Hurray, another Hobbit fic! This one isn't as homoerotic as my last one, though it's nearly as cuddly~ Hope you all enjoy!

The brothers were close. Anyone with half an eye could see that, and among the Company of Thorin Oakenshield, it was taken as a given fact. Fili and Kili had been inseparable for as long as anyone had known them, and even Thorin, who had practically raised his nephews, freely admitted that he had rarely seen them apart. The pair did everything together; along the road, from sparring to standing watch, Fili and Kili faced every moment by each other's sides.

Kili had, of course, known his brother since the moment he was born. Fili's was the first face he had seen when he opened his eyes, and since he had first learned to walk and talk, Kili had followed Fili wherever he went. For his part, Fili could barely remember a time when he had not had his brother attached to his side as a second shadow. Though he had been the leader of the pair in their early years, the balance of power had shifted out when Kili learned to fight and fend for himself. Since their tweens, the young dwarves had thought and acted as one, seeming to predict each other's movements without a hint of effort. By the time they reached their early thirties (your equivalent of late teens— dwarves live longer than men), most had stopped referring to the brothers as though they were separate entities at all. You would never hear "Where has Fili gotten off too?" or "I wonder how Kili is faring;" instead, those who knew them simply referred to the pair as 'Fili-and-Kili' wherever they went. Indeed, when Thorin was gathering companions to reclaim the Lonely Mountain, the asked "Will you come?" was not directed at one of his nephews alone; the question was for both, or none at all.

As such, by the time the Company reached the Misty Mountains in their quest, it was common knowledge to all and sundry that Fili and Kili were joined at the hip. Though the pair never seemed overly affectionate or clingy towards each other, no one even considered that they could be separated. That is, until the party was caught in the midst of a stone giants' battle, when the stone ledge beneath their feet split apart, creating an inescapable void between them.

As the giant stood, the Company clinging to the rocky expanse of its knees, the brothers' eyes simultaneously widened in horror. The rift of the creature's parting legs had opened directly beneath Kili, and as he leapt to the side to avoid falling, he came to a frightening realization. His brother was on the opposite side of the gap, and the distance between them was growing rapidly. Fili was shouting his brother's name, fingers grasping as though he could bridge the distance and reach Kili's hand. Kili, foe his part, found himself frozen, unable to stop his older brother from being pulled away from him. For the first time in his life, Kili realized, he was truly alone. He could no longer rely on his big brother for protection, and, in turn, he could not save Fili from harm. Overwhelmed with this newfound fear, the young dwarf could do nothing but cling to the rock face and follow the shouted instructions from his uncle.

Even after he was catching his breath on the less conscious side of the cliff, Kili could not feel safe. Indeed, he could think of nothing but the terror in Fili's eyes as they were pulled apart, and the fact that his brother was still caught in empty space, tossed about on the limb of the rocky menace. As the stone giant was beheaded and careened towards the valley floor, Kili could only stare. And when the huge knee met the cliff face, its tiny passengers seemingly crushed against the rock, a soundless scream tore itself from his throat. Kili was close on Thorin's heel as the dwarf leader rushed to the aid of his companions, desperate to ascertain their safety. The Company's collective breath was released when they caught site of their friends, bruised and winded, but otherwise unharmed. None was more relieved than Kili, who immediately rushed to his brother's side.

"I'm fine, really," Fili assured the younger dwarf, as Kili helped him to his feet. "It was just a bit of a tumble, I'm barely grazed." Fili could feel his brother's fingers trembling as he grasped his forearm, hauling him upright. Kili's face however, showed nothing but lighthearted relief.

"I know," Kili replied with a bright grin, "I wasn't worried at all! I know you can handle yourself." His smile faded a bit, his eyes betraying his lie, but Fili didn't press the issue. He knew that his brother would be all right, given time.

Later that night, as the Company was settling into the small cave they had sought shelter in, Fili approached his little brother. Kili was seated against the cave wall, staring into space with a small frown. However, as his brother approached, he mustered up a cheery grin.

"Done with supper already, eh?" Though the question was innocent, Fili could hear the concern behind it. Kili always worried when his brother stopped eating properly.

"Aye, cold mutton and bread aren't too interesting." Fili brushed off the inquiry lightly, and hastened to change the subject. "I noticed your hair got tangled in the storm. Want some help with it?" Kili nodded absently, allowing his brother to throw himself down by his side.

Though braiding another's hair and beard is, in dwarf culture, usually reserved for courting couples, it is not unheard of for close kin to use it as a means of comfort. By letting his brother to tend to his knotted hair, Kili was admitting that not all was well, and that he was grateful for the affection. Fili combed his fingers through Kili's tangled mane, carefully extricating the largest knots and brushing back the floppy, outgrown bangs. As his brother worked, Kili leaned back against his chest, beginning to nod off to the sound of his companions' low talking and the pleasant sensation of fingers brushing his scalp. The young dwarf felt the calm of his brother's presence wash over him, his relief at their reunion mixing with the warm tiredness in his bones and creating a sensation of utter peace. Though the road was long and the toils many, Kili was content in this simple moment.

Fili finished weaving the last of the braids into his brother's hair and nodded in satisfaction. Though he had neither the time nor inclination to include beads or complex plaits – that was far too feminine for a dwarf warrior – Kili's hair was now arranged in a simple design that kept it out of his face and off his neck. Fili smiled at his handiwork, before tapping lightly on his brother's head.

"Come on, you lump, time to get off me," he teased, pushing the younger dwarf off his chest. Kili, fast asleep now, simply fell to the side and lay motionless on the rocky ground. Fili rolled his eyes, pulling a blanket off Kili's pack and tossing it over his lightly snoring brother. "Goodnight, then," he yawned, laying out his own bedroll and crawling inside for some much-deserved sleep.

Several hours later, Fili was jostled awake by his brother, as he attempted to crawl inside his bedroll. Kili grinned dozily at the older dwarf's glare. "Sorry, Fi,' but the ground is too hard to sleep on." Fili groaned, tugging Kili closer as the younger wriggled into his arms. "Whatever, just let me go back to sleep."

Kili snuggled down next to his brother, yawning contentedly. "I'm really glad you're alright," he admitted quietly.

"Yeah," Fili agreed, "You too."

In the morning, things took a turn for the worse. But even as he was tumbling down a rocky chute into the heart of the Misty Mountains, goblin laughter ringing in his ears, Fili could not find it within him to be pessimistic. They may be falling to their deaths, but his hand was wrapped firmly around his little brother's, and that was all that mattered. Fili swore to himself then, that whether they survive this quest happily or die fighting, he would never again leave Kili's side.

See, it's funny because they do die side by side...

No. No, that's not funny at all.

I'm going to hell.

Please R+R.