Author's Note: Since seeing the Hobbit I have become quite obsessed with the idea of little toddler dwarves playing with their uncle Thorin, although this is a story set when they are grown up and it's not exactly fluffy… This is set after the battle of the five armies but I admit I've never read the book so I only know sketchy details from good 'ol Wikipedia.

Disclaimer: Not mine. If it were there would be a happier ending for uncle Oakenshield and his beloved sister-sons.

Warnings: Mentions of character deaths and impending character death.

More Precious than Thrones and Gold

Bifur and Bofur sat solemnly on a rock, tired and battle weary. Bofur glanced over towards where Thorin sat with Balin and Gandalf. The king leaned heavily against the wall behind him and was obviously in pain but he was trying to put his usual brave face on it.

"How is he going to tell his sister that both her sons are lost?" Bofur asked, although he did not really expect an answer. Bifur too looked towards Thorin, sighing sadly with a shake of the head.

"I do not think he need worry about it," Gloin appeared beside the two. "The question is how will Balin tell Dis that her sons and her brother were all lost."

Bifur and Bofur both blinked, looking over their shoulders at Gloin before turning a frown towards Thorin.

"He has suffered injuries such as these before," Bifur commented although his frown remained. Gloin let out a weary sigh.

"Indeed he has. But he was younger," he inhaled deeply. "And his heart was not broken."

Bifur and Bofur turned again to look at Gloin.

"Broken hearted?" Bifur glanced back over at their king, noticing now the faraway look in his eyes as he in turn stared at an empty patch of ground nearby. The spot where, had the battle gone differently, two young dwarf princes would surely have sat near their uncle. Bofur too looked over and gave an understanding nod.

"You mean losing his nephews?"

"Aye," Gloin nodded solemnly. "He spoke to me early on of how he envied me that Gimli was young enough to be left behind," the father swallowed heavily at the thought of the son who had thankfully remained at home. "It is not fair to lose ones so young."

Across the way Thorin's eyes closed, for much longer than they would normally. Both Gandalf and Balin moved toward him, but the king opened his eyes again, albeit tiredly.

"Do you really think he is not going to survive?" Bofur asked quietly although they were sitting sufficiently far away that they would not be heard. "He has his kingdom back after all, like he always wanted."

"But at too high a cost," Dwalin spoke up from the other side of Bofur and Bifur, offering Gloin a solemn nod of agreement over the other two dwarves. "Thorin was always determined to reclaim our home and his throne – always. But when his nephews were born he became even more so," the gruff Dwarves lips curled into the faintest of smiles as he glanced back at his cousin. "Do you remember how much he moaned about them when they were children?"

Gloin too smiled faintly, fond yet sad at the same time.

"They were little terrors apparently – a constant headache. Yet he visited with them every day. Played with them – taught them how to fight. Put up with Kili when no one else had the patience," Gloin shook his head. "They spent more time with their uncle Thorin than they did with their own parents."

Dwalin nodded slowly.

"Thorin found himself with heirs and he had nothing to leave them."

"He talked for hours on end of Erebor with them," Gloin agreed. "He taught them of their birthright. He taught them of the home that should have been theirs. He taught them of the treasures that were rightfully theirs. And they would have followed him to the ends of middle earth but it was never really for Erebor they fought. They fought for Thorin," Gloin shook his head sadly. "Of course they wished to reclaim Erebor as much as anyone but the only treasure those boys truly understood was family."

Dwalin nodded solemnly in agreement as once again Thorin's eyes drifted closed.

"And that was the one lesson they in turn taught their uncle."