I told you guys there was more! Sorry for the delay, but I had to write most of this from scratch, the original didn't have enough feels! The reason it might of seen to be done last chapter was because we have no more present! Thorin, so I felt as though he needed to have some finality to his character.
Warning/Note: Yep, still screwing with canon. Completely ignoring it actually. Oh well.
BUT KILI HAD TO LEAP, HE HAD TO BE MAJESTIC SOMEHOW. (If you don't get that I pity you)
ANN: I apologize once again for any inconsistencies and the short chapters.
So POVS - Fili, Kili, Fili again (because you have to end where you started)
ANN: All other warnings, the disclaimer, and information can be found in the first chapter!
This is the last chapter, that I have planned anyway, so I would like to say that it's been a pleasure writing for you and thank you for your support.
Once again, as it turned out, he was in pain.
The concept of bodily injury was not foreign to him, his experience with it stretching back to his first years when he would judge distance wrong and fall down the stone steps of their home; but that did not mean he had to like it. No one did, the idea of being weak, immobilized as the nerve endings screamed; the only concession being that sometimes it was minor like a scratch and other times it burned like wrapping your hand around a hot sword, it wasn't always at it's worse.
Awareness came back slower than the developing bruises, so he tested the limits of his body with no concerns of the outside world. There was something heavy on his chest, but that did not deter him, much.
Twitches of the shoulders led to inaudible winces, as the rolling of fingertips brought a grimace; any movement brought him pain, which greeted him like an old friend despite his youth, he was tempted to sigh.
Yet he remained positive; the pain was not that of agony, which one would expect from a life threatening wound. Rather, it was something slightly above the scratches that developed from his fights with KIli, in which they would settle their arguments with fists and trying to put the other in a headlock.
This pain was not bad, still not welcomed, but prefered to that of a stab to the heart; it reminded and confirmed what he had foolishly hoped moments before - he was alive. Pain reminded that there was still a body to inhabit, that the soul had not flown above to join the others of it's clan; he was still here.
Unless he was in hell, in which he would soon open his eyes to the fires of a forge baking him alive and the image of his brother being torn by wargs; he shuddered at the thought. If that was true, then it would be a punishment; one that he more than likely deserved for the fate he gave his brother. Crushed by rocks was not the worse way to go, but not the way he had planned his kin to fall; if he had his way they would not fall at all, ever.
As this foolish thought came to mind, he was tempted to laugh, awareness manifested itself and told him that he was still among the living. That this was not a nightmare, that the skies would not be darker than the shade of Erebor and the evil laughs of Azog and elves would not be around him; he was still here.
With this to steady his fears, he opened his eyes, prepared to see which world existed around him. They fluttered almost immediately from pain and weariness, but he fought to use his vision. He had to know, if it was dark or if they were camp, if he was alone or surrounded; if so, by what? There was too much unaccounted for; he had to be strong for everything, for himself.
Doing such was easier said than done and when he finally thinks he can see something, he almost let's go out of anguish and annoyance. It is all blurred, worse than the moments of rain and storms, and none of it will focus for him. Yet he still fights, he has to know about the others, what of his brother?
So he holds on, trying to center on something; something that would keep him awake and in the pain of this world, because while he rather rest he knows he has to stay here. He wants it to be sight, so that he can see something familiar and know that he is home. It is warm there and comfortable with nothing other than smiles; he knows it isn't possible, for home to be where he his. As well, his hope of vision giving him anything seems unlikely at the moment.
He needs something and, as if heard by the gods, it comes a moment later.
It was not light he saw as he tried to keep his eyes open, nor was it the movement of his body being moved; to where he knew not nor by whom, but he welcomed it. His back ached and was a steady flame of discomfort. It is not the feel of rain sliding over skin. No, it is a sound.
It rivaled that of screams, ruled over the orcs, giants, and battle combined that try draw his attention. It was earth shattering, yet not roared, desperate yet soothing in his ear; he smiled.
It was unlike the expected, but that much more grounding; not brash or loud. It is a soft call of his name, smaller than he would ever hear, and so much more, so much more focusing than a thunderclap that roared overhead. It is what he did not expect, but he accepts it anyway, he loves it regardless.
The sound brings him back and away from the dark that haunted and teased him, it is there an everything comes to him. He is still in pain, but he knows where he is.
