A/N: Hello everyone! So as you all read this fic was inspired by WerewulfTherewulf (FerrellOConnellMcGee)'s fic Why Must You Be So Blind over on Archive Of Our Own. After my story Drifting Apart her and I were in agreeance that there just wasn't enough Fíli angst out there (although its increased a bit so I think we may have started something :P ) so she gifted the fic to me. This is my gift to her. Originally it was going to be a single shot but I realised this would probably work better as a multi-chapter anyway so I thought I'd post the first chapter for you all now :)
Now for those who have read the original fic you may notice a bit of variation, like the fact that Thorin has never been aware until now that Fíli is dyslexic. Most of this chapter had been written two or three weeks ago and was completed before some of the more recent chapters. But hey it's fiction and we're allowed to change bits and pieces :P
PLEASE! Be aware there will be more tags added that may be triggers, I will outline them as appropriate so as not to give everything away.
Tags for the story: Child neglect, mentions of suicide, running away, dyslexia, past attempted suicide, self hatred, mention of underage drug/alcohol use, loneliness, mentions of self harm, more tags to be added Note! These are only mentioned, none actually occur in the story!
As much as it breaks my heart I do not own the writings or the characters of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, they are the wonderful and exclusive workings of J.R.R Tolkien
Thorin huffed in irritation, wishing he had decided to ignore the invite for a drink rather than agree and find himself forced to sit unwillingly through a verbal dressing down for his attitude towards his oldest nephew by his two best friends.
Dwalin had invited him over on the pretence of a relaxing night over a brandy or two, only to have the pair set on him like rabid dogs when he answered their questions about the boys in his usual way; singing praises of Kíli, barely able to contain the spite he held for Fíli. In his opinion the boy was more trouble than he was worth, on more than one occasion he had found himself wishing it had been the blond and not his baby sister who had perished in the fire. At least his sister didn't look like the worthless scum that had gotten her pregnant.
There was a thump on the oaken table, snapping his attention back to his friends and he couldn't help but roll his eyes at the expressions on their faces; Dwalin was positively seething whereas Balin just looked disappointed.
"Yer haven't listened to a word I've said have yer?" Dwalin asked, his voice a furious growl.
"No. I haven't." Thorin said impatiently. "I came here under the impression I was in for a good night, not to be shouted at for my parenting skills."
"Fine!" Dwalin snapped "Seeing as yer weren't listening, I'll say it again. Yer behaviour, frankly everything yer do in regards to Fíli is appalling. Why he hasn't already left or run away by now is beyond me."
"He has run away, twice I might add." Thorin said curtly. "The boy is useless, he's never put any effort in at school, in fact he's barely scraping by with English which is a core subject let me remind you. If the boy won't invest his time in his education, if he won't take it seriously then why should I invest in him?"
Balin shook his head sadly at his friend. He'd known he should have stepped in years ago, taken Fíli out of Thorin's house and into his own where he could be loved but Fíli had refused. His reason being he didn't want to leave Kíli behind, but more importantly he didn't want Kíli to forget him. A childish fear Balin had always thought, but it appeared to be a very real one all the same.
"Have you never once stopped to ask why he might have trouble with his English class?" Balin asked instead, determined to get his friend to see how badly he had mistreated the blond for it had gone on for long enough, and nothing Fíli said would hold him back now.
"It's called him being lazy-"
"It's called him being dyslexic." Balin snapped.
There was a pregnant pause in the room before Thorin spluttered indignantly. "Fíli's not dyslexic."
"Yes he is." Dwalin growled.
"And how would you know?"
"How would yer?" Dwalin countered, a brow raised. Seeing Thorin's pause he seized the silence. "The boy told Balin that weekend you went away before Kíli's birthday after they lost their folks, said that every time he tried to tell yer, especially when he was having problems reading right under yer nose yer shut him down and wouldn't let him explain."
Thorin's mouth opened and closed several times before Dwalin charged on.
"Balin told me after yer picked them up, and we went to the school to talk to them about arranging special aide, which we both contributed to for yer information. Arranged a tutor for the kid as we figured yer wouldn't bother."
