The last chapter of this story... But not of this series! My thanks go to all my readers and especially pallysdeeks and franco-andrade for their comments!
Tauriel couldn't sleep.
Sitting on the couch in the dark living room, her laptop on her knees, she was watching video after video about women who miscarried, who had stillborn babies, whose babies died within the first year due to sudden infant death syndrome. It wasn't fair, and it was so sad. Parents who mourned the loss of their child. Tauriel couldn't stop crying.
Each new video let fresh tears well up in her eyes because she felt for them, she felt for all those potential mothers and fathers. Of course she did. She was one of them now.
This was how Fili found her.
"Hey, what are you doing here, it's half past three in the morning", he quietly said, coming over to her on his bare feet, wearing boxers and a t-shirt.
Then he frowned. "You are crying! What's wrong? Are you in pain? Shall I take you to the hospital?"
Tauriel shook her head and wiped away her tears. She hated to cry in front of others. So far she had been the only one not crying about the loss of their baby, Kili had cried, as had Fili and even Legolas. Gimli didn't though. But it hadn't been his child who had died. It had been hers!
Why couldn't she cry about it? Why did she need to watch sad online videos in order to feel anything? What was wrong with her? And even Fili thought that she was crying because she was in pain, not because she mourned their child.
"It's not fair!", she finally sobbed, breaking down completely.
Fili was instantly at her side, taking her into his arms; holding her and kissing her hair. "Shh, I know. I know it isn't." She buried her face in his chest, deeply inhaling his familiar scent like coffee and caramel, not caring in the slightest that she was drenching his t-shirt with her tears and, well, snot.
He didn't care either. Just holding her, being there for her, supporting her. Kili wasn't, though. He had barely looked at her and definitely not talked to her since the curettage, which had been three, no, four days ago. Maybe he blamed her for the miscarriage. To be honest, she blamed herself somehow.
Tauriel remembered her anger after meeting a gorgeous looking Roxanne in the supermarket while she looked terrible and even felt worse due to the symptoms accompanying her pregnancy. At that moment, she had wished that she weren't pregnant then, so that she would have been equal to this woman, her boyfriends' ex-lover... Later, of course she understood how stupid her jealousy had been, both Fili and Kili had reassured her that Roxanne had only been an affair, nothing serious. Even Roxanne had admitted to her that she didn't regret leaving the boys because her life had only become better since then (though Tauriel couldn't understand why, considering this woman's terrible choice for a husband-to-be).
Suddenly, the thought of her meeting with Roxanne unsettled her, almost as if that was the reason for her baby dying... Well, she didn't want to go down that road now. It was too much to grasp.
However, Kíli's behaviour towards her had definitely changed.
He had been so delighted about her pregnancy and had acted very affectionately towards her the whole time she was carrying their child, barely being able to keep his hands off her. But now... now it was all over. Not only the pregnancy, but also Kili's affection for her, she could tell. That was what seemed to hurt most .
"I miss him, Fili, I miss Kili so much! But... but he doesn't love me anymore! He thinks it's my fault that I miscarried!" she finally confessed.
Fili tensed and, grabbing her upper arms, he held her at arm's length so that he could look into her eyes. "How can you say that? Do you know how much he is suffering? He loves you, Tauriel, but he also loved our child. He just doesn't want to upset you with his grief. He cries himself to sleep every night, he thinks I can't hear him, but I do! Of course you don't know, you don't let us sleep in your bed anymore..."
She slapped him, but he was right, of course. She had banned the brothers from her bed on the evening of her curettage because she couldn't stand their closeness, their grief.
It wasn't her hardest punch, though. Being a kickboxer (not only a ballet dancer, mind you) she could have done better. She was glad she didn't. Pressing a hand to her mouth, she looked apologetically at him.
"I'm sorry, Fili, I didn't mean to..."
He shook his head, smiling sadly. "Oh, I think you did! But I don't blame you, I shouldn't have talked to you like that. It was so wrong, verbally attacking a woman who has just lost a child... God, if Mama knew this, she would have slapped me herself, or worse!"
Tauriel could imagine that, a furious Dis being angry with her son. She laughed, while there were still tears streaming down her cheeks.
Fili had to laugh as well, while he loosened his grip on her arms, suddenly frowning. "Did I hurt you? I know you bruise easily, so if this leaves any trace..." He shook his head, pulling up her sleeves, checking her fair skin.
"You didn't hurt me, Fili, I know you never would, not on purpose," she whispered, searching his eyes. He met her gaze and for a moment they forgot everything around them.
"You should talk to Kili, you know. He is very unhappy. And he misses you too. But he doesn't know how to approach you after what happened. You have to make the first step. I know my brother, he is waiting for you to reach out to him. You say that he blames you, but I think he blames himself, for whatever reason. Maybe he thinks that he – that we – failed to protect you and our child," Fili finally explained.
Tauriel bit her lip and lowered her gaze. "I didn't know he was hurting that much. I was too focused on my own grief."
Fili put his fingers under her chin, forcing her gently to look at him. "And you have every right to. But don't shut us out, okay? We are all hurting and we all have to come to terms with the loss of our first child. Let's do it together, then. I don't want this, us, what we have, to crumble under the weight of grief. We have to be honest with each other, support each other."
She knew he was right, and she would try to talk to Kili. Tomorrow. Now she was just exhausted, emotionally, and physically.
"Fili, can you stay with me? At least until I'm asleep?" she asked.
He smiled at her, kissing her forehead, and answered, "Yes, of course. But no more watching sad videos, oh, don't look like that, I'm not stupid, I know what you have been doing. And will you let me take you to your bed? I don't think the couch is big enough for the two of us!"
Tauriel smiled at him. "Yeah, of course."
So, Fili carried her to her bed and settled down next to her, his arms protectively wrapped around her upper body. His broad chest touching her back so that she could feel his body heat. It didn't take her long to fall asleep.
When she woke up the next morning, Fili was still holding her.
But he wasn't the only one.
Kili was also in bed with them, firmly pressed against her front, his arms tightly wrapped around her waist.
Tauriel assumed that at some point during the night, Kili must have woken up and, in search for his brother, ended up in her room. Of course, when he saw Fili and her snuggled up like this, he didn't want to be left out and, therefore, took his place in her bed. Thinking about this scenario, Tauriel smiled.
Then she noticed the tear tracks on his cheeks, and frowned. They were proof to what Fili had told her, about Kili crying himself to sleep because he mourned their dead baby. Her heart broke at that thought.
As soon as he woke up, she would talk to him.
She would never allow anything to drive a wedge between the brothers and her.