Dark smudges become those familiar, all with grimaces and shock as expressions, and if he was well enough, he would've laughed, asking if they had taken brooding lessons from his Uncle. Speaking of the King, the majesty himself is right there, looking not to him, but behind him with a look of concern and worry.
Before he can consider what that could mean, or why he did not see his brother, he relaxes. It's not voluntary, not all the way, but against the pain in his shoulders is warmth. He knows who it is and cannot stop the faint smile on his lips.
In his ear is the soothing sound of his own name, in a cycle which he wonders if it will ever end, and against him is the coinciding rumbles. It's faint, but he can feel the thumping and thrumming of another's heart. Then he knows that he has been given what he wished for, he is home.
He should feel sad, guilty at the tone used with his name, the sorrowful level the voice has taken; but he can't.
He is smiling.
They are both alive; unless this is heaven...no, he's still in pain, still here.
His mistake has not led to a disaster as he had planned for and foresaw in the moments before now, when the dark stone and rolling storm suffocated. They are not bits and pieces strewn into the dark caverns, to where they would rot as the dragon lives.
Now, he feels foolish and ready to laugh at himself, wanting to be rid of the evil in his thoughts and malice at his self worth. He knows, he should reflect, think of how to remember this in the future and prevent the mistake, but then the warmth is gone.
It's strange and he is tempted to let out a small sound of annoyance, but instead he responds to the removal of his brother with the jest he is feeling. Happiness is something that should not be expressed while one is in pain, but he can't help it; so, despite the fact that there's a good chance someone is going to hit him for being so light hearted, he speaks. It's low, but sly and he's almost glad he can't see his Uncle's face where he's arguing with the halfling; he gets the feeling the King would not be happy. But he does it anyway.
"Not that I don't love it outside, but can we please get out of this bloody rain?"
It's an honest question, but he expects the embrace a moment later. It's just like before, how it's always been; not to say he doesn't let out a small moan at the crushing force of being run into. The smile remains on his face, even if he cannot tell the difference between when he is under the stars and the moment when he is moved into the cave due to the spots in his eyes.
That doesn't stop him from lightly smacking the hands holding him and mildly complaining of the help he is receiving; in return there is banter that he can hardly understand, but it's there. Safe, familiar, and the breaths come easier.
When there is a lack of rain and another source of light, fire, he lets himself be led. Perhaps it's not the proud dwarf thing to do, but he can almost feel the stares of pity, so the protests die down when the exhaustion sinks in.
He's carried around from here to there and he doesn't care much to complain, the warmth is still there; the pain is almost less than an ache right now, so he let's his brother carry him although as the eldest it should be reversed.
No matter how he ignores it though, he still feels anxious; just a bit. The joyous feeling fading as the rain did; while his body feels better, his thoughts start to push back in and return to wreak havoc.
At least he is the only one suffering, instead of them both dead; this thought keeps the weary smile on his face. He pushes any sign of a frown off his face and keeps it there as he is sat down by the fire. It's the only place where there is enough light to treat him.
It is not life threatening, but if left in he will not be able to continue; luckily he trusts the others, therefore has no qualms about allowing the sensitive and swelled wounds on his naked back to be kneaded and touched for healing. The other hands are not as warm as the ones holding him up, but the skin accepts it and he stills as he was taught.
There are hushed tones as the two healers wash away the blood and he only winces minimally. Ironically, the smaller wounds he has now hurt more than larger scratches, but he's too weary to laugh at it. The smile on his brother's face shows enough amusement for the two of them and even if it seems impossible, he knows Kili had the same thought he did.
Their roles are reversed in a way, as he leans forward to allow Balin and Oin to pick out the shards of rock that were the only injury besides bruises suffered by the company. Instead of air, his head finds the chest of his brother to lean on. He is tired and indulges himself, knowing that his brother would smack him upside the head if he even thought about not resting.
The skin is warm and it moves slightly with every breath, a tangible rhythm that distracts to where he barely feels the pinches of skilled hands removing the stone. He's tempted to smile against the skin when there are hands in his hair. The braids are a mess from before and slowly the tangles are smoothed, with as much care as one would give a youngling; he is dirty and covered in grime, but the touch is delicate and comforting.
