A/N: Hello everyone! Right, I have a dissertation to do this holiday so obviously I thought the most productive course of action would be to start writing a Hobbit fanfic! I struggled to find a title for this one, but was inspired by the song 'Family Tree' by Dry The River. Lyrics from the song serve as epigraphs to chapters. I hope you enjoy my procrastination!
Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own anything.
"How did you fall so far from the family tree?
And why did you follow when you saw what happened to me?"
"Kíli!" Thorin bellowed, from where he stood on the jagged island of rock.
The rest of his company were safe behind him in a tunnel cut into the rock, but his young nephew was still out on the plains, firing arrows at the approaching wargs. Hearing Thorin's call, Kíli turned his head back to his uncle and nodded, but with another arrow already between his fingers, he couldn't resist one last shot at the enemy; he was yet to miss a target. With eyes following the howls on the horizon, Kíli drew back his bow... but the arrow never left it.
From his place below in the tunnel, Fíli heard Thorin's cry with so much anguish twisting in that single syllable. "Kíli," he breathed. With his sword still drawn, he lurched forward, pushing past Bofur and Ori to join Gandalf at the mouth of the cave. He wasn't prepared for the sight that met his eyes. Thorin had leapt from the boulder and was running towards the fallen form of Kíli, who was lying splayed out in the brown grass, his face covered in blood, with a single black arrow rising up from a circle of red under his collarbone. A warg and his orc rider stalked towards Kíli, the orc gripping a mace, its spikes wet with the young dwarf's blood.
Fíli cried out just as Thorin had done; at first his whole body was frozen by the horror of the scene before him, and his fingers were so numb he feared he would drop his sword. But then his heartbeat began pounding in his ears, a terrible, distraught fire was kindled within him, and he went to scramble up the rocky entrance.
"No, Fíli!" Gandalf said sternly, his arm shooting out to stop the dwarf.
"We have to help them!" Fíli cried, looking up at the wizard in disbelief and trying to push his arm away. He felt the rest of the company surging forward with further shouts of protest. Turning back to the plains, Fíli saw Thorin standing protectively in front of Kíli, his sword, Orcrist, slicing the air before the advancing warg. Suddenly the shadows of more wargs appeared on the lip of the surrounding cliffs. Fíli struggled against Gandalf's arm with a growl, his sword dangerously close to the wizard's stomach, wondering in his frustration if he dared gut someone who seemed older than time itself. But it appeared even Gandalf was not prepared for what happened next. Fíli never saw the arrow, or who fired it. He only saw Thorin freeze for a split second, and then lunge towards the closest warg with a roar. But the orc rider was ready for him; he swung his spiked mace and struck a deadly blow to Thorin's head. Thorin wheeled around, his face hardly visible beneath blood so dark it was almost black, and that was when Fíli saw the arrow jutting out from Thorin's thigh.
"Thorin!" Fíli heard his voice echoing around the cavern, and the same pained call was returned by other members of the company.
And then Gandalf's arm fell. Fíli charged out of the tunnel, his sword held aloft like a beacon, and he called the dwarves into battle. The company followed his lead without question, and even Bilbo, last out of the tunnel though he was, unsheathed Sting, ready to join the fray. Fíli darted towards the dazed Thorin, who had crumpled onto his knees beside Kíli and was spitting blood onto the ground. But before he could reach his fallen uncle, the offending warg leapt on Thorin, seizing the dwarf's broken body between his enormous jaws. Thorin cried out in pain, yet still mustered enough fight to slash at the vile creature's muzzle with his sword. A yelp sounded deep in the warg's throat, but then he shook Thorin like a rag doll, and with a jerk of his head, flung him aside, so that he landed in the grass behind. After one shudder, Thorin didn't stir again.
