Just a little family moment between Thorin and Fili, shortly followed by a family moment between Kili and Thorin. Enjoy.

Twenty Years Prior to an Unexpected Journey

Fili: 7

Kili: 2

Kili looked up at his older brother with tears in his eyes, "Mama! Wan' Mama!"

Fili's heart broke at the sound of his little brother's wails. He wanted his mother as badly as his brother did, but he was forcing himself to keep strong. Gently, he rocked the screaming child into slumber and allowed himself time to think.

Just five hours prior, they'd been enjoying super with their mother, and their favorite uncle, Thorin. Orcs had stormed their cozy village and, though he wished to, Thorin could not transport Fili, Kili and Dis at the same time.

"You take my sons, Thorin. You take them somewhere safe and you come back for me," she had told her brother, holding his hands tightly. "Fili? Be a good boy and take good care of your brother until I see him again. Keep him safe."

Fili nodded solemnly, a boy that was smart for his age and wise beyond his years. His father had passed away just shy of two years ago, and Fili had become the man of the house when Thorin wasn't there, "Of course Mother."

"I love you Fili."

He smiled, knowing what he would say, what he always said, "And I you. Forever and ever."

Fili frowned, it had taken but half an hour to get here to this dark cave. By that math it should have only taken his uncle an hour to return with his mother. Just then, out of the gloom, Thorin rode, slowly, alone. Tears pricked at the corners of his eyes, his mother, his beautiful mother was gone. Forever.

Thorin dismounted his pony, his tears already long since dried. He gathered his nephew into his arms, and Fili shook with silent sobs as he gripped his uncle's hair in his fists, "W-What d-do we tell K-Kili, U-Uncle Thorin?"

Thorin pushed hair out of Fili's face, "Let me worry about that, alright?"

Fili nodded into the crook of his neck and forced himself to stop crying, for his brother's sake.

Present Day

Thorin sat at the base of an oak tree, carving random lines and shapes into a piece of wood restlessly. He'd taken first watch, if only as to allow himself time in private to grieve the death of his sister. It was the twentieth anniversary today. A twig snapped behind him, and he leapt to his feet, sword at ready. "It is just me Uncle, I didn't mean to startle you," Fili whispered. "I couldn't sleep so I thought I'd join you."

Thorin nodded at his nephew, knowing perfectly why he couldn't sleep this night. They sat side by side under the oak in comfortable silence. "What if I can't do it, Uncle?"

"Do what, Fili," Thorin asked with raised eyebrows, looking down at his nephew, whose gaze was so withdrawn, distant and emotionless it frightened him.

"I promised, I promised Mother I'd take care of him. I promised I'd keep him safe, promised I'd keep Kili safe. What if I can't? What if I break my promise, my last promise I made to her?"

Fili sounded as though he were about to cry, but no tears lay in his eyes. "You'll keep it to the best of your ability, and that's no more than your mother could have wanted."

The twenty-seven year old nodded, his face still blank. "Fili, how long has it been since you grieved for your mother?"

His nephew's response came in a whisper, "Exactly twenty years today. I need to be strong for him. I need to be strong for my brother so he won't be afraid."

"Kili isn't here now, child. He's sound asleep more than sixty feet away."

A whimper escaped from Fili and his shoulders shook. Tears fell from his eyes for the first time in twenty years and a sob escaped his throat. Thorin pulled his nephew into his lap, but didn't see the face of a happy-go-lucky dwarf in his late twenties. He saw a seven year old frightened little boy, who wanted nothing more than for his mother to come home.

"I-I just want to s-see her a-again," Fili cried into his uncle's shoulder.

"I know, I know," Thorin whispered, stroking his nephew's hair softly. "She would be so proud to call you her son. So very proud."

They sat like this for a time, until Fili's breathing evened and Thorin realized he'd cried himself to sleep. He'd long since shifted so that he was lying under his uncle's arm with his head on Thorin's chest.

Meanwhile, across camp, Kili awoke with tears in his eyes. He'd been dreaming of a story Fili had told him. It was a spring day, and Thorin had come to visit. He was just learning to walk, and his mother held him in the air above her head, spinning in circles, gazing up at him in adoration. Fili was being chased around the field by his uncle. Kili, in his dream, had his eyes closed, enjoying the sun on his face. He'd open his eyes to look down at his mother, only to see a faceless woman.

As he awoke, he awoke with a heavy weight in his chest and a lump in his throat. Kili rose and walked over to the oak tree under which his uncle was sitting. As he reached the side opposite to his uncle he stopped. What if his uncle thought him childish for weeping over a thing such as this? He gnawed at the end of his braid, a single simple braid going down his back that Fili had put his hair into before they'd gone to bed. Kili had been chewing on his hair for as long as he could remember, he did whenever he was stressed or nervous.

"Kili, I suggest you stop chewing on your hair and come and speak to me about what's bothering you," Thorin's voice came from the other side of the tree, making Kili jump.

He sat next to his uncle, Thorin's arm wrapping around the youngest member of his company and pulling him into a position identical to his brother's.

"Uncle, I," he paused, tears streaming down his cheeks. "I can't remember my mother's face. What if I forget yours when you die Uncle? What if I forget Fili's?"

"You aren't going to forget Kili. You were scarcely a toddler when your mother passed, it isn't surprising that you've forgotten. But the one thing you can never forget Kili, is that your mother loved you, with all her soul, and she will live forever in our hearts."

"U-Uncle, can I stay here, tonight?"

"Of course."

As the moon rose higher into the sky, Balin arose to take the second watch. The old dwarf stood and stretched his arms and legs as he walked towards the oak tree to relieve Thorin of his duties.

A smile graced his lips when he spotted the trio under the tree, Fili and Kili sleeping soundly, Thorin fighting sleep. Balin stood and watched from a distance at the little family. Kili, who had his uncle's cape draped over him, whimpered in his sleep, snuggling as close to Thorin as possible. Fili, on the right side of Thorin, was curled into a tiny ball, one hand clutching his hair, the other, holding tightly to his uncle's tunic.

Balin's smile widened as he remembered a time when Fili was small, only three years old, clutching his hair in one fist and Thorin's tunic in the other, fighting sleep.

He draped a blanket over Thorin and Fili as Thorin finally gave into sleep and stood watch on the opposite side.