Death. There was no escaping it. It seemed as if death itself was going swallow him whole, for death seemed to have a particular fondness for his kin.

First it was Frerin – sweet, happy Frerin, who had not the slightest care in the world. His sweet younger brother was struck down quickly at the battle of Azanulbizar, and Thorin could only grip his younger brother's hand as the light faded from his eyes.

Secondly it was his grandfather, Thror. Thror in all of his kingly glory had tried to face the pale orc all on his own; however, the beast prevailed. After witnessing his brother's death, Thorin could hardly contain the guttural cry of anguish as Thror's head rolled by his feet, and with a war cry of his own, his only thought was avenging his brother and grandfather.

Thorin then lost his father, Thrain. Many believed the battle scarred prince had perished along side his father in the battle of Azanulbizar, but no body was found. Others, one being Thorin himself believed that Thrain had headed out into the wilderness and was hiding from the world until signs hinted that Erebor was ready to be reclaimed. Regardless of the prince's fate, Thrain was no where to be found, and by all means, he was just another priceless memory.

Now, now as he listened to the anguished cries of his sister, he believed his family was cursed.

Vili, the blonde bearded son of Flarmin, distinguished minor and warrior, had just perished in a perimeter check that very night. A small band of rouge orcs had been prowling the blue mountains for a number of days, and while Vili took out the majority of them single handedly, an orcish blade managed to pierce his armor and silence his heart. He was a dead man the second the blade met his flesh, and the poor dwarf was found lying in a pool of his own blood two hours later.

Thorin had been one of the first on the scene, and from the first moment his eyes focused on a mess of blonde hair amongst the bodies of several dead orcs, his heart clinched. After seeing to it that Vili's body was properly transported to the town's morgue for burial prep., Thorin was given the undesirable job of informing Vili's wife – Thorin's own sister, Dis – of Vili's death.

The strong daughter of Durin had taken the death of their brother and grandfather, and the disappearance of their father in stride. The death of Frerin seemingly hit her the hardest out of the three, but she refused to break down in front of her brother and husband. She had simply whipped her hands in her apron, allowed a few tears to fall, and turned her attention to Fili who sat quietly by the fire playing with a handful of numerous toys. She was in the early stages of pregnancy with her second child at the time, and while she watched Fili with fondness, one hand found her stomach as if she tried to comfort the growing fetus. In reality, she was trying to comfort herself, but the dark haired princess wasn't about to allow anyone to watch her crumble. She had sat there with a strong jaw, and only mourned her losses behind closed doors. But then, with a young boy gripping one hand and another growing inside her, the new mother had very little time to herself, and she pushed past their deaths quickly.

However, the second Thorin stepped through her door to deliver the news of Vili's death, Dis could no longer keep up appearances. She had crumpled to the floor in a heap of tears, and the pain was so deep that she could scarcely breathe. She had cracked. All those months of holding back tears could not have prepared her for this, and she didn't dare try to stifle the sobs racking her body. Her handsome, kind Vili – her husband and father of her children both born and unborn – was gone. Her One was gone.

Thorin had tried to comfort her. He had tried to bring his sister into his arms, but the princess wouldn't have it. She shoved him away the second his hand touched her cheek, and Thorin could do nothing but cradle Fili and pull him away from his mother when the blue eyed child tried to go to her.

Fili didn't understand. He didn't know what was wrong with his mother, and over and over he begged his uncle to find his father – that his "daddy" would know what to do. Not having the heart to break the horrid news to his nephew, Thorin simply pushed the boy's golden hair out of his face and told him that his father was away, and that they would have to take care of his mother while Vili was gone. It was a big boy job, yes, but Thorin insisted that Fili could do it.

With a fixed look – one beyond the youth's years, Fili nodded and turned to face his mother. It was then a second tragedy occurred.

Amongst her tears, Dis's eyes suddenly shot open, and her fingers began to tear at the fabric of her dress just below her stomach. Her wails of sadness shifted to cries of pain, and the dwarf maid crumpled in on herself, teeth gritting in agony.

"DIS?!" Thorin exclaimed in alarm, pushing past his young nephew. The dwarf prince grasped his sister's face between his calloused palms, trying to search her face desperately for any clues as to what was ailing his youngest sibling.

"Dis? Dis! Tell me what's wrong!" He shook her shoulders lightly, trying to catch Dis's painful, wandering gaze.

The dwarf maid shook her head and gasped, her tears streaming down her red cheeks freely. One hand left her stomach to take hold of her brother's forearm in a death grip, and with what force she could muster, she sucked in a deep breath and tried to focus on his face.

"The baby…something is wrong…Thorin."

Thorin blanched, his face draining of all color. Eyes full of worry quickly shifted to fear as his sister gripped her stomach again and cried out in pain.

Turning to look over his shoulder at Fili, Thorin motioned his nephew over and took hold of his small shoulder. Despite being frightened himself, Thorin offered Fili a soft smile of reassurance, for the poor boy looked as if he would faint at any moment.

"Fili, listen to me. Your baby brother or sister is on its way. I need you to run down the street and fetch Oin for me, okay?"

"Is my baby brother or sister okay? Why is momma crying? Is she hurt?" Fili fumbled nervously with the hem of his tunic, eyes wide.

Thorin sighed and smiled again, though he spoke with more urgency than before.

"Your mother will be okay, Fili. We need Oin so that he can help bring your sibling into the world safely, okay?" Thorin squeezed Fili's shoulder, urging him to the door. "You must hurry though! Tell Oin it is extremely important that he come with you."

Fili nodded, though he was unable to grasp the severity of the situation. He didn't understand that his mother's screams were unnatural, or that his sibling was coming two months early. He didn't understand that the lives of both his mother and his sibling were in danger, though Thorin did not want to inform his nephew of that. He needed Fili calm, and he would not present the child with any unnecessary bad news.

