Watching Over You

McRaider

Summary: While hunting for food for their company, Thorin and Kili are chased by a wolf. When Kili is injured it brings to light some of the errors Thorin has made in treating his nephews more like subjects, than the heirs and nephews he loves.

A/N: Sorry about the mispost don't ask no coffee doesn't do well for anyone. Enjoy!

It wasn't often that Thorin decided to go hunting with Kili, typically it was Fili or Dwalin who helped catch dinner for the company. However, lately Kili had been a bit more reckless and foolish, and Thorin was planning to speak with him about it. Thorin had watched his nephew hunt back before they left on their journey, but at the time Kili seemed to be trying to impress Thorin, rather than get a kill.

The dwarf Thorin watched now left him in utter awe. Sure, he knew his nephew was a skilled marksman; he excellent at all that he did when it came to his bow and arrow, and though Thorin had been against it at first eventually he realized that Kili's talents lay in unusual methods. But now, as he watched his nephew quietly stalk through the forest, it was clear Kili's decision had been a wise one. Barely adult age, Kili was poised and focused, it was clear every noise made out there was another aspect that Kili took in to his braid and assessed where the animal- the buck. They'd been tracking it for the past several moments, though Thorin was certain Kili was better at this than he.

Perhaps what impressed him the most, was Kili was always in motion, even in his sleep. Yet here he was crouching, listening and most of all being absolutely still and silent. Thorin realized that his nephew was far more mature than anyone expected anyone except perhaps for his older brother Fili.

"Kili, we need to be heading back, lad, it'll be growing dark soon. " Thorin prompted in a deep voice only slightly above a whisper.

But if Kili heard him, he showed no signs of it, instead he froze in his spot. If he'd been an animal Thorin would've said he was on alert, waiting for a predator to pass. That's what he looked like, every muscle was still as the young dwarf listened and waited. Before Throin could ask a question, Kili turned his head to the right and there stood the buck they'd been searching for, it was a moment of pure beauty. Thorin forgot how majestic the world could be when he wasn't cursing its existence. Kili knocked his arrow, and drew it back with great ease. He focused, for Thorin it was like watching something as natural and powerful as the water or the wind.

Perhaps Kili heard it, because Thorin swore for a moment his sister-son faltered, the snap of the string echoed and then all hell broke loose. Thorin never saw it coming, a large wolf jumped from what seemed like out of nowhere opened its wide open mouth, Thorin opened his mouth to scream out a warning, but there was no time, it happened so quickly. One moment Kili was standing the next he was on the ground wrestling with the vicious looking creature.

Kili's scream as the wolf's jowls bit down into his right forearm was a horrific noise, and it was a scream that Thorin hoped he would never ever hear again. He drew out his sword and with two mighty swings the wolf was dead.

As quickly as it started, it had ended. Silence once again took over the forest. The only noises were the occasional whimpers and harsh breathing coming from the dwarf on the floor as he held tight to his arm. Thorin dropped to his knees by his nephew, hands out and ready to help, before he realized he didn't even know where to begin.

There were gashes over his chest, and his arm…his arm looked like the creature had torn it to shreds. It was gruesome and made Thorin feel sick, he was afraid to touch his nephew out of fear for hurting him further. His mind began racing as he considered how far they were from the camp and how much longer before it was pitch black. He needed to get Kili's wounds cleaned out sooner rather than later. If they stayed dirty and open it risked infection. Kili was also loosing blood, meaning he'd grow cold quicker.

"Kili, open your eyes, lad," he murmured, gently tapping Kili's cheeks.

Kili struggled to open up the eyes he'd been keeping squeezed shut. His eyes were filled with tears. "It hurts," he whimpered.

"I know lad, I know but you have to try and control it. We need to get back to camp. Can you stand?"

Kili looked around and then gave a hesitant nod. With Thorin at his side to support him, the two dwarves managed to get to their feet. Kili was leaning heavily against his uncle as they began to move forward. It was agonizing and with the sun going down, Thorin could feel his nephew beginning to shiver against him.

"We should find shelter," Thorin suggested.

Kili shook his head, "Keep going, if we don't get back they may leave without us."

Thorin chuckled, "You forget lad, I'm leading this party, they would not go without us."

Before Kili could say anything further he groaned and suddenly began to curl inward, whimpering. Thorin looked around frantically, they just needed cover for the night, tomorrow he'd be able to locate the camp again. "I'm sorry, Kili," he whispered into his nephew's ear before he swept him up and headed towards an outcrop of rocks, it wasn't much but it would give them a little over head shelter and hide them from other predators. Kili cried out again, gripping his arm and chest. Thorin put his nephew down as gently as he could, praying he wouldn't cause the boy more pain.

"Kili, I need to clean the wounds," it felt like he was personally suggesting maiming the dwarf further, just the thought of causing him another moment of pain.

"Please, please don't," Kili didn't want to hurt anymore; there was already a burning throb in replace of the stabbing pain in his arm. He was scared, he didn't want to die, and he wanted Fili.

Thorin reached out, realizing he needed to be an uncle and father figure, and not a king at the moment, he pressed the balm of his hand against Kili's cheek. "Kili, listen to me son, I'm sorry, and I know you're scared lad. Being completely truthful, so am I. But I have to clean the wounds, I can't let it fester and watch you die of infection. Please, please don't ask me to do that. I'll do my very best to be gentle, and you can take as much time as you need, just tell me if you need a few moments. I'm going to get you back to your brother."

Kili looked up, and felt like he was looking into the eyes of his uncle from years ago, rather than the man that had changed and become his king over the past several years. "You're never scared."

Thorin smiled, "Oh sweet little Kili, I assure you lad, I am scared more often than I am not. I just don't admit it well. I'm going to start with the arm so I can get some of the clothes off."

With as much care as he could muster, Thorin removed Kili's two outer layers and tore away what was left of the tunic sleeve. He grabbing his water he gently poured it over Kili's arm, and pulled the remaining fabric that was inside the wound.

Once all that was done, Thorin took a look at his sister-son's arm, he grew worried about Kili's future abilities to fire his arrows, the injury was deep, damaging and tearing almost down to the bone. This injury was not going to be a simple fix. He needed clean cloths to use to cover it, but unfortunately only Oin had those, anything else could potentially cause the infection. All the same, Thorin had little choice. He grabbed his own tunic and tour it off at the bottom. He then poured some water and alcohol over it, he was deeply impressed when his nephew grew tense and tried to pull away but remained silent as the alcohol did little to cleanse the wound.

Finally, Thorin wrapped it with his tunic, noting almost immediately the blood started to seep through. "Sadly this is going to have to do until tomorrow morning. Now let me have a look at your chest."

Unlike the arm wound, there was nothing Thorin could do except clean the wounds. The area was too large to be wrapped without Oin's assistance. He made quick work of cleaning the three wounds the best he could. Only one of the three wounds was deep, the other two would likely heal with few issues.

By the time Thorin was done, Kili looked ready to fall asleep, his face contorted in pain. "I'm sorry, lad. Go to sleep now, I'll keep watch."

"Uncle," It had felt like an eternity since the boys had called him that. He gently propped his nephew up against his chest, sharing both his heat and comforting him. "I'm sorry."

Thorin looked down at him surprised, "Sorry, what on middle earth for?"

"For speaking so lightly of Orcs, I never should've said that, and for acting like a foolish child."

Thorin cursed himself silently for a moment, he'd promised Dis when they'd left on this trip that he'd take care of the boys, protect them and above all else remember he was their uncle first and their king second. It was now he realized how deeply he'd been failing that promise. He'd been so focused and obsessed with not becoming his father and grandfather that he forgot to be the only father Kili had ever had. How could he have been so blind. He'd spent so much time brooding. He pressed a gentle kiss to his nephew's head, "No, Kili. Don't be sorry. It is I who should be apologizing. I fear I've been so busy worrying that the gold sickness would take me, that I didn't stop to consider it may have already."

They were silent for a long while, to the point where Thorin believed his nephew had fallen asleep, and then Kili surprised him. "Fili worries about it too. I see him trying to be like you, serious. Which is fine, when we were kids we always wanted to grow up and be just like you. But if it means losing you, I don't think I want to reclaim Erebor," Thorin could tell his nephew said this with a level of concern that it would cost him more than he ever had to begin with.

Instead, Thorin hugged his nephew as tight as he could without hurting the wounds and pressed his head to the crown of Kili's head. "Oh my little Kili, I have been a very poor uncle and father figure and I am so sorry. I will try to be better, and I do promise when we reclaim Erebor, you two will help me rebuild the kingdom. I love you, son."

"I love you too."

Thorin sat watch over them all night and as the son began to come up over the hills he was all too relieved when he saw his beloved nephew coming towards him. "Uncle!" Fili cried. "Kili!" He ran towards them, the rest of the company was right behind him.

"What happened?" Oin and Balin questioned as they immediately began to look over Kili, who had developed a slight fever in the night. Thorin stepped away and let the older medically inclined dwarf take a look at him. Once Fili had reassured himself Kili was alive, and Thorin had told everyone what had occurred, Fili stood and looked up at his uncle. "Thank you, for saving him," Fili murmured.

Thorin studied his nephew, and realized just how poor of a job he'd been doing. Without another moment's hesitation he grabbed his eldest nephew and pulled him into a tight hug. "You don't have to thank me lad, I'd be just as lost if he passed as you. Fili," he stepped back enough to still be touching the dwarf, "Lad, I've been neglecting a very important aspect of this trip, and that's the promise I made to Dis when we left."

"Sir?"

"I am your uncle before king."

Fili grinned and grabbed his uncle in another hug while the company busied themselves with looking after their youngest counterpart.

The end