His place against his brother is barely disturbed and he allows himself partial rest. The warmth is not his, but he sinks in that much more; he cannot be hurt, not now. The fear and guilt and even most of the pain slips away; he knows that he should have his guard up, but he just listens to the beat.
It's cloudy around his head as he wanders, a steady base against him, but he knows his place. There is no unknown, not now; he knows where he is.
Home, he feels it in his bones; no matter if the concept was a place, the cool stone sheltering them.
Or a person.
(Even one without a proper beard.)
When he sees the light come into the eyes of the other, the world fades around him. Those whom he had once stood by become ink when met with water, the mountain but scratches by a quil; tangible becomes not a word, but a definition.
In the world there is darkness, he has known such since youth, and all gets sucked into the pitched situation they are in. He is no different, he goes along to the other side with no fight left in him; there's no reason. It'd be foolish and so he joins the others.
And then there's him, his brother.
The gold shines, while others' are dulled and frayed, and the smile that is there is warm despite the cool and chill of the haunting fears before. It's perfect, it's whole, and he wishes it no other way; so he pulls them both up and holds the only clear thing to him.
He is but a ghost in the moments that follow, replacing the shadow his brother loses when the only light of the cave is the fire. Careful steps, as if the floor was made of glass, mark his path as he stays as close of possible while never getting in the other's way.
The weight of the bruised prince is on his shoulder and yet it seems as though they are dancing, every action filled with careful planning to account for the pain, a sultry thing, though the fire is that of pain and fear.
The encouragement and nonsense he tells the other as the shards are rubbed from the skin are but whispers, just as the others are around them, and he holds his elder with a hold reserved for younglings. The other has been lulled to sleep, but he just keeps up the pattern of swirls he has set against the other's scalp and feels the warmth and heartbeat. It's there and he keeps it close.
In the crook of his neck, the other finds moving pillow and settles; he just takes in the sight of this and keeps as still as possible as to return the favor. While it should concern him and anger him, the actions of the other, the bruises; it doesn't.
What else should he expect? It's always been that way, since he could barely comprehend that he existed. He could worry, like he used to, and he could yell at the blonde, plead for this to stop. But it won't, he knows this as truth.
His back will always be safe, through the chill and glares and fire that is the past and what awaits, he just prays that he can do the same. There will come a time he knows, when the enemies will engulf or they shall be burnt to a crisp. It's hard at times, but deep down he knows that he will not be left defenseless for long. When the twin swords are gone, a blade will bury itself in his back, he will let it, and the pain will hurt, but he will smile.
He can already see the creased eyebrows and scrunched expression of his brother if he ever knew of this end that was planned and he can hear the words of encouragement to live on. And he would laugh, because there was never another way for this to end.
Perhaps it would be similar as they are now, with a head against the other and speaking, nearly silent, into the skin; the positions reversed but still closer than necessary. Perhaps there would be blood and fire, metal imbedded where the rain was drying and screams instead of conversational mutters that the cave echos. Perhaps it would be that or maybe a night in age when they slipped out of the wrinkled skin...
The last almost makes him smile; amusing is the fact that he would even consider something like that, but he can dream. Instead, his head rises at the call of Balin telling him to take his brother and get some rest. He doesn't hear himself speak, but instead only recognizes the fond and relieved look that comes to the elder dwarf's face at the reply of the other's condition.
So he rises, slowly as to not disturb the other, and stretches the slightly stiff and bruised bones. It's an awkward process, due to the sleeping dead weight against him, and part of him is relieved when another set of hands assist him.
The other part hisses and about snaps that he can do it, that it is HIS brother and he can carry the body a few feet. He is not weak, damn the fact that he is young, he can do it and do not touch! But then he sees the dark braids like his own and instead the almost cruel expression on his face melts into a thin smile. The irritation fades into exhaustion and in the end, it seems like the older dwarf is carrying them both, even if his own steps are slowed instead of stopped.
The king is vacant at the moment and he sees is the warmth that is his Uncle; the chill of betrayal is gone and while he still sees the sag of the shoulders before FIli's weight is shared between them, he pays it no mind for the familiar presence in the space he has carved out for himself in this world.
