Kili, son of Dis, nephew of Thorin Oakenshield, had always been a rather jubilant sport. In his young age, he wasn't hardened by war or overbearing hardships, nor had he experienced death first hand. His father had passed a few months before his birth, and having never known him, Kili could never join his mother or older brother in mourning when the anniversary of his death rolled around. It was like clockwork - he'd wake up to the solemn frown of his brother, and the blank stare and hardened jaw of his mother. He'd tip-toe around them, clinging to the soft fabric of his uncle's cloak, knowing better than to ask questions or mention his father's name on that day.

Nevertheless, Kili smiled. Even when they frowned, Kili smiled. Dark brown eyes glinted with unrelenting love and admiration for his family, while soft lips peeled back to reveal a beaming, gap-toothed smile. It was a smile that could bring laughter to his brother, a hug from his mother, and a sincere grin from his uncle. Rumour had it that the youngest child of Durin came into the world smiling, even when his mother could do little more than scream her deceased husband's name in agony while Thorin and a five-year old Fili looked on. He had been a joy-filled, beaming child from the start, regardless of his family's circumstance, and while little cared to admit it, Kili was his family's saving grace.

For that reason, it was with a cautious heart that Dis allowed her youngest to go with his Uncle to Erebor. She had been a little more lenient with Fili, after all, her golden haired eldest was the heir; however, Kili was young - far too young. By dwarf standards, the dark haired youth was still a child, and would not reach physical maturity until his 90th birthday. Despite his brother only being 82, Fili with his strong features and sturdy form could pass as a young adult. Kili on the other hand had only managed to grow a bit of stubble, and his rounded nose and cherub cheeks were a dead give away that he was no more than the equivalent of a 16 or 17 year old. It took a bit of coaxing from Fili and Thorin, and a whole lot of begging from Kili for her to finally give in and give her youngest her approval.

Nevertheless, Dis did not allow Kili to leave without him making her a promise.

The dwarf maid had given both of her sons a token of her love the morning of their departure. She had strung a simple twine around Fili's neck with a small ruby dangling from its tip. The ruby was rimmed in a thick gold encasing, and with a soft smile and a kiss on her eldest cheek, she explained to him that it had been a gift from her late husband. He had given it to her as a promise of his love, and with that same promise, she bestowed it upon her eldest, along with words of wisdom and pride, and a stern warning to look out for his brother.

Kili on the other hand would hardly appreciate something so flashy. He was a child of the wood. He was a handsome young lad, but cared little for the fancy braids and shiny tokens that most dwarves held so dear. His hair was an unruly mop of chestnut brown, and framed his face and shoulders in layers, save for the single clip that kept a few stands out of his face. His boots were never void of mud, and he always had a leaf and/or twig somewhere amongst his tangles. For that reason, Dis had given him a simple rune stone. Dis had carved the soft surface of the rune stone herself and had presented it to her husband before he had marched off to battle. Her late husband had promised to return to her, and he did return to her, albeit not in the state she had intended when the promise had been made. This time though, Dis was determined to have her youngest back in her arms again. She made Kili promise he'd return to her alive before she handed him the stone, and with his ever-present smile and a bear hug, Kili told her not to worry – he'd be fine.

It wasn't that simple though. A mother always worried over the well being of her children, and even more so when they were out of her care and sight. It was a risk letting them venture out with their uncle – her brother, but she knew well that Thorin would not let anything happen to them without having a say in the matter himself, and Fili would keep his ever-present shadow close to his side at all times. If Fili and Kili were to leave her, at least she'd make them promise to come back alive and well. Her boys wouldn't break a promise…not to her.