Watching all this with wide, horrified eyes, Fíli was hardly aware that he was still running, but soon he had reached Kíli. Standing defensively over his brother, just as Thorin had done, he dared the warg to come closer. When the warg lurched towards him, Fíli didn't hesitate; he sank his sword straight into the side of the beast's neck. The warg let out a pathetic whine as Fíli withdrew his sword, taking care to rip further into its throat as he did so, and then the warg collapsed onto the grass. The orc rider scrambled from his mount and took a swipe at Fíli with his mace, but Fíli ducked just in time, then slashed his sword across the orc's gut. With an unearthly shriek, the orc fell forward, dead. Until this moment, Fíli had been unaware of anything else that was happening around him, focusing only on protecting his brother and avenging his injury. Now he saw that the whole company was engaged in fighting. Glóin, Óin, Bifur, and Bofur had formed almost a protective circle around himself and Kíli, stopping any other wargs from getting close. Dwalin, Balin, and Gandalf had done the same for Thorin, who had Bilbo kneeling at his side.
With Sting's warning blue glow before him, Bilbo's first target had not been a warg or an orc, but the leader of their company. Following on the dwarves' heels, Bilbo had galloped towards Thorin, knowing that Fíli's first reaction would be to go to Kíli. He found Thorin lying on his side, his face caked in drying blood, and his furs and garments ripped by the warg's teeth. "Thorin!" he gasped, gently shaking the dwarf's shoulder. Thorin made no response, so Bilbo slowly turned him onto his back. A shard of ice shot through Bilbo's stomach when he saw Thorin's eyes were open, and he thought the worst, but then they rolled back into Thorin's head and his lids closed over them. Though he had not spoken, Thorin had only just lost consciousness. Unsure of what to do, and with Sting shaking in his hand, Bilbo looked desperately around for help, but everyone was still on the attack; Dwalin, Balin, and Gandalf had formed a perimeter around Thorin, fighting back any warg who dared take them on. Turning back to Thorin, Bilbo saw that his left arm was lying at an odd angle; he must have landed on it, breaking the bone, and now the dwarf began to shiver. Bilbo quickly tore off his cloak and covered Thorin with it, tucking it around his shoulders. "Hang in there, Thorin," Bilbo whispered. "Help is on the way."
When Bilbo said this he had no idea in mind of what this help might be, and he jumped when he heard an unfamiliar horn sounding across the vale. Fíli looked up too, also startled by the horn. He was crouching next to Kíli, having just yanked the arrow out from under his brother's collarbone, and now had his hand firmly pressed against the wound, feeling Kíli's blood seeping out beneath his fingers. And then they arrived, pouring down over the cliffs in a bright sea of armour: the elves. They sent volley after volley of arrows raining down on the remaining wargs, and upon their horses they stormed the enemy, helping Thorin's company to extinguish every last one. After Dwalin's axe had struck the final blow, the leader of the Elvish battalion dismounted and walked swiftly to meet Gandalf not far from where Thorin lay. This tall, dark elf cast one concerned look towards Fíli, then quickly began to converse with Gandalf in Elvish.
Whether it was fear for his brother and uncle, or some deeply embedded anger at the presence of the elves, Fíli wasn't sure, but he found himself determined to confront the wizard. "Gandalf!" he shouted, "Why did you do it? Why did you stop me coming to the aid of my kin?" All eyes were now on Fíli, with one exception; Gandalf refused to meet his gaze, and quickly led the tall elf to Thorin. The elf looked at Fíli with regret, but followed Gandalf, kneeling down next to Bilbo at Thorin's side.
Bilbo looked at Gandalf questioningly, his worried eyes trying in vain to read the wizard's curious expression, and wondering why he didn't answer Fíli, and indeed what that answer was.
"We need to move quickly," Gandalf said quietly to Lord Elrond. "We must get Thorin and Kíli to your house of healing at Rivendell."
Elrond withdrew his hand from Thorin's bloodied forehead. "Agreed, we cannot help them here."
"You're not taking the rightful king of Erebor to an Elvish stronghold!" Balin spoke suddenly, moving towards Elrond.
