Disclaimer: I do not own Middle Earth.


Thorin son of Thráin son of Thrór King under the Mountain looked around at the suspiciously empty hall and narrowed his eyes when he heard not a sound from his two rambunctious nephews. Usually the two were tearing down the walls with their raucous noise when he came home from the forge, running on stubby baby legs to get to him, each clambering to be heard over the other as they rushed to tell him what exciting mischief they'd wrought that day. But today, the hall remained ominously silent.

"Fíli? Kíli?" Thorin called out as his footsteps rang off the stone floor, but the only sound to come back to him was the faint echo of his own voice. "Fíli? Kíli?"

The silence worried him now. Surely if his nephews were safe and unharmed they would have come running to him by this time. Usually, by now, the two were hanging off his legs and making it difficult for him to wash the flecks of iron off his forearms and the dried sweat from his face and neck.

"Fíli! Kíli! Where are you two?" Thorin's voice rose, a slight note of panic lacing the tone. He had not felt this sort of unadulterated panic in nearly a century. His footsteps quickened as he opened door after door, peering inside and calling their names to no avail. "Grá, have you seen the boys?"

The Dwarf woman looked up from the floor she was scrubbing and shook her head. "No, my King. They've been quiet for quite some time now. I'm not sure where they've gotten off to."

"Weren't you watching them?" Thorin asked angrily. "They're only babies! They always need to be watched!"

"I checked on them not half an hour ago! They were playing with their wooden toys on the rug by the fire."

"Where's my sister?" Thorin demanded, looking around the kitchen as if Dís would pop out of the wall if he looked hard enough.

"She hasn't returned from the market yet. She left with much to sell this morning."

Furious, Thorin turned and stormed from the kitchen, letting the door close with a heavy thud behind him. His sister-sons were the most precious things in the world to him and they were missing and that foolish woman had left them alone. They were babies, only nine and four. They could not be left unattended! Something terrible might befall them. They might disappear. And they had.

"Fíli! Kíli!" Four rooms left. The first two were empty and Thorin was turning to leave the third empty bedroom when his eyes spotted the tiny brown shoe just barely sticking out from beneath the bed. Thorin dropped to his knees beside the bed and grabbed the shoe, pulling little Kíli out by his foot. He reached further underneath the bed and grasped a pudgy arm to uncover Fíli. Both chubby faces were tracked with tears as Thorin turned them both right-side-up in his arms and hugged them tightly.

"Don't you ever scare me again, do you understand?" The order held vastly more emotion than the usually strict guardian showed towards his nephews, but his relief kept him from being stern. They gave a half-mumbled, half-sobbed response that Thorin failed to understand as his nephews buried their faces in his beard and started crying. "Why didn't you come when I called for you?"

"I'm sowwy, Uncle!" Kíli hiccuped, snot running from his nose and mixing with his tears, dribbling into his wispy brown beard as the sticky mixture ran down his face.

"Please still love us!" Fíli begged tearfully, holding onto his uncle, his fingers knotting in his thick black beard, like he was afraid Thorin would throw them out of the hall.

"Of course I love you," Thorin tried to sooth them both at the same time without the knowledge over what he was soothing them about. "Whatever happened, it's alright, I promise. You're both fine."

Thorin shifted and leaned to sit with his back against the wall. He tilted them both against his chest and curved his arms around them protectively. The three of them sat thus for several minutes, until both the boys had cried themselves silent. He pulled his soot-covered facecloth from his pocket and tried to find a clean spot to wipe the snotty tears from his nephew's faces. In the end, he used the sole clean spot on his sleeve to scrub their faces.

"I'm sowwy, Uncle. I'm sowwy," Kíli sniffed as Thorin gave a rare kiss to the top of his head. Thorin, while he loved his sister-son's dearly, almost never showed this sort of affection.

"It's alright," Thorin smoothed Fíli's hair. "Tell me what happened?"

"WE BWOKE IT!" Kíli wailed in his high-pitched baby voice, the crying beginning anew.

"HE BROKE IT!" Fíli sobbed at the same time as his younger brother. "He was playing with my wooden throwing axe and I told him not to play with it, Uncle! I told him, but he didn't listen to me and he broke it!"

"What was broken?"

"The pwetty statue," Kíli said quietly.

"The statue from Erebor. The one of the gold river and the Arkenstone," Fíli explained as resolutely as any distraught child could manage. "Kíli was playing with the axe and it slipped and smashed into the statue and it broke in half when the axe hit it."