With much relief to everyone within Thorin's company (Thorin included), the boys had managed to keep themselves out of trouble and made it to the Shire unscathed. Thorin had greeted the boys with a smile as he came upon them in the Hobbit hole, and had stayed up a little later than he had originally planned catching up with his nephews. Despite his hesitance when it came to the wizard's choice of burglar, Thorin couldn't help but smirk when his ever optimistic nephew (along with Gandalf) wagered against the rest of the company as to whether to not the Hobbit would show. When Bilbo Baggins came sprinting up to their hoard of ponies, shouting at the company to stop, Kili had laughed loudly and grinned as his brother handed him his share of the winnings. Such jovial moments reminded Thorin that he was currently succeeding at keeping his promise to Dis to keep her boys safe. He might have not been able to return her husband, their brother, their father and grandfather to her, but he wouldn't fail when it came to Fili and Kili. He couldn't fail.

But Thorin Oakenshield, battle hardened heir of Erebor and leader of his Company knew better than anyone that sometimes things didn't always go as planned. One couldn't predict what was to occur within the next hour, let alone the following day, and no matter how hard he tried, tragedy was bound to strike.

It happened so quickly.

After quite an uneventful night hidden under a canopy of trees, Thorin roused the members of his company one by one out of their slumber. It had rained the night before, and despite being somewhat damp, the company of dwarves managed to remain warm throughout the night and had slept despite the "deluge."

The dwarves grunted and groaned as they sat up, popping spines, necks, and knuckles to relieve any pain from their aching muscles. Despite being fairly used to a life on the road and sleeping in the wilderness, no one was particularly fond of rocks poking into their backs or dirt down their trousers. That, plus damp cloaks and boots set the mood for the morning, and with a rather unpleasant scowl, Thorin turned his attention to his nephews.

As per usual, Kili was smiling and jabbering on, and Fili was quietly listening to his ramblings, nodding occasionally while rolling up his own bed roll.

"Fili, Kili, saddle the ponies," Thorin ordered, helping a stiff jointed Balin to his feet. "Make sure they are fed and watered too. We have a long day of traveling ahead of us."

Both nodded, quickly rising to their feet and they made their way over to the line of ponies, tending to each, one by one.

Bombur started preparing a quick breakfast while the rest of the company rounded up their belongings, and the wafting smell of hot food caused Fili and Kili to hasten to get their job done. Fili worked to feed the ponies, putting handfuls of grain in front of each while Kili slapped saddles and bridles on. One particular pony – Myrtle to be exact – was not at all pleased with Kili's attempts to get her to take the bit, and with snort, the pony reared, jerking away from his grip and galloping away from the line.

"Don't worry, I got her!" The brown haired youth called over his shoulder, waving his hand at Fili when the elder insisted that he wait. Kili saw no sense in that. He could most definitely handle one pony by himself – he didn't need to wait for assistance.

"Kili…" Thorin warned, watching the action transpire. He shared a knowing glance with Fili before huffing and heading out into the field, following the trail of bent grass left by both pony and nephew. Dwalin, being overly protective of his King, followed closely behind while Bofur, having little to do found it his business to tag along as well.

Kili paid little mind to the trail of dwarves at his heels, and paused only for a moment when the prancing pony slung her head, getting the reigns caught in a low branch by the river side. Smirking, Kili shook his head and approached the panicking pony, noting that the bit had seemingly gotten caught behind the pony's teeth, most likely causing her some discomfort.

"See now Myrtle, had you just been a good girl and let me saddle you like the rest, we wouldn't have had this problem," Kili tisked, working his way around the pony, shushing her as she jerked against the branches. The pony however didn't settle, and only jerked away from the branch harder, her hooves shuffling against the mud and sand which caked the edge of the river.

Thorin and Fili heard the ruckus from a distance and quickened their pace. Mahal only knew what their youngest had gotten himself into. Dwalin mumbled something under his breath about "reckless boys" and forced himself into a jog when both his King and Prince began jogging themselves.

The small group of dwarves finally made it to the edge of the river only to find Kili struggling to get Myrtle free from the tree branch. Thorin paused momentarily to assess the situation, his eyes taking in every detail before motioning to Dwalin, Fili, and Bofur to follow him over.

"Just hold on for a second Kili," Fili called, hastening to the front of the group, eager to get to his brother. Kili ignored him, pulling again at the reigns.