"Hurry now Fili! Out the door with you!" Thorin nudged the child out the door, tossing him his cloak. Fili quickly tied the fabric around his neck the best he could before he ran as fast as his short legs would carry him.

Once the boy had disappeared amongst the buildings, Thorin turned his attention back to his sister. The gruff king quickly slipped an arm around his sister's waist and helped her to her feet. He ushered her to her room, and with all the strength he could muster, he picked her up and placed her on the bed.

By this point, blood had begun to soak through her clothing, and had left a faint trail on the wood floor of their simple abode. Thorin quickly grabbed clean towels and sheets – really anything he could find that might be of use, and he hastily cleaned the trail his sister had left. He hadn't wanted blood to be the first thing Fili saw when he re-entered the house, for he knew the youth would have panicked. Blood meant "boo-boos" and pain, and simply based on the screams coming from his sister's bedroom, his nephew would have feared the worst.

With the floor now void of any blood, Thorin returned to his sister's bedside and pulled up a chair. He swiftly took hold of Dis's sweaty hand and shushed her gently. At this point, there was very little he could do. He wasn't a healer, and he definitely didn't know how to deliver a baby. He could only hope and pray that Oin got their quickly, for the King could not bear yet another death.

Oin hadn't been terribly busy. Granted, a handful of ill dwarrows and one grumpy warrior with a broken leg could undoubtedly keep him occupied for the rest of the evening, but he wasn't overwhelmed. It was a welcomed change after the last couple of months. While many had perished in the battle of Azanulbizar, just as many had been wounded, and it was Oin's duty (along with his multitude of assistants) to tend to them. Some had unfortunately died in his care - fever, infection, and blood loss seemed to be the culprit – but those who did survive had spent quite a bit if time under his roof. Oin was now pleased to find that things within his house of healing had gone back to normal - a few sick dwarves here and there, broken bones, the usual cuts and scrapes, but nothing out of the ordinary.

For that reason, when the old healer had heard a knock at his door, he hadn't expected a frantic, breathless dwarfling to be standing on the other side.

"Mahal, Fili! What on earth are ye' doing out here all alone laddie?" Oin asked, scooping the child up in his arms. Fili's little chest heaved in exhaustion as he clung to the front of Oin's tunic, and it took him a few moments to finally regain his composure.

Balin, who had been delivering a few scrolls to Oin had heard Oin's startled cry from the other room, and his white beard poked around the corner when his youngest cousin's name had been exclaimed. With a look of concern, Balin crossed the foyer and came up beside Oin, placing a gentle hand on the blonde dwarfling's back.

"What's wrong with our little prince?" Balin asked, his question directed towards Fili as he smiled gently at the youth.

"That is what I'm trying to find out, dear cousin." Oin replied, his gaze shifting between both the boy in his arms and Balin. "Come now Fili, what has happened?"

Comfortable in the care of two dwarves he knew well, Fili anxiously pointed in the general direction of his home, squirming in Oin's arms.

"Uncle sent me! He said for me to get you and to hurry, 'cause my baby brother or sister is on its way!"

Oin's eyes widened in alarm. Lady Dis was not due for another two months. If she was indeed going into labor, then something was terribly wrong.

"Alright laddie, alright, calm down now," he instructed, shushing the squirming child. "You stay here with cousin Balin while I go grab my things, okay?"

Fili nodded, blue eyes watching every move the healer made. Oin sat Fili down, and while the healer went to round up the items needed to assist Dis, Balin stood close to Fili, keeping a firm hand on the boy's shoulder to make sure he didn't scurry away. When the two of them were alone, Balin gave his full attention to the youth.

"Where is your father, Fili? Why did your uncle send you instead of coming himself?" Balin asked, squatting to meet the dwarfling's wide-eyed gaze.

Fili simply shrugged, chewing on his lower lip by habit.

"Uncle said da' was away. He didn't tell me where, but that I had to help him take care of momma."

Balin's brow creased, pursing his lips in concern. That was unlike Thorin. Usually the blunt King was just that…blunt. Even though Fili was just a child, Thorin, unless the situation was dire, would have provided the child with a better explanation than that. Something had to be wrong – he just knew it. Balin knew Thorin well enough to know that something was terribly amiss, and when Oin rounded the corner toting a bag of supplies, he gave the healer a wary glance.

"Alright laddie, lets go visit your mum." The healer smiled and took hold of Fili's hand, allowing the anxious dwarfling to lead him to the door.

"If you don't mind Oin, I'd like to tag along. I need to speak to Thorin about something," Balin said, stepping up to match the pace of the healer.

Oin simply nodded, not at all minding the extra company. Mahal only knew the state Lady Dis was in, and a handful of her kin would surely bring her comfort.

This is going to be a multi-chapter fic. I am hoping to finish it off in the next chapter, but it could very well end up being three chapters long - three chapters of Durin Angst! Prepare yourselves.

Obviously, I made up Fili and Kili's father's name. Tolkien never revealed what their father's name was, and in order to make this story flow, I had to come up with something. From what I know, dwarf children, especially boys, are usually given names that rhyme. I can only assume that Fili and Kili's father would have had a name similar to them, and wanting to go the easy route, "Vili" just sort of fit. "Vili" is not a cannon name, so do not misinterpret my use of it as such.

I have already started on the next chapter, so be expecting it in the next few days. A few reviews though might speed me along and encourage my creative juices. ;)

AND while you are at it, please go read my first "Hobbit" fanfic - "A Long Way Down to the Bottom of the River." If you like Durin angst, especially angst focused on Kili, then I think you'll like it.

Take care!

~ Cay.