"And because of the aide Fíli's grades improved." Balin said matter-of-factly.
Overcoming his temporary shock and annoyance at his friends paying for his useless charge Thorin shook his head and snorted in amusement.
"Clearly the aide couldn't handle him; his grades fell again after a year with them.
Dwalin dug his fingers into the table to restrain himself from leaping over it and landing a right hook on his friends jaw.
"Thorin." Balin snapped angrily "the only reason Fíli's grades fell is because his tutor didn't return for the summer as they had sick family to take care of. Plus the school got a new principle and somehow his documents, along with a few other students got lost which meant that the new principle wasn't aware of his need for a tutor, and he had a new teacher who was unaware of his dyslexia. Dwalin and I were overseas for two months before the school finally called and asked us to come in to discuss his grades."
"Why would they call you?" Thorin asked, furrowing his brow in irritation.
"Because we changed his emergency contact details to our own which meant less pressure on the lad if he didn't have to be terrified of your reaction. Since the meeting with his school and working with a tutor he's improved despite several setbacks; he won't be top of the class for English and probably never will but his grades are high enough for him to pass."
"Why do you even care about him? The boy is worthless Balin! He always has been and always will be!" Thorin hissed angrily, only to have Balin contradict him once more.
"Worthless?!" Balin spluttered in shock "Fíli is anything but worthless Thorin! He's the top of his art, photography, maths and science classes! He was also the lead in three school plays which I know he never told you or Kíli about, and did them incredibly well despite having difficulty with the scripts! If you had even spared him a glance growing up you would have seen how talented that boy is-"
"He's worthless! Just like his father." Thorin spat, cutting his friend off before he could sing empty praises of the boy.
Dwalin and Balin stared at Thorin in shock before Balin found his voice.
"So that's what all this has been about?" He asked in a whisper "It's not Fíli whose the issue, but his father? And because he looks just like him... that's why you've mistreated the lad?!"
"The apple never falls far from the tree Balin, especially when both are rotten." Thorin growled.
Balin had to physically restrain his brother from leaping at his friend. Although he could stop him physically, he couldn't do so verbally.
"Yer bastard!" Dwalin roared, slamming his fist on the table as he surged to his feet. "Fíli is NOTHING like his father! If yer had even once shown him the same love yer do Kíli yer would see what a kind, talented and loving boy he is! How would yer feel if yer parents had been killed and yer reminded yer guardians of someone they hated?"
The corner of Thorin's lip curled as he snarled at his friends. "This is different-"
"Yer've abused him-" Dwalin spat
"No I haven't!" Thorin yelled, getting to his feet and slamming his fist on the table.
"Yes yer have, every rejection, every cruel word has been like physically hitting him-"
"I'M NOT HIS FATHER!"
"NEITHER IS HE!"
Dead silence followed Dwalin's outburst as the two friends stared each other down, chests heaving in anger.
Balin looked between the two friends before speaking quietly.
"Thorin what would Dís say if she saw how you've treated him? She never loved him less because of his looks, and he was a victim to his father as much as she was. Or have you forgotten that he had more bruises than not when they arrived on your doorstep?"
Thorin only glared at him in response so he continued on. "She'd never speak to you again-"
"Dís wouldn't have ignored me." Thorin cut in
"Yes she would have" Balin snapped. "She'd have taken them both and never looked back. You've made the boy suffer for something that was outside his control. You've acted just like his father."
Thorin sat there staring at his friends, silent with Balin's accusations ringing in his ears. Mentally he vehemently denied everything that Balin was saying; he'd never laid a hand against the boy. Sure he had been rough one or two times but never had he harmed him physically.
But every spiteful, horrid thought about the boy and his friends backing him up caused the seed of doubt to grow stronger in his mind; did just because he hadn't laid a hand against the blond mean he was completely innocent? Had he really abused the boy mentally in a way even his own father had not?
Thorin forced himself to look at the boy from an outsider's view, a difficult task but one he managed to do none the less. On the outside was a blond teenager nearing adulthood whose genes he'd had no control over; just like his heritage. On the inside though when he rarely got to see it was a boy who cared for his brother, was polite and respectful (although that may not have been by choice) and always put others before himself, not a selfish, violent child he had created in his mind. Thinking back over the years since he had gotten the boys he realised that whilst he hadn't laid a hand on the boy for punishment, he hadn't even laid a hand on the boy lovingly. He realised with growing horror that every word, every action against his oldest nephew had never been in a loving way, instead it was cruel, scathing and insulting even if it was done unknowingly and he now knew it was the reason Fíli cringed whenever he came near, refused to look at him unless forced and spoke rarely in his presence.
Thorin thought he might be sick.
"What have I done?" He whispered to himself, collapsing into his seat with a shocked look on his face.
Dwalin and Balin watched with relief as realisation dawned on Thorin over what he had done to Fíli, thankfully their interference hadn't fallen on deaf ears and they had a chance of saving the blond before it was too late.
"I've hurt him haven't I?" Thorin whispered, squeezing his eyes shut as he refused to let any tears fall knowing he wasn't the one who deserved sympathy.
"No Thorin yer haven't hurt him, yer've broken him." Dwalin said quietly, calmer now that Thorin saw what they did.
"Do you think I can fix it? Fix what I've done?" Thorin asked hoarsely as he looked at his friends for some kind of hope.
Balin shook his head regrettably. "No, you've pushed him too far away. Perhaps in time he will accept your apologies, but he'll never consider you family. The damage is done I'm afraid."
Thorin buried has face in his hands as he tried to cope with the emotions surging through him; grief, disgust at himself, regret for his actions, fear for how he should deal with it, sadness at the thought of a little boy having to grow up unloved and alone.
"You know the only reason he didn't alert the authorities all these years is because he wanted Kíli to be happy; and Kíli was happy with you. Many teachers have guessed as to what was happening over the years, they even brought us in when a counsellor spoke to him but he denied mistreatment and there were never any physical signs for them to back up their suspicions. He was terrified of angering you but more so terrified that he and Kíli would be separated and never see each other again." Balin said quietly. He didn't say it to make Thorin feel better, on the contrary it was to show him how many others had noticed and how bad it had gotten.
"Why now?" Thorin asked as he raised his head and looked at the pair imploringly with grief-filled eyes. "Why come to me now Balin? Why not years ago when I could have fixed this? When I had a chance to make up for my mistakes?"
"Because as much as we've wanted to wring your neck for how you've mistreated him, honouring his trust is more important. He said himself that aside from Kíli we are the only two he trusts. Yes we could have stopped it years ago but we'd never gain his trust back, and that boy needs someone he can rely on." Balin looked at his brother nervously only to receive a nod to continue on.
"But the situation has changed Thorin-"
"How so?" Thorin interrupted with a frown.
"The only reason we decided to say anything tonight is because he left his art book open on the table yesterday and he... his art is becoming darker, more twisted and hateful towards himself. Thorin I-" Balin took a deep breath before continuing on
"I think he wants to give up."
Thorin looked blankly at his friends as what Balin said sunk in slowly. When realised what Balin was implying his mouth fell open in shock. "No. No your wrong," he said slowly "he wouldn't try something like that, he wouldn't do that to Kíli."
"Thorin, Fíli has tried it before remember? And that was back when Kíli still clung to him, afraid he'd disappear. Now Kíli has his own friends, Fíli was saying he hadn't spoken to him in two weeks as he is always out with his mates." Dwalin said quietly.
Thorin sat there processing what he'd been told. Truth be told he hadn't even realised the brothers hadn't seen each other for so long, Kíli was out every night and up until tonight he tried to believe that the blond didn't exist, regardless of him locking himself in his room. To think that Fíli had gotten so –
Thorin's eyes widened in horror and he leapt from his seat, staring at his friends as his mouth tried to find the words to convey his sudden realisation.
"Thorin?" Balin asked slowly with furrowed brows "what's the-"
"Fíli's home alone tonight! If he's getting as bad as you think..." He trailed off into silence. Nobody moved or made a noise for several seconds, just looking between each other in fear.
"Shit." Was all that was muttered as the trio scrambled to the car.