"No, its okay, I have this!" Kili replied between his teeth, trying to work the tangled reigns around the branch.

"Kili…"

"I almost have it, hold on!"

Kili noticed that the kink in the reigns was to the right of the branch, and he couldn't very well reach it without moving to the other side of the mare. Dropping his hands and smiling at his uncle and brother with a look of "everything is under control", Kili began working his way around the pony, holding onto her hips, mindful of the drop off and river behind him.

Fate however, was not on his side.

As he crossed behind the struggling pony, Myrtle reared and kicked back. Her hoof collided with Kili's stomach, and with a startled yelp, Kili stumbled back, his foot catching on the edge of the bank before falling backwards into the rapidly flowing river. The impact of the hoof was enough to knock the breath out of him, and plunging into frigid waters didn't help matters – that, and he couldn't swim.

He couldn't swim…

The sudden realization dawned on Thorin as he watched his nephew disappear beneath the murky water, and his face went ashen.

"KILI!"

Chaos erupted between the four dwarves. Shouts of alarm and curses rang out, and Fili could scarcely contain himself as he rushed to the bank, shouting his brother's name. The blonde dwarf ignored his uncle's warning and shimmied himself down the slope, eyes scanning the water's surface for any sign of his brother.

"Kili….KILI?!" His voice cracked under stress, blue eyes frantic. Anytime Kili fell, scraped his knee, or bore any sort of injury, Fili couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible. Yes, their uncle kept a close watch on them, but from Kili's birth, Fili took on the role of protector, guarding him with all the fervor he could muster. Now, with Kili nowhere to be found – somewhere lost beneath the surface of the river - Fili found himself a failure, and he could scarcely forgive himself.

But then, as if Mahal had looked down and took pity on them, a sopping wet mop of brown hair broke the surface of the river, and Kili tried to desperately get the breath of air he needed before disappearing once more.

Hope bubbled as Fili spotted his struggling brother, and without a second thought, he dove in after him, swimming as quickly as he could towards the faint ripple where his brother was last seen.

"Fili, no!" Thorin tried to reach out and grab his eldest nephew, but Fili only had eyes for his brother. He bit back a curse, steadying himself on the bank when his hands came up empty. The dwarf King fumbled and stood, hastily following the edge of the river bank while keeping a close eye on Fili as he swam outwards, trying to reach Kili in time.

"Bofur!" He barked, pausing momentarily to point at the pony. "Unbridle that blasted pony and go get Oin and Gandalf! Dwalin, grab the rope, hurry!"

Dwalin and Bofur took no time in fulfilling their tasks, and Dwalin quickly snatched the rope on the pony's saddle before Bofur managed to get the beast out of the bridle. With the rope in tow, Dwalin ran to catch up with Thorin, shouting the names of the boys in hopes of receiving a response.

Once he reached the spot where he last saw his brother, Fili dove under. He pushed through the current, hands outstretched to feel around for the soft fabric of a cloak. He could scarcely see through the brown liquid, and so he had to depend solely on touch, flexing his fingers around anything his hands came in contact with. Sticks, weeds, mud - you name it. He grasped it all and carefully felt each texture. His lungs burned, air escaping past his lips in a cascade of bubbles, though just as he was about to kick back up, his fingers grazed across the familiar fabric of his brother's cloak.

Fili broke the surface with a greedy gasp before diving back under, oblivious to his uncle's shouts as he skimmed the bank. He was on a mission, and would not head the calls of his worried uncle until he had his younger brother safely in his arms.

Once more, Fili embraced the darkness as he traveled deeper. This time however, he did not have to feel around blindly. He had a good idea as to where his brother was and with a few hard kicks, Fili's hand found Kili's shoulder. He curled one arm around his brother's mid section, pulling the limp form to his chest. Fili kicked off against a river rock, hauling his precious cargo to the surface. The blonde coughed and sputtered as his head broke free, thankful for the warmth of the summer sun against his face, though he took little time to appreciate it as he tried to keep both his and Kili's head above the surface.

