A/N: Here we are again. This is, I suppose, a song-fic-but it is based around the beautiful poetry of Pippin's song from Return of the King.

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Home is Behind

They do not look back until they reach the lower ridge of the mountain they have scaled a hundred times as wee dwarrows. Then Kili pauses, a half-step behind his brother, and Fili sees that his eyes are wide and dark with memory as he squints into the distance.

Fili knows what he sees. He can see it too, the furl of smoke from the chimney, the broad lines of the roof.

Mother is there, all alone.

Fili reaches forward and clasps his brother's hand.

They turn their backs on home together.

The World Ahead

Kili is glad now that Fili convinced him to wager for the hobbit. His brother had seemed sure, somehow, that Mr. Boggins would come through, and here he is, babbling on about the contract and trying not to look intimidated by Thorin.

Kili wishes him the best of luck with that.

The hobbit doesn't want a pony. Kili chuckles, at that, and then catches his brother's eye. Fili is grinning, sly and knowing, and there is a pony just behind—

They are laughing together as they grip poor Mr. Boggins by the collar.

And There Are Many Paths to Tread

He will never admit it to his uncle, or to his brother, who is bytimes hurling pastries and trying to flirt with elves, but Fili feels Rivendell seeping into his blood. There is something about this peace, this quiet, the powerful, silent grace of the elves—it is like nothing he has ever seen, nothing he has ever known, and he wishes they could stay longer, that he might know it better.

But his uncle is eager to be gone, jaw set and eyes fixed on the Misty Mountains, and Fili rolls his and Kili's packs tightly, shoulders his burdens and goes with the company.

Through Shadow

Kili is afraid. He has been afraid since the goblin horde, and he is more so than ever now, when the pale orc, the thrice-accursed Azog faces them behind the flames. His strange light eyes are cruel and savage, his sharp-toothed rictus ghastly in a hideous face. And Thorin—Kili sees his uncle's haunted gaze, watches him stride, no, charge to meet his enemy, and Kili hears his brother cry "Thorin!" when the white warg's jaws clench their uncle's body.

Kili was afraid, but he feels only anger now as they plunge together through shadow and flame to their uncle's side.

To the Edge of Night

Bilbo said the forest felt sick. Thorin orders them to march forward, to keep on the road, and Fili clenches his teeth, tries to block out the dreamy, dead smell of fallen leaves, the throbbing thickness of the air. But he has to breathe, doesn't he? They all have to breathe and there is so little air—

He can't think, he can't see straight, and he reaches for his brother. Is this what dying feels like?

Until the Stars are All Alight

She is so beautiful. Kili knows that his brother will think him a fool, and Mahal help him if Thorin finds out—but her hair is like fire and her skin like ivory, and he longs to tangle her cool fingers in his. He flirts with her the only way he knows how, cheeky and playful, but she is fascinated rather than repulsed.

And she saves him, saves him from the orcs, when his leg is screaming in pain—he wishes that he could have stayed, or that she could have come, but he could not leave them, not his people, not his uncle, not his brother.

Mist and Shadow

He longs for the mountain. Not as Thorin longs—but Fili wants more than anything to see their homeland, Erebor, a word as rich and ringing as hammer upon stone. He wants—

But his brother is wounded, his face is pale like snowfall, and Thorin can shame him and blame him for his choice, but Fili is his brother's keeper and he knows where he belongs.

Cloud and Shade

Bilbo tells them to leave, but Fili runs ahead, and Kili follows his brother. There is so much gold, and he feels a heaviness in his chest—something like fear, or distaste, or wonder. He does not know. Thorin barely greets them. He throws a ruby at Fili, and Fili catches it, but he holds it heavily in his hand, as though he is holding his own heart, red and bleeding.

Kili does not know what has gone wrong. Kili had thought that this—the Mountain, the gold—this would mean winning.

All Shall Fade

He does not ask for much. Only that Thorin leads, and they follow, his sister-sons, chanting the battle-cries of their people, fighting in the wake of their king.

It is brutal; it is glorious. But Fili is filled with hope—because surely, this is not the end. It is the beginning—

But he is ready, when it comes. He feels the tremors in the stone beneath his feet, and he is ready, he will not be afraid—

He does not ask for much. Only that his brother is safe.

Only that they run.

All Shall Fade

His brother is dead. His brother has fallen before him, blue eyes unseeing, and there is blood on his face and oh, Fili

Kili runs and roars and fights, and he knows it is wrong, but he wants to die, wants to go, because if he dies soon, perhaps Fili will not have wandered too far away from him—

He needs to see Fili again.

Then Tauriel comes, and he fights, for her, because she lives, and for his brother, because his brother, his brother is dead—and when the stake strikes downward, in and through, he no longer wants to die (not yet) and it is better that way, to pass with courage instead of despair.

He did not want to die, and the pain on her face hurts him, and the grief he knows will haunt his uncle's heart, but brother is the last word in his mind and unspoken on his lips, and it is Fili he will follow, one last time.