A/N: Firstly, this was not supposed to be so long and secondly, I have no idea where those wolves came from. So this one is actually mostly (or entirely) about Thorin. I promise there will be more of Fíli (and Kíli) in the later chapters.
The Shining Morning Star
Thorin Oakenshield, the king under the mountain, that's what they called him. That's what he was, though he had no mountain. But that was going to come to change; he would take their home back one day, he had faith in that.
Thorin worked hard to ensure his people's wellbeing and to earn back some of the gold and riches they had lost. He made a home for his folk. But when he wasn't working and he could have relaxed and have a drink, he rather stayed in his room examining the maps and planning the journey. He had no idea when he would take this quest or even how he could slay the dragon they had failed to kill with their great army. Still, he was determined.
Most of the time, Thorin lived in the past, thinking about what was lost. So when the news of his sister being in labor came in the middle of the night, he was more than surprised. He had only a faint memory of hearing she was even pregnant.
The dwarf that came to inform Thorin probably waited a different kind of reaction than a nod and thank you, since she looked slightly disappointed. What was he supposed to do? Run through the halls screaming from the joy? No, this didn't really concern him. Sure he was happy for Dís, but that was all he felt, this baby wouldn't affect his life in anyway.
Thorin continued his grieving of Erebor and fallen comrades, since he knew he wouldn't be able to fall asleep anymore. Memories from the battle of Azanulbizar flowed into his mind. That day had been even harder for him than Smaug's attack on the Lonely Mountain. There east of Moria, near Mirrormere he had lost something more precious than a home, he had lost his brother.
He let his mind go back on the days when they were still young and he had gotten Frerin in thousands of troubles, but in the end always saved him from them. The same had worked the other way around. They had been really close and Thorin still blamed himself for letting his younger brother die in the hands of orcs.
Suddenly someone knocked Thorin's door waking him from his thoughts. He shaped himself up on his chair and told the knocker to come in. It was the same dwarf woman than the last time.
"My lord, lady Dís has asked to see you." The tone the dwarf used gave no room for arguing. Dís had probably been very strict on the fact that her brother had to come to her.
Sighing Thorin got up and followed the dwarf woman. He would have known the way by himself, but she apparently was going to make sure Thorin would get to Dís. Like he was some dwarfling who would run off on the first chance he got.
It was just the break of day and first sunbeams could probably be seen outside. The passageways they walked through were mostly empty, only couple of dwarves passed them arms full of clean sheets and towels. Though this living area was for Durin's heirs, there usually visited lots of dwarves during the day, therefore this quietness was something rare and Thorin really enjoyed it.
Finally they got to his sister's door. The dwarf woman knocked the door and informed Thorin before he could step in. Dís' room was dark; the only source of light was the candle on her nightstand. She was sitting on the bed two big pillows behind her back and she held a little bundle on her arms. Her dark hair was pressed against her head from the sweat, but all the same she had the brightest smile on her face.
"You wished to see me sister", Thorin said politely. While he might be the king, Dís was the princess and his little sister and she knew how to be stubborn. That's why Thorin usually just played along and did what she wanted, at least when they were these sort of small things.
Dís raised her gaze from the little one to look at Thorin, but her eyes returned soon back to the bundle. "Yes. I actually hoped you would come to visit me instead of me having to tell someone to get you here." He didn't as much as look apologetic or regretting.
"Here", Dís said and held out the baby for him. "Your nephew."
Thorin hesitated and gave a suspicious look before taking the child. Carefully he opened slightly the cloth the baby was wrapped in. He had bright blue eyes like most of the newborns had – but there was something more in them – and golden hair that shined on the candle's light covered the top of his head. On that moment something changed in Thorin's heart, he just didn't notice it himself yet.
Thorin cleared his throat before taking his eyes off of the child and turning them on his sister. Now he knew why Dís had kept staring at the baby, he had quite mesmerizing gaze. "He's very beautiful", Thorin praised like he was talking about someone's cattle and gave the baby back to his mother. "Your husband isn't here?"
"Nár is getting me something to eat. He should be back soon."
Nár was one of the most hard-working dwarves Thorin knew, but somehow he always found enough time to coddle his wife. When the time would come, besides Balin and Dwalin, Nár was one of the certain choices Thorin would take with him on to reclaim their homeland.
There was a soft knock on the door and Nár came in with a tray full of food. There was a cup of hot vegetable soap with meat lumps in it, just baked bun and a big slice of cheese, a glass of fresh water and a syrup cake. The golden haired dwarf gave a respectful bow with his head as he noticed the king.
"Thorin, I wondered if you were here. There has been another sight of wolves at the foot of the mountain. Frár and Hannar were looking for you, they're in the counsel hall. I'll come right behind you, I'll just-"
"No, you should stay with your wife and son", Thorin interrupted and gave a quick pat on the other dwarf's shoulder. Nár looked at him with anxiety in his brown eyes, but said nothing.
Thorin was already out of the room and had taken few strides when Dís yelled after him. "His name is Fíli by the way. Just so you know." Only Thorin's thoughts were already in the wolves and the name slipped fast out of his mind.
With long steps Thorin was soon in the counsel hall were the others were waiting for him. There were six other dwarves besides Frár and Hannar. They all had weapons with them, Thorin could see swords and axes, warhammers and maces, and they all had armors on them. Dwarves were fierce folk and right now, this was as near as they could get fighting.
Hannar gave a quick report of what had happened. Apparently couple of little dwarflings had been outside playing when suddenly three wolves had appeared and started to corner them. Luckily Hannar had been nearby and heