A/N: Here is the last installment of Into the Wild. Thanks for everyone who came on this tale with me!
It is said that a butterfly's wings could change the weather thousands of miles away. A kind gesture by one, could change the future path of another. It was well known that at best, elves and dwarves had a turbulent relationship. But the Princes of Durin and the Prince of Mirkwood had the opportunity to change the fate of their people.
Thorin never forgave Thranduil and the elves of Mirkwood for their refusal to aid when Smaug attacked Erebor . Thranduil, in turn, believed that the dwarves were greedy and stubborn and that it was that very same greed that lost them Erebor in the first place.
However, Kili and Fili did not have the same prejudices as their Uncle. They were not born yet when Erebor fell and in turn did not witness the perceived abandonment by the elves. They also did not grow up with the luxuries and ease of a life in Erebor. Growing up in exile, the road was often difficult, movements for work were frequent, and they were often impoverished and struggling. It was difficult for the boys to make friends, and Fili and Kili often only had each other.
There were often instances of foul treatment by other dwarflings, those whose family blamed the line of Durin for the dragon. Accordingly, Fili and Kili simply did not have the universal acceptance of all things dwarven like some of their other kin. They understood that dwarves could be just as cruel as any other creature. They understood that everyone had to be viewed on their individual actions, not their race.
Legolas was similar to Fili and Kili and different all at the same time. He was older, ages older, and had more experiences that they did. It was very much the case that his dealings with dwarves were often difficult to say the least. They were often stubborn, judgmental and distrusting of the crown prince of Mirkwood, and in turn he often treated them with the same hostility.
But Fili and Kili defied what Legolas knew of dwarves. They were loyal to each other, not to gems. They were kind not only Legolas but every elf that was in the outpost that they came across. They laughed often, and it was clear they loved each other fiercely.
It was with a heavy heart that Legolas found himself considering that the sickness in Mirkwood had also spread to his own father. His own father, who locked up Throin and company without hesitation. Who allowed the spiders and the Orcs to come closer to their stronghold than he ever had before. Thranduil, who for the first time since Legolas was could remember, seemed to care little about what happened to the rest of the world.
The Mirkwood king, for the first time in Legolas's lifetime, had been exiling certain elves whom disagreed with him. Which is why the outpost existed in the first place.
With a start, and sparing a glance towards the young Durin heirs, Legolas came to a very important revelation. It was possible for the heirs of Erebor, and Legolas, crown prince of Mirkwood, to become friends.
And maybe change the course of the relationship between their people.
Even under the care of the elves, it took Kili far longer than he would have liked to heal. But recover he did, and it was not long before he became restless, eager to catch the company and return to their Uncle's side.
"Do you think they have made it to the mountain yet, Fee?" Kili asked on their third day since arriving at the elven outpost.
"Well, we have yet to hear anything about a dragon being awakened and killing what is in its wake, so I guess that's a good thing." Fili responded, biting his lip. Truthfully, he was disappointed in his Uncle. He had heard nothing of the company searching for the brothers, and to be quite honest, he was heartbroken.
At Fili's request, Legolas had finished tracking the company. He reported to Fili that they seemed to have made their way by barge to Laketown.
"It doesn't seem as though anyone in your party was injured, sans you two." Legolas told the prince. "I spoke with one of my contacts in Laketown, and he indicated to me that the party seemed unscathed."
Fili appreciated this news, but he found it unsettling that his Uncle had clearly made the conscious decision to leave him and Kili behind. Had they written them off for dead? Without looking? Without a body?
Kili seemed unconcerned with this matter. He had been thrilled with Legolas's news. "They should make it to the mountain before Durin's day!" he whispered excitedly to Fili when he heard that the company had safely made it to Laketown. "We can meet them in Dale, they will be heading there any moment."
A knock on the door, and Legolas's arrival distracted Fili from his musings.
"May I come in?" Legolas asked, poking his head into the room.
After it was clear Kili was going to survive his injuries, the brothers had been moved into a spare room in the elven outpost. It had two beds, and open windows to the sky and surrounding trees. It was clearly protected by magic, as despite the lack of roof or walls, the weather never seemed inclement in the bedroom.
Both Fili and Kili inclined their heads in a show of respect to the elf prince who had saved their lives.
"I imagine, now that Kili can walk on his own, that you will be heading to meet your kin." Legolas began. For a brief moment, Fili was concerned that Legolas would stop them. That moment passed quickly, as the blond elf continued speaking. "My father would advise against reclaiming Erebor. He fears the dragon is not dead, but has merely been asleep for the past decades."
"And what do you think?" Kili asked. With a smile, Legolas realized the tone was not angry or disrespectful. He was genuinely asking the elf what his opinions on the matter were. He was genuinely seeking the elf's counsel.
"I do not know whether the dragon is alive or not. What I do know, is that I would do anything for the woods here. For my home."
And so it was decided.
Fili and Kili left the next day to find their kin.
"We will make it to Erebor brother, and we'll make it together." Fili whispered, throwing an arm around Kili.
I decided to end here. Possible BOFA sequel, with Legolas's friendship, but I will have to see where my inspiration takes me. Hope you enjoyed it!