With the adrenaline of battle, it's always a struggle to see past what's directly in front of you. Watching a battle is drastically different. If you think that's exciting, try fighting one. While you may only be a speck on the larger battlefield, your individual battle consumes you. It's just you and your opponent. That man or orc or elf or whatever, commands your full attention; if you split your attention, you make yourself vulnerable. Those few seconds or few minutes could be your last to breathe. How can you focus on anything else? At the same time, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Kili has struggled with this his whole life. That's why he and Fili so often fight back to back, literally. They watch each other's backs because they have not yet learned how to watch their own.

But when the orcs ambushed them, Kili had been with Bilbo in the back of the company while Fili had been with Thorin in the front. When the orcs ambushed them, Kili and Fili lost each other. And that's how Kili was left alone and vulnerable. That's how the arrow was able to embed itself in his shoulder without his foresight.

And oh, how it hurt.

Kili's breath caught in the back of his throat in response to the pain, momentarily stunned. The force of the arrow knocked him back; and as his hand found his wound, his back found the dirt. He let out a low whine and looked in the direction from whence the arrow came. Of course, he couldn't locate the archer.

"Kili!"

Fili.

His adversary forgotten, Kili was half-surprised when he saw the glitter of metal in the sunlight from the corner of his eye. He was able to move his stiff body just in time to avoid the blade. He wriggled up into a sitting position and managed to grab his sword in time to defend himself once again. As the blades clanged together inches in front of his neck, Kili's heart rate increased. Too close.

The orc drew his sword back and chopped at the air above Kili's head, for the dwarf managed to duck and drive his blade into the orc's midsection. Way too close.

The orc fell on top of him, knocking in to Kili's shoulder and angering his wound. Pushing him off, Kili winced in pain and looked up from his position on the ground, lost. Where was his bow? Kili couldn't bring himself to search for it. He shut his eyes tight against the pain coursing through his body from his shoulder. He didn't dare look.

"Kili, look at me."

Kili opened his eyes to the see the familiar golden locks of his brother standing above him. Fili looked relieved that his younger brother had obeyed so quickly. Something caught his attention and he swung his sword, catching an orc in the throat. Kili saw that his own bow was in his brother's other hand. While Fili's back was turned, Kili allowed himself to block out the sunlight once more.

"Come on," Kili felt gentle hands wrap around his chest, "Get your arm around me. We need to get you somewhere safer."

Kili whined as Fili lifted him from the unforgiving ground. He barely heard, "I'm sorry, Brother."

Whether Fili was apologizing for hurting him or for not being his second pair of eyes, Kili wasn't sure. He was only sure of the searing pain that forced him to lean heavily against his brother. He stole a glance at his right shoulder. Two? There were two arrows? He could have sworn he only felt one. They were inches apart and the gap between them was closed by a steady flow of blood, which trickled down his side. "Fili…"

"We'll get them out, don't worry," His brother's voice was laced with concern. Kili watched his blue eyes look around for somewhere to keep him, somewhere to hide him. His eyes locked on something and widened in alarm.

Seconds later, Kili was torn from his brother.

"No!" Fili's cracked voice resonated in his ears as he felt the hilt of a sword come down hard against his head. Kili didn't know whether the clanking of metal that came afterward was real or in his mind. His body found the ground once more; gravel meeting his face and scraping his lips and cheeks. His head commanded attention, but his shoulder was on fire. He was engulfed by a very surreal feeling—everything was happening in slow motion, but incredibly quickly. He heard voices—shouts—and weapons cracking against weapons.

Something kicked him in the ribs and turned him over. Kili instantly doubled over and gasped for air. Something grabbed at the twin arrows lodged in his shoulder and pulled.

As he screeched, Kili was sure he saw stars.

White hot pain took over and he was promptly aware of how bright it was, though he couldn't tell if his eyes were open or closed.

"Kili!"

Fili.

His brother's voice beckoned him back to the world outside of his pain. Whatever stole the arrows from his body fell beside him in that moment and Kili dared to peek out.

The orc's face was about an arm's length from his; the grotesque, grey skin was pale against the dark blood that seeped from his scalped head. Its lips were twisted into a frown and its eyes, though lifeless, bore into his being. Kili focused on breathing.

With his hand firmly gripping his wound to staunch the blood flow, the youngest dwarf fidgeted so that he was on his side. Every move he made sent a new wave of agony through every fiber of his body, but something drove him to keep his consciousness.

Fili.

Blonde hair was bouncing with each stroke of his sword. How many was he fighting? Two? Three? Kili couldn't count without his vision blurring. As one of the orcs fell, Fili's eyes met Kili's.

The reassurance that his brother was still alive seemed to have given Fili new power; and although he swung his sword more recklessly, he swung with more strength. The number of orcs that littered the edge of the forest was thinning out. They would win.

A deep howl brought Kili from the darkness that threatened to fog his vision. Fili dropped to his knees. Delayed, Kili took notice of the orc sliding something small and silver out of his brother's midsection and his stomach dropped. Thorin rushed into his line of vision as Fili remained still, expecting death as the orc leveled his knife with the heir's neck.

Dumbfounded, Fili's hands found his stomach and were tentatively pressed against the wound.

Thorin yelled again as the orc's head fell to the dirt, body following. Kili watched as Thorin struck down another orc, and another, while his brother remained stagnant on his knees.

He didn't know whether to vomit or cry or yelp or jump to his feet and obliterate every orc that crossed his path. Finally, Kili screamed.

Kili screamed as Fili looked back at him, mouth agape with labored breaths. Kili screamed as Fili attempted to smile at him and thin red streams traced the blonde braids beside his lips. Kili screamed as Thorin lunged in time to catch Fili before he crumpled to the ground. Kili screamed as Balin joined Thorin at his brother's side. Kili screamed as Thorin pulled Fili into a protective embrace. Kili screamed as his world went black.