This will be a short story. Just a few scenes. I'm feeling nostalgic of the good old days now. Rewatching the behind the scenes videos. Sniffling over RA discussing the death scene. Watching the first film. This story is just a vignette of what is in my heart these days.
It was ten years after the reclaiming of Erebor when Fili was sitting in his study, and a loud impatient knock came to his door. He didn't even manage to allow a visitor entrance, when the door flew open, and a panting courtier rushed inside.
"My lord… By the gates…"
Fili raised his eyebrows, shocked by the man's impertinence. In the last ten years he had quite forgotten that people could treat him in any other way but as the King Under the Mountain - with the utmost reverence and respect.
"There is a trouble… Well…" the guard continued mumbling, and Fili waited. He was a patient person, and after all, the man clearly had a reason good enough for such odd behaviour. "A Khuzd is trying to enter Erebor. He has no papers allowing him entrance, and… None at all, to think of it… But..." Fili put down his quill and gave the courtier a heavy look. In most cases that was enough to nudge people in the right direction.
"He claims to be your Uncle, King Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror..." the guard finally muttered, choking words out of himself. "But he is dead, and has been since the Battle of Five Armies, and we didn't let him in..." Fili was already rushing by the guard, into the passage, when the last words reached his hearing. "And he brought the Long Ones with him, claiming they are his kin..."
A dozen possibilities rushed through Fili's mind as he was running through the passages. Unlike many of his people, he did possess imagination, and his mind could hardly be called rigid. An imposter? A miracle? A resurrection gifted by the blood of Durin in their family's blood? Each of the ideas brought memories and assumptions with it. He remembered the last stand on the Ravenhill. He remembered the view of Azog's blade piercing his Uncle's body. His own body echoed the pain, the pain of his own wounds. His limbs broken and his own blood leaving a wide trail behind him, when he crawled out of the ruins, and the view of Kili, supported by the Elf, appearing from the other side of the observation ledge.
They looked down then, and saw the two figures on the ice. Two bodies, locked in a combat, linked by two blades, each having entered the chest of the opponent. And then the ice broke under them... and it was over. They could still see the black water running under the scarlet ice, but the waters were calm.
The last memory flashing through Fili's mind as he was turning the corner to enter the visitor's halls was of his mother insisting on holding the funeral for her brother. As much as Fili and Kili argued, she was adamant. And then Gandalf the Grey took Fili aside, and till this day Fili remembered his words.
"She lost another brother." The wizard gave him a soft smile. "She won't see peace until she can grieve properly. And without grief she will not enjoy the joy of having her sons and her home back."
Fili pushed the door, his sensitive hearing already catching the agitated voices inside.
He wouldn't be able to later tell who else was in the room. There were perhaps guards - someone was still talking - and later he would try to remember what the other people who came with his Uncle were doing, but all he could see was the tall figure of Thorin Oakenshield in the center of the room.
"Fili," the Dwarf spoke in a low voice, and a small smile touched his lips. "Shamukh, sakhkhmi astû galikh." Greetings, it is good to see you again. The traditional Khuzdul greeting sounded grave in the suddenly silent room, and Fili took a swift step forward and his hand lay on the Dwarf's shoulder.
He was not an apparition, nor an illusion, and Fili's hand clenched around a fistful of a travelling cloak.
"Uncle..." he breathed out, and a small - so very familiar - tilted nod followed.
"Aye," Thorin Oakenshield answered, and Fili rushed into an embrace.
He felt the same confidence in the movement, the same firm pressure of the man's arm around Fili's shoulders. And just as all those years ago the large hand patted him between his shoulder blades, and he was released.
With the first shock receding, Fili could finally look the Dwarf over. Little seemingly had changed since the day Fili last saw him in Erebor, going into the battle. Perhaps, there was more weight - they had been starved then, sieged in the ruins of the Mountain. The beard was longer, with a short braid at its end, and an ornate bead. There was much more silver in the hair. To think of it, it was now ebony that decorated the silver, and not the other way around.
And then Fili met his Uncle's eyes and recognised the greatest change in the Dwarf. The eyes were glimmering with some sort of calm light that Fili never remembered having seen in them. There was no burden, no pain; just some content merry tranquility.
"How… How are you alive?" Fili spoke, and the familiar smirk curled up one corner of his Uncle's lips.
"Shall I be invited to the home of my people… my lord?" Thorin asked, purposeful pause before the moniker, and Fili flinched.
He then looked around the room, finally paying attention to those surrounding him and Uncle. The courtiers were standing by the wall, pale, disbelief colouring their faces. He could see that they had just as many questions as he did. They were also in anticipation to rush and tell anyone who listened about the return of King Thorin. The situation had to be contained - and quickly.
"Do you wish others to know about your return?" he asked Thorin quickly, not sure how to proceed, and a low chuckle rumbled in Thorin's chest.
"It is for you to decide. It is your Mountain now."
Fili felt confused, and even apprehensive. In the last ten years he was the one to make all decisions, and as much he doubted himself when alone with his thoughts, he had gotten quite used to it. And now, facing the man he had always looked up to, he felt young and inexperienced again. He noticed Thorin watch him, as if he could clearly see Fili's predicament, and then a small figure behind Thorin shifted, and Fili saw a small woman of Men. She wore a travel cloak as well, and held a hand of a small Dwarven boy. The boy had the same dark locks that Fili remembered on his Uncle many years ago, and the eyes shone like cerulean sapphires, curious and lively.
"Welcome back to Erebor, my lord," Fili pronounced slowly, giving Thorin a bow. He kept it light, respectful, but not lowly. "It is a joyous day to see your return."
He gestured at the doors with a wide inviting wave of his hand, and saw the expression in his Uncle's eyes grow impish.
"It is joy to be back. And I hope an exception can be made… Out of the rule that no Man can enter the Inner Halls." He lifted his arm, and the small woman stepped closer to him. She pushed the hood off her head, and Fili saw astonishingly bright copper hair, intricately braided around her head. "My wife, Wren of Enedwaith. And my son, Thror, son of Thorin." The boy bestowed Fili with a decorous bow, his face schooled in a polite expression.
Fili bowed to the woman and nodded to the boy.
"It is an honour to meet you both."
There was a strange smile playing on the lips of the woman's red wide mouth, but Fili decided there were things of bigger importance to ponder at the moment.
Two courtiers rushed to the doors to the Inner Halls, and Thorin, with the woman and the boy following him, passed Fili. There was a slight limp to his step. He was clearly favouring the right leg, which, as Fili remembered, Azog had crushed in the midst of their fight.
To be continued...