It's welcomed and though he whines a bit when the body comes between him and his brother, to better keep them both upright when he is slipping towards the ground, he still sags a bit more with the fur bristling against his cheek. Somehow it's dry and he leans into the warmth it radiates, moving in time with the muscle below it.
This is how it was, he remembers as they slowly cross the cave - which seems more like a valley that a few feet, he swears it wasn't that big a moment ago. Falling asleep in the fields, after a day of play, and they would be curled upon each other in the grass to the point where the approaching steps were barely heard. Then it would be weightless, save for the blonde curls he was holding and the steady arms keeping him close; once or twice he'd opened his eyes to see the ground moving and once or twice he'd seen the smirk of the observers on the street, those who watched the progression in the fading light of the day. Never had he seen the expression on the face of who carried them, he had not needed to then and when he finally wondered about it he was too old to be carried.
Time has passed since then and now he looks through drooping eyelids, his body betraying him when he wants to keep going and keep watch; he looks to the person who is next to him.
The facade is warm, in perfect tandem with the glow that shows off the stone, and the grizzled face of his uncle is soft. The skin is smooth and unscarred by memories that always seem to be following. The beard no longer shows specks of white but instead seems as black as his own head, the eyes blue as the sky outside when they turn to see him.
An arm snakes around his shoulder and pulls him closer, the expression of the elder fond and he swears that he can see a smile. It will be denied tomorrow if he asks and FIli will never believe him, but he returns the turn of the mouth as much as he can before they reach the corner he assumes they are spending the night.
Their burglar is nearly finished with arranging bedrolls other than his own and the ground never looked so comfortable; shadows hide the evidence, but he suspects that there is more padding than there was or will be in the future for the night. Out of habit loyal to his attitude, he leans forward to give the halfling a well deserved thank you hug, but is held back by Uncle. It's for the best, he knows later, as he would have crushed the smaller being with his loose weight, but in the moment he grumbles before being led closer to rest.
He is already stripped down to almost naked in their sense, without his bow or knives tucked into his coat, and he hears the 'hrrm' of disapproval from Bilbo, probably at his tangled mess of hair, before being laid down.
(Later, he learns it is concern that leads to a small argument of wills between Uncle and Bilbo; his behavior worrying and disapproving to the hobbit, but it is accepted as much less to him in the moment. And if Bilbo gives him and Fili small smiles, laced with pain of the past due to this night, for the rest of the journey, he is none the wiser as to why.)
On the way down, being laid carefully by slow motions as to ensure comfort, he meets the gazes of a few of the company and he puts on a lazy smile that tells nothing of terror. They all watch with a softness of the scene, but he can see the flicker of pain and pure fear in their persons. Reminders of the war that has been brought up; so he smiles to try and wipe some of it away, even if he is a moment from sleep.
None of them can see what is in his eyes though, which is for the best; they hold a warning, one that he would give to anyone in this moment. It is one to dare, to dare the others to tell him he was wrong; to berate him for his choice. He know such an attack will not come, but the warning is still there because while he knows they understand, he will not even stand for the idea in his head to exist that someone would say it was wrong. So there is warning for his own thoughts, so that he can try and pretend he will not be plagued in the coming dreams and nights.
No matter what comes, he decides as his back touches clothed rock, today was a victory; at least in his eyes and so he rests on his brother's side. Fili is already tucked into the layers given and he is careful not to put too much pressure on bruised skin while getting as close as possible.
The beat is back to where it needs to be, as the world fades even further, calm and consistent as it lulls him to the welcomed kind of darkness. It distracts him, grounds him, and is the focal point that is needed for all, especially him. Uncle's in their kingdom, their home that drives most; his is not that, though perhaps it should be.
His is more, as it should be to be the one thing that means more than the rest of the world. It's always been there, not a memory of the past like it is for the others. It's a living thing, uninhibited and his. Nothing has been lost, such as their homeland, it's still here.
Still here, against his side as he curls closer, in his ear as everything, even the rain bows out; the breathing moving minimally reminding him that he is not the only one in this cave. The beat is still there.
It's not silent.
( When the light dies down and the rain slows, hums outside, he lets out the worry and breathes. He's barely awake, but not yet gone because of the fear and tension. The past he lets drain away until all that is in his mind is the words from before. He repeats them back, so many times that he's sure the words mumble after he is gone, as the heart sends him to sleep, finally, and everything's alright. He's alright.)