The yellow and white gold statue that his third cousin Balin had managed to save as Durin's Folk fled from the Desolation of Smaug ninety-four years ago. It was one of the few things he had left from his homeland and he treasured it above almost all else, short only of his nephews.

"Where are the pieces?" Thorin asked, managing to keep his voice calm.

"In the pot by the fireplace."

"I'm sure that Balin will be able to fix it."

"You awen't angwy?" Kíli asked, cuddling into his uncle and sticking his thumb into his mouth.

"No," Thorin shook his head. "I know an accident."

Fíli looked relieved, like the world's weight was off his shoulders. Then he, too, relaxed and curled into his Thorin's chest. His thumb was halfway to his mouth before he shook himself and tucked his hand away. Thorin gave Fíli the same rare kiss he had given Kíli moments before.

"One time, back home in Erebor, I was playing with your mother's new doll. I believe she was three or so at the time. Father had just carved it for her," Thorin had to think very far back to remember the details of the story.

"What did the dolly look like?"

"I don't really remember," Thorin admitted. "I think it had hair. It's arms and legs moved."

"Like my dolly?" Kíli asked.

"Just like that. So, I had the doll off on some adventure and I dropped her. I was playing up on a overpass and, when the doll dropped, she dropped all the way down and landed in molten gold. Clain fished the doll out, but there was no repairing the doll."

"Why? Why not?"

"Molten gold is very hot. Like the iron when I'm working on it. It burned the wood black and scared. Parts of it were burning and Clain had to put them out with a rag. Your mother was devastated and Father nearly killed me. I carved her a new doll, though it was nearly as nice as the doll that Father made for her. She still has it, you know."

"The dolly on Mother's hearth?" Fíli asked.

Thorin nodded and looked down to watch a worn out Kíli falling asleep against him. The little boy had worried and cried himself into exhaustion. Thorin saw Fíli's eyes begin to close tiredly, a tiny bit at a time until his were just as closed as Kíli's.

Singing softly to lull them the rest of the way to sleep, Thorin stood with the two cradled in his arms. He walked down to the nursery, his steps quiet and thoughtful, and nudged the door open with his foot. Carefully, he laid Fíli down in his crib before turning around and gently putting Kíli in his. Kíli snored loudly once he was flat on his back and Thorin smiled, pulling the teal blue crocheted blanket up to the boy's chin.

Thorin leaned over the wall of the bed and kissed Kíli's forehead as Kíli gave another loud snore. Turning again, Thorin tucked Fíli's blanket up to his chin the same way he'd done to Kíli, making sure it was snug around him. He gave Fíli the same loving kiss before straightening up. He stood watching his sister-sons sleep for several minutes before backing out of the room and closing the door silently behind him.

With a purpose, he walked to the Great Hall and stopped in front of the fireplace, where a fire was smoldering out. He bent at the waist and pulled the two pieces of the broken statue from the ceramic pot that usually held ashes and soot.

The statue was cloven neatly in two and Thorin stared at it before laughing. If Kíli could cleave a golden statue into two pieces with a wooden battle axe at the age of four, Thorin couldn't imagine what his nephews would be capable of when they were Dwarfs full grown.


A/N:

I've loved Middle Earth since I was a kid. I still remember the first time Grampa read The Hobbit to me and I remember my favourite part being Fíli stuffed in the barrel with the apples and him coming out saying that he never wanted to smell apples again. And, of course, Bombur falling asleep at extremely inopportune times, which is highly entertaining to a young girl especially if it's my Grampa reading it to you. He was such a good reader. I loved The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which I've already seen twice and will be seeing again three more times, though I was highly skeptical when I saw my favourite character, Kíli, with no beard and brown hair. But Aidan Turner was 100% perfectly in character so I was able to overlook the physical changes. Though he still needs a beard. BEARD. Beard. Plus, I did really like that giving the brother different hair colours made them a little more of their own characters instead of an identical duo like Fred and George, whom I love very much! but were treated in the movies like one character instead of two. That's why I kept Kíli's hair brown instead of yellow.

I saw an adorable fanart drawing on Thorin holding baby Fíli and Kíli. And Fíli's all contented and happy and Kíli's trying to wiggle out of his uncle's arms and I was overcome with feels and this happened. I've tried to write Middle Earth stuff before, but it didn't work too well. But that was a long, long time ago and I think I've grown a smidge since them. And I think this turned out alright. Okay, I'm going to go. I'm petsitting and I really have to get over there and let Koda out to go bathroom!

Thanks for reading and, please, tell me what you think - good or bad!

Love, Thalia

P.S. You can see the fanart on citlaltzin's tumblr page, post 37778611970! It's stinkin adorable!