor over his attention. Just like when they were dwarflings. Thorin's chest ached to think of it.
The older dwarf returned to his seat as Fili and Kili quickly took their places on either side of him, eyes eagerly watching him as they awaited the news from his latest travels. Thorin's hand was still gripped tightly to the black speech message, the old leather whispering of its shadowy intentions. The dark scratches seemed to taunt him, reminding him of the overwhelming evil in the world.
Fili frowned as he closely watched his uncle, his eyes tracing the deep lines in the older dwarf's face. "What's on your mind, Uncle?"
Thorin turned back to the fire, continuing his long stare into the dancing flames as they licked the logs with a zealous hunger. He could leave the boys home. They would be safe here in the settlement. He knew they would abhor the thought of being left behind, but they would be safe.
Even so, it was only right that he retake Erebor with his sister-sons at his side.
Thorin looked between his nephews, his movement slow and thoughtful. As soon as he asked, he knew there was no going back. If he pulled them into this, there was no pushing them back out. Dis would be upset at the idea, but—overall—she would allow it. Erebor was her home too and her sons were the rightful princes of great halls.
Again, his eyes roved between the two young dwarves, a great pride swelling in his chest as he thought of who they'd become. He slowly pulled in a deep breath, glancing at each.
"What would you say to reclaiming Erebor?"