"Uncle! I have him!" Fili yelled, waving his free hand towards the two shadows on the bank, of whom he could only assume were his uncle and Dwalin.

Thorin breathed out in relief, (albeit short-lived) thankful to see the familiar faces of his kin appear from beneath the murky depths. He had never in all his life – not even when facing down Azog – felt such fear twist in his gut. Fili and Kili were young. They were children in the eyes of a dwarf, and to have one's life threatened at such a young age made him nearly sick to his stomach.

But, there was still hope. Fili had Kili, and although Kili hadn't shown any signs of consciousness, Thorin would not fear the worst…not yet.

"Dwalin, toss Fili the rope!" Thorin ordered, wading waist deep into the river. Thorin had previously casted aside his heavy coat and armor, for such things would weigh him down should he have to wade any deeper.

Dwalin quickly obliged, grunting with the force of the toss. Thankfully the seasoned warrior had good aim, for the rope landed just above Fili and floated downwards to the young prince.

"Take hold of it laddie!" He beckoned, holding fast to his end of the rope.

Fili scrambled to grab the rope with his free hand, tightening his hold on Kili as he struggled against the current. He managed to latch on to the rope, and with a few twists of his wrist, he curled the rope around his arm, securing his grip.

"PULL!" Thorin ordered, wading out a little deeper. Dwalin grinded his teeth together and grunted as he pulled, his muscles flexing as he fought to pull the princes to shore. Thorin tried to assist when the rope came within arm's reach. The dwarf king was eager to get his hands on his nephews, particularly Kili, for he wanted to ensure himself and the company (mainly himself) that his boy was alive. From the looks of it though – the way in which Kili's head hung limply against his chest – chances were slim. He couldn't be sure though. It was just that if Kili wasn't smiling; if those brown eyes weren't shimmering with mischief, something was horribly, dreadfully wrong.

Thorin's eyebrows creased, causing his already worried forehead to wrinkle in concentration as he helped Dwalin haul the boys closer. Fili seemed to be muttering words of encouragement to his unresponsive sibling, and he adjusted his grip on Kili once his feet touched the bottom. He took a few cautious steps, testing the mud beneath his feet before he frantically began to stumble towards the shore, dragging his brother along behind him. Fili did not let go of the rope until he was able to meet his uncle, and graciously allowed his uncle to support half of Kili's weight against him.

"Kili, can you hear me?" Fili asked, his voice riddled with worry. He lightly shook his brother's shoulder as they carried him, silently praying for a response. "Kili?!"

Kili was silent. Not a single word or sound emitted past his lips.

Dwalin's boots beat heavily against the muddied sand as he sprinted towards the trio, ushering them out of the water. He wanted so badly to hasten the process - to grab the limp heir of Durin and drag him away from the icy waters that very well could have been his grave, but the warrior did not dare to take the boy from the arms of his kin. Fili would have undoubtably put up a fight, and there was no interfering with Thorin. One simple, sudden, wrong movement could set the dwarf King off, and with his youngest nephew in such a fragile state, relinquishing Thorin of his burden would only cause him more suffering and grief. If Kili was to die, Thorin would want him in his arms.

"Quickly, lay 'im down here," Dwalin instructed, his breath coming out in short, frantic pants. He led Thorin and Fili to a relatively flat patch of moss, helping them lie the youth down against it. Dwalin gently cradled Kili's head, while both Fili and Thorin supported the weight of his body, arranging him so that he lay completely flat.

Immediately, Thorin hastened to untie the water drenched cloak from Kili's neck, jerking it away to reveal the ivory column of the youth's throat. He thrusted his fingers against the boy's neck, praying with baited breath that he felt a heart beat beneath the frozen skin.

Nothing.

"Kili, no..."he mumbled, eyes wide with fear and body physically shaken. The exiled King wouldn't accept it.

Placing one hand over the youth's chest, Thorin leaned down, one ear hovering just above Kili's mouth. He listened and felt for any sign of life, ignoring the soft pleas of Fili for his nadadith to wake up. Thorin was well aware that frigid temperatures often slowed the heart beat and made one's breathing shallow, and with what little hope he had left, he prayed for just a hint of a thump-thump against his finger tips, or the gentle tickle of a soft breath against his ear. Despite his prayers though, neither happened.

