Wa and Gump

Dedicated to Marigoldfaucet who came up with the names

"Wa!" Kíli crowed excitedly.

Dwalin sighed. The little boy was speaking so well, but he did not seem to be able to pronounce this one word correctly.

"Dwalin," he repeated patiently.

"Wa!" said Kíli

"No, Kíli. Listen! Dwalin."

"Wa!"

"Listen carefully. Dwalin. Dwa-lin. DWA-LIN."

"Wawi," Kíli repeated with great effort. He beamed up at Dwalin excitedly. "Wawi!"

The dwarfling clapped his pudgy little hands excitedly. "Wawi!"

"Much better, Kíli. But it's Dwalin. Dwalin."

"Wawi."

"Listen. Dwalin. Starts with a D. D like…" Dwalin hesitated. Dís. Death. Dragon. Danger. D… Dog. "D like Dog. Can you say dog?"

"Dog," Kíli said earnestly.

"D-Dog."

"D-Dog."

"D-walin."

"Wawi."

"Do the dog sound. D. D-walin."

Kíli scrunched up his little face, eyebrows drawn together in concentration. He gulped down a deep breath.

"Dadi!"

He grinned broadly and hopped down from Dwalin's knee excitedly.

"Dadi, Dadi, Dadi!" he shouted, dancing around the room, obviously proud of his achievement.

Dwalin did not say anything. He sat stiffly, his back rigid. He heard only one thing. Something he had wanted to be called for decades. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. A little dwarfling calling him daddy. Dwalin balled his fists. Dwalin. Kíli was just mispronouncing Dwalin. He would never be called daddy. His One had married another. He would just be Dwalin for the rest of his life. Not daddy, just Dadi, just Dwalin.

Dís appeared in the doorframe, peeking into the room curiously.

"Daddy?" she asked, eyebrows raised as she watched her youngest jump up and down in front of her.

"Dadi!" exclaimed Kíli, pointing right at Dwalin. Dís looked confused for a moment. Daddy. She had certainly not expected that. Kíli had never had anybody to call daddy.

"Dadi," Kíli repeated. "I learned his name right. Name is Dadi!"

Understanding dawned on Dís' face.

"Not Wa anymore, eh?" she said, looking at Dwalin with a smirk. "Come along now, you little rascal, leave Mister Dwalin alone."

She ushered her son into the kitchen with a last wink at her brother's friend.

Dwalin sat silently for a while, then he shook himself. It was nothing. Just a dwarfling learning how to speak properly. Just a difficult word for Kíli. Dadi. Not daddy. Never. Just Dwalin.

Dwalin heaved himself out of his chair. He needed to clear his head. He headed out of the back door, trying to not look at Dís as he walked through the kitchen and consciously closing his ears to Kíli's renewed cries of "Dadi!"

As soon as Dwalin had closed the door behind him, a tall figure barrelled into him. His well-trained reflexes kicked in and he had his fists up to defend himself in a heartbeat. He hesitated just a moment too long as he recognised his attacker as Thorin. Immediately, Dwalin found himself pinned against the rough stone wall, his best friend's forearm pressed firmly across his throat, cutting off his breath.

"You traitor," Thorin hissed through gritted teeth, grasping Dwalin's wrists with his left hand, "How dare you try and replace Kíli's father? How dare you?!"

Dwalin's eyes widened and he tried to shake his head as much as he could in this position.

Thorin got even closer to him and spat right into his face: "You think I don't know you are trying to get into Dís' knickers? Don't try and draw my nephews into that. You might get under Dís' skirts…"

Dwalin roughly yanked his wrists apart, breaking Thorin's iron grip and grasped his friend around the hip, pushing him backwards. Finally free, he growled low in his throat.

"Watch your tongue, Thorin," he snarled, "Dís has found and married her One. Don't drag her honour into the mud! Say what you want about me, but don't doubt that I will defend her to the last, even against her own brother! I have no desire to dishonour her or to steal Kíli away from his father."

"Why is he calling you daddy then?" Thorin hissed, struggling against Dwalin's grip.

"Dadi. He was saying Dadi."

"I know what I heard."

"He is young. He is not pronouncing everything correctly."

"He called you daddy," Thorin insisted.

"Dadi. Kíli has trouble with names," Dwalin explained, trying hard to not just knock sense into Thorin. "You should know that… Gump!"

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Gump is (according to my dear friend Marigoldfaucet) what little Kíli calls Thorin. It may or may not be his version of "Grump".