"I love you Fili"
Consciousness comes back quickly, the haze cut through quickly to give him the new surrounds; the light is less that a dimmed candle and the noise is softer in it's distance. The twilight is no stranger to him, the timing fitting for nightmares and fears of the coming day; but there is none of that and he is left to himself.
A lull in the chaos, he decides, a small pocket of near silence.
The rain is but a drip outside and the roars are quelled, the wounds from earlier simmering but forgotten in the practice he has had. His attention is sparse, because while he awake and aware, that doesn't mean that sleep will not claim him once again in a moment. Sleep was strange like that, giving moments in the middle of nowhere to consider thoughts before sending you back to rest. The attention allowed is used for simple or complex matters, dependent on what lingers on the mind, but now every thought is on one thing.
Not the past, the giants which he was sure would haunt him, nor the future, the stone and fire; there is smooth breathing of the one beside him and without thinking he focuses on it. The other is safe, despite his poor, but brave efforts.
The fears put aside earlier have a chance to come back up in the moment and he tries to keep them back, to just enjoy and go to sleep with an arm around him.
So he tries, he is tired after all, he tries to loosen and allow the thoughts to dim as the light is; but he can't. Relaxation does not come, he can't let his guard down even though they are at the back of the cave with twelve armed guards between them and danger. (Well, Bilbo did have his letter opener)
Even that fact makes no difference, even when he knows that the rest will needed for tomorrow; not now, when the cliff was seemingly approaching moments ago. Wet rain makes it hard to hang on and the skin holding tight mends with his own.
He shifts with these thoughts, the ones he's tried to keep down and the only reason, he likes to think despite knowing his injury would of caused him to fall against the wall of the cave, he doesn't get up and pace is the arm that tightens across his chest.
He's tempted to smile but it reminds him why he can't let go of it all, no matter if he wants to; the warm body in his arms, the limbs wrapped around his chest and waist. He can't, because hoping for the best and standing by it not what needs to be done.
It's not enough.
It isn't...nothing will be. This is a moment, but what of tomorrow? Where the winds roar and there isn't an escape to the elves, when the fire singes and not a drop of water in sight; the thoughts swirl and crumble and just cements the fact that it's not enough.
It's a mess, a tempest of thoughts that is making nothing better and making the idea of sleep that much more ludicrous even though he needs it. Tomorrow will be worse if these wonderings come up and a lack of rest makes him paranoid; that would worry everyone and slow them down and...
A conclusion comes to mind and he shivers from something worse than cold could ever be.
He can't protect Kili forever; can't guard his mother's swollen belly and make sure she has enough water, can't glare at those who whisper of a lack or hair and accidentally throw a knife their way, can't wound his own knuckles and break bone when he sees a bruise, can't always catch him and promise the world.
He can't, but he has to.
It's all a disaster, one that will lead to failure - he will watch his brother fall and not be able to catch him.
It's truth and he rather be blind in the moment.
( He's muttering, softly, without words of sound. Just pain and sore and worry into the dark hair against him. It's sorrow and love, nothing he could ever communicate in words or friendly punches to the arm, nothing in looks or smiles, to the other. No one would understand and there's just him; he is happy to do it, do it all, but he can't. )
"I love you Fili"
It's soft and barely there, in time with the breathing and for a moment he thinks he imagined it; but it comes again. Sometimes it's just one word, rarely the whole thing; but it's there even when he doesn't think he can be.
He can't, but it says he can, that he will.
(He breathes away tears and doesn't smile, much. It's not enough, but right now, it's okay. He breathes deeper and tries to match the heartbeat against him, while clutching coser. The future is tomorrow and while he can't and is never sure it will ever be, now is safe)
So, the end? (Reviews would be awesome!)
(Clarification, if needed. I have this headcanon where Kili talks a bit in his sleep at times, little mutters and such, so I decided to use that. Kili is NOT awake when Fili is having his little broody session, but he is just speaking what is on his mind. Namely, his brother)
Btw - Thinking of doing one last memory for this story. Thorin memory of a walking, barely talking Kili variety? If you like the idea, tell me and I may just write it!
I hope you all enjoyed this story and have awesome days!