"Damn it, boy!" Thorin all but yelled, grunting in frustration as he leaned forward on his knees. "Don't you do this! Don't you dare!"

Large hands, calloused from years of work in the forge began compressing the youth's chest. His movements were consistent but quick, keeping a steady rhythm just as Oin had taught him years ago. He had been told that such efforts of resuscitation could work if one managed to get to the patient in time, and Thorin could only hope he wasn't too late.

"Kili...Kili, no! Breathe, Kili! Open your eyes!" Fili pleaded, reaching out to grasp his brother's face. The blonde prince, in his denial, tried desperately to pull Kili back into his arms, thinking that his pleading alone could somehow bring his brother back. Instead, he was shoved off by his uncle who seemed to only had eyes for his unconscious charge.

"Uncle, please! Do something! Bring him back!"

Thorin gritted his teeth, pressing harder into Kili's chest. He compressions grew rough as the seconds ticked on, so much so that Kili's head lolled with every attempt to re-start his heart.

When Fili tried to reach for his brother again, Thorin looked up momentarily, though never letting up in his ministrations, and set his eyes on a prone and fear stricken Dwalin.

"Restrain him, Dwalin! He is doing his brother no good."

The tattooed dwarf nodded and mumbled a soft apology to Fili as he wrapped his arms around the struggling youth, holding him fast against his chest.

"Let yer' uncle work, laddie. It'll be alright, calm yer'self," he cooed, his tone gentle as if talking to a skittish animal. His soft pleas did little to calm the frantic prince, and Fili cried out in despair when Kili refused to respond to his uncle's attempts to revive him.

"OIN! GANDALF!" Thorin belted, eyes sorrowful as he shouted for the dwarven healer and wizard. Where was the rest of their blasted company? It shouldn't have taken so long. Bofur hadn't had far to run, and surely they had heard the shouts and cries of alarm. Then again though, time ticked by slowly for Thorin. His ears were ringing and his mind was jumbled with so many "what ifs" and "whys" that the dwarf King had little recollection of how much time had actually passed.

"Come on Kili, come on…"he murmured, his eyes settling on the youth's inert figure as he pounded away at the young dwarf's chest. "Come on!"

"Thorin…"

"No, Dwalin!"

"Thorin," Dwalin tried to reach out, but the grief stricken King wouldn't have it.

"I said no," Thorin growled, sweat beading across his brow, not ready to accept what Dwalin was hinting towards. Thorin knew Dwalin thought his efforts were in vain. If Kili wasn't going to respond now, then the gruff warrior most likely thought that any further attempts to revive the drowned youth was futile. Kili had been under the water longer than Thorin cared to admit. No one could hold their breath that long, and with Kili's inability to swim, he hadn't be able to keep his head above the water long enough to get the gulp of air he needed.

Kili may have been a child of the wilderness – prone to a life amongst the trees as most archers were, but he wasn't a swimmer. Most dwarves weren't. They were broad, stocky beings who would rather keep their feet planted firmly on the ground. Fili had learned how to swim by chance, but Kili… Kili only abandoned the earth to scale the tree tops. He hadn't had the slightest desire to explore the depths of the nearest pond or river. Now Thorin wished he had.

Thorin was oblivious to the approaching footsteps of his company. He paid little mind to Oin as the healer crouched close, nor the soft chants of the wizard. Gandalf's long fingers reached out to gently brush back the wet bangs that were plastered against the youth's forehead, and he began to try to call the young dwarf back to them. Regardless, Thorin had blocked out everything around him – every whisper, startled gasp, sob, and anguished cry from both his blonde nephew and the surrounding dwarves.

"Kili, breathe…BREATHE," he demanded, covering Kili's mouth with his own, trying to force air down his nephew's throat. "Come now you reckless, idiotic child, breathe!" Thorin breathed for Kili again and felt for a pulse before he began pumping his nephew's chest once more.

Fili tried desperately to escape Dwalin's grip, but his efforts were useless. The golden haired prince's cries broke the hearts of every member of the company, and Balin kneeled next to the pair, placing a comforting hand on the squirming youth's shoulder.

"Kili please…please, please Kili, please nadadith…" Fili moaned, his repetitious pleadings only interrupted by choked sobs.

"Thorin," Oin began, his voice low and hesitant. The old healer tried to catch the hardened eyes of his King. "Thorin, stop. It is too late…let the boy be."

But Thorin refused.

"NO!" He barked, glaring daggers at the healer when his hand touched Thorin's arm. "HE. IS. NOT. DEAD." Thorin refused to believe it. He refused to accept it. He had promised to keep Fili and Kili safe. Mahal…Kili had promised to return to his mother alive. ALIVE. Not dead…never dead.

In the midst of his compressions, Oin reached out again, this time gripping Thorin's chin. He forced his King to look at him.

"Yes Thorin, he is. I'm sorry…I'm so very sorry."

He was cursed. He had to be cursed. How could someone be so prone to death? First his grandfather, then his brother, his grandfather, and now…now Kili. Sweet, joyful, happy Kili. It wasn't fair. By Mahal…it wasn't fair.

With a shaky breath, Thorin stopped. He leaned back on his legs, hands slowly falling away from Kili's lifeless body. He couldn't look at anyone. He couldn't bear to see the saddened, pity-ridden looks adorning his company's faces. He couldn't bear to admit to his remaining nephew and his sister that he had failed. He just couldn't. It was bad enough that he had failed his youngest, but how would this reflect on his ability to lead an entire kingdom? If he couldn't save one soul – one precious, gentle soul, how could he protect the lives of many? Thorin didn't want to think about it, and yet, it was all he could think about.

Dwalin let go of Fili once Thorin admitted defeat, and the elder of the two siblings scurried over to his brother's side, kneeling next to him. Fili cried out in utter anguish, stroking Kili's cheeks and hair as tears dripped down his nose and onto the younger's forehead. Thorin didn't dare try to pull the heart broken dwarf away. He wouldn't deny his heir his right to mourn their kin. Although Thorin himself couldn't bring himself to shed tears, he wouldn't deny Fili his. Thorin would suffer silently. After years of death and torment, the exiled King had no more tears left. He could only look upon his dead nephew with eyes full of grief, and pray to Mahal for forgiveness.

The company broke off into groups to mourn. They gravitated to their brothers and cousins, giving the line of Durin their privacy. By this point, Gandalf had given up his efforts as well, and gently guided Bilbo away. This left Thorin, Fili, and their cousins, Dwalin and Balin with Kili.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry Kili…" Fili moaned, his body hovering over his brother. "I should've known…I should've done something…" The elder of the two clinched his teeth, rocking back and forth on his heels as the pain only grew. Thorin curled an arm around Fili's shoulders, drawing his nephew closer, trying to offer the sobbing youth what comfort he could.

Fili did lean into him, though he refused to fully pry himself away from his brother. He still felt as if Kili needed him, and he wouldn't leave his brother's side while the connection was still present.

"Fili, if I could…" Thorin began, leaning his forehead against the back of his nephew's head. "If there was a way…"

He couldn't bring himself to finish. The grief was too strong – too real. Fili only shook his head, fisting his fingers around his brother's tunic, sucking in a shaky breath.

It was then he felt something.

Fili pried his eyes opened and stared in shock at his brother.

"Kili?" He murmured, his breath catching in his throat.

He felt it again, this time only stronger. An uneven, but present thump-thump vibrated beneath Fili's fingers, and the blonde youth bent forward, cupping Kili's jaw with his free hand.

"Kili? Kili…I'm here, open your eyes." Fili's eyes were wide and hopeful, and the sudden halt of his sobbing caused a few members of the company to turn their heads to look at him.

"Fili…" Thorin pinched the bridge of his nose, not having the heart to deal with another bout of denial.