"Now is not the time, Master Balin," Gandalf sighed.
"But he's right, Gandalf," Dwalin piped up, looking Elrond up and down, his fingers tightening around his axe. "We don't trust their sort... If he wants to carry Thorin and Kíli off to his tree house he can talk to my axe about it."
"Lord Elrond has just saved our lives, Master Dwalin!" Gandalf barked, drawing himself up to full height. "And you will let him save Thorin and Kíli... Although this is not for me to decide." He turned to Fíli, whom he knew had heard the whole exchange. "What say you, Fíli?"
With his hand still keeping pressure on his brother's chest, Fíli narrowed his eyes at Gandalf. He was about to answer when Dwalin cut in: "It's not the lad's decision!"
"He is an heir of Durin and he speaks for his uncle!" Gandalf snapped back, then repeated: "What say you?"
Fíli could feel Kíli slowly slipping away, his body trembling beneath his hand, and the look on Bilbo's face told him Thorin was in a similarly dire state. "We ride for Rivendell," he said finally, trying to keep the conviction in his voice. "Please," he added quietly, the hint of a child about him, when he saw many distraught Dwarvish faces. "I just want to help my family."
Gandalf nodded, a sigh of relief escaping his lips, then looked to Elrond. Elrond let out a low whistle; suddenly a dappled grey horse without a rider broke from the Elvish ranks and cantered to his side. "Eldia lost her rider some time ago, but she often follows us from the stable when we ride out," he spoke sadly to Gandalf. "She will carry you and Thorin back to Rivendell. I will take Kíli, and my men will each accompany a dwarf."
As Fíli expected, uproar came from the dwarves. Gandalf ignored this and quickly mounted the dappled horse, with Bilbo and Elrond helping him seat the unconscious Thorin in front of him. Bilbo had only just let go of Thorin when an elf appeared behind him and, hooking his hands under Bilbo's shoulders, hoisted him easily onto the back of another elf's horse. The same elf then turned to Dwalin.
"Try it, and I will bury my axe between your eyes," Dwalin growled, brandishing his axe to make his point.
Fíli saw this, hearing blood surging in his ears: Kíli and Thorin's blood, Durin's blood. His hand leaving Kíli for the first time, he stood up and stared at Dwalin. "Please, Dwalin," he said loudly and firmly. "There isn't time for this. We must help Thorin and Kíli."
Fíli was as shocked as everyone else when Dwalin gave a stiff nod. He turned to the elf. "Alright, on yer horse, pretty boy, I'll ride." Still looking wary of Dwalin's axe, the elf mounted his horse and Dwalin pulled himself up behind him.
Following Dwalin's example, the dwarves all hastily mounted. It wasn't without some difficulty; Bofur and Ori had to go around helping others to climb onto the back of the elvish horses, and Bombur proved particularly challenging, but soon all were mounted except Fíli and Kíli. Fíli's gaze was wary when Elrond approached him with his horse, but the elf's gentle smile was surprisingly comforting. He put a hand on Kíli's forehead and spoke to him softly in Elvish. "I will be careful with him," he murmured, looking to Fíli. Fíli nodded, then helped Elrond mount his horse with Kíli sat before him. Elrond then looked behind him and called out: "Elladan!" Another tall, dark elf approached them; he looked curiously like Elrond. "My son," Elrond explained, "He will accompany you to Rivendell."
Elladan graciously offered a hand down to Fíli. Fíli took it uncertainly, wondering if he meant shake it, but suddenly found himself being hauled onto the back of Elladan's horse. He almost let go of the saddle when the horse suddenly lurched forward, following the rest of the company with Elrond and Gandalf leading them. Fíli gripped the saddle tighter, trying not to look down and see how far from the ground he actually was. His eyes followed Elrond and Gandalf, catching glimpses of Thorin and Kíli, then he closed his eyes and prayed that they wouldn't be too late.
A/N: I'm sorry I can't promise regular updates, but I hope I won't keep you hanging too long!