"No, Uncle! His heart! I felt it!"

"Fili, Kili is dead…"

"He's not! Uncle, Kili is alive – I wouldn't imagine this," the youth insisted, hovering over his brother.

"Fili, please, stop this."

It was then it happened.

Thorin was about to pull Fili away to try and knock some sense into his remaining nephew's head when Kili's prone figure jerked. The youth's fingers curled, and with a gasp, Kili gagged and choked.

Although shocked, Thorin crawled forward and quickly rolled Kili to his side, gently hitting the boy's back to help him expel the water from his lungs. Kili coughed up a copious amount of murky river water, desperately clutching Fili's hand as his brother reached out to him.

"Kili!" Fili exclaimed with a bright smile, tears of joy streaming down his already soaked cheeks. "Kili, its me…I'm here nadadith, I'm here."

Kili could only glance up at his brother between wet gasps. He tried desperately to fill his deprived lungs full of air, and only managed to do so when all of the water had been thrown up.

"Thats it my boy, thats it. Deep breaths. You're okay Kili, you're okay." Thorin had never been so relieved in his life. Moments ago, he had believed that Kili was dead. Kili had been dead. He had all but given up on him, regretfully allowing Mahal to take his youngest away, but now, by some miraculous notion, Kili was alive and breathing. He had come back, and Thorin once more had two nephews. Two beautiful, wonderful nephews.

After Kili had settled, Fili pulled him to his chest. He curled his arms carefully around him and rested his cheek against his brother's damp hair.

"Oh Kili, don't you ever do that again, do you hear me?" Fili scolded, though his voice was filled with relief and love. "Don't you dare."

Kili could only hum a response, his voice hoarse from coughing and gagging. Nevertheless, he did what he was known best for – smile. His lips, albeit tinted blue, slowly peeled back to reveal his pearly whites, and Kili squeezed his brother's hand.

The smile caused Thorin's heart to leap within his chest, and without a second thought, he pulled both boys into his arms, shushing them with words of love and running his thick fingers through their hair. It was a rarity to see the exiled King so wrought with emotion, but each member of the company welcomed it with smiles of their own.

Thorin wasn't a dwarf who wore his emotions on his sleeves; however, it was no question that he loved his nephews. He had no children of his own, and he had taken the boys under his wing from the very day that each were born. By all means, they were his, (or partially so), and to loose one or both would be the death of him. Everyone in the company knew that, but now, as they watched the Durin trio embrace, there was no questioning it.


Thorin had known that there would be no moving Kili, and for that reason, he made the decision to allow the company one more day's rest at their current camp site. He, along with the help of Dwalin, managed to carry Kili to his bedroll, which had been laid out by the fire by his brother. After setting the exhausted youth down, Oin had bustled over and "shooed" away everyone save for Fili, for he knew any attempt to pull Fili away from Kili would be futile.

After a thorough examination, Oin had determined that besides a few bruised ribs and a rather ugly bruise, Kili was perfectly fine. He had been shocked, albeit pleased to find that no ribs were broken. After being kicked by the pony, and the fervent poundings of his uncle, Oin had almost expected a broken rib or two. The boy had been lucky – extremely so, and after making the young dwarf gulp down a bit of herbal tea, the healer left him in the care of his brother.

"You're lucky, you know," Fili huffed, settling down beside his brother. "We thought you were dead…you were dead, Kili."

The brunette nodded, pursing his lips in thought while his brow creased, though he said nothing.

"What were you thinking? I…We told you to stop! If you would have just waited a second…"

"I know Fee," Kili sighed, his voice hoarse. "I know."

"Then answer me. Why didn't you just wait for us?" The blonde forced his younger brother to look at him, eyes wide as he looked as his brother in concern.

"I…I don't know. We've dealt with frightened ponies before Fili…I just didn't think anything of it I suppose."

"But that's just it Kee…you don't think. You never do!"

Kili's mouth fell agape. He looked as if he was about to say something, but he quickly snapped his jaw shut and looked down and away, refusing to admit the obvious. Kili hardly thought before he acted. He couldn't help it. It wasn't as if he purposefully put himself into harms way, he just never really considered the consequences.

"Do you remember what you promised mother, Kili? Do you remember why she gave you that rune stone?" He asked, staring at his brother even though the younger wouldn't meet his gaze. "It was because you promised you'd come back to her, alive. You have to return to her alive, Kili. Our family has faced so much death, and if we were to loose you…" The words caught in Fili's throat, and he looked away, closing his eyes briefly with a shudder.

Kili could blatantly hear the pain in his brother's voice, and he leaned forward, curling an arm around his shoulder. His forehead pressed against Fili's, and he offered him a comforting smile.

"Hey now, shhhh. Fili, it is okay. I'm not going anywhere…"

The blonde prince shook his head, eyes still clinched shut in denial.

"But you did Kili…you died and I thought…"

"Listen to me," Kili gently cupped his brother's cheek, forcing his elder to look at him. "I cannot promise you that nothing will ever happen to me, Fili. You know me better than that," he chuckled, smiling despite himself. "But I promise you Fili, if I can help it, I won't leave you. I fully intend to keep my promise to our mother, and to always be there…for you."

A single tear rolled down Fili's cheek at his brother's confession, and he gripped Kili's wrist as if it were a life line. He did not want Kili to go anywhere he couldn't follow, and he was determined to make it so that he never had to suffer another day such as this ever again.

"Its just….I love you, Kili."

Kili's smile only widened, and he head butted his brother playfully.

"I know Fee, I know. I love you, too."

The brother's were then silent, simply enjoying the comfort of having each other safely wrapped in the other's arms. No one dared disturb them. Even their uncle, who kept a careful watch over both, allowed the brothers a moment of uninterrupted peace. They were undeniably loyal to one another, and after all that had happened that morning, the company could not deny them amity.

After all had been laid out on the table, Kili cleared his throat and looked up to find Bombur stirring away at a put of stew.

"Hey Bombur, are you quite done yet? I'm hungry!" He exclaimed, patting his stomach gently. The large dwarf grinned and shook his head, moving to poor both lads a bowl, while the company burst out into soft chuckles of amusement.

Even after enduring such an experience, Kili was still Kili – optimistic, bright eyed, and constantly smiling. It was enough to brighten the moods of those around him, and it was then that all realized that Kili was a vital part of their company. Without him, nothing would quite seem so bright. He was a prime example of what they were all fighting for, and should they loose him or his brother along they way, then their quest would be for naught.

The heirs of Durin were a hope for all dwarves – from all the way north in the Iron Hills, to the small group that congregated around the fire. To lose one would be an irreplaceable loss, but in having them, the dwarves found strength and the will to carry on. They brought about purpose, and not again – not after this day – would any dwarf take their King or their prince's lives for granted.

The line of Durin was strong, and to sever such a bond would take a might act indeed.


Not too shabby for someone who hasn't written in over a year, yeah?

I've re-read this story a few times, but I am sure I've looked over a mistake or too. For that, I am sorry.

Anyway...

I've read about every LOTR/Hobbit fanfiction story there is, and being a HUGE fan of Tolkien myself, I thought I'd try my hand at his characters. Naturally, I was charmed by Peter Jackson's interpretation Fili and Kili. Dean O'Gorman and Aidan Turner are darling, and in my opinion, they brought their characters to life. Fili and Kili were my favorite out of the Hobbit novel (along with Thorin, though that is a given), and I was somewhat disappointed that Peter Jackson didn't include the near-drowing scene from chapter 2.

Granted, I've read quite a few GOOD interpretations of it, and being a first responder, I figured I'd make my interpretation as realistic as possible. If this made you uneasy, I do apologize, but if I am going to do Kili-wump, I am going to do it right. ;)

If you like what I've written, let me know! If I get enough reviews, I might write more. Send me notes with requests if you'd like. I am lacking in ideas currently, so I'd love to hear yours. :)

Cheers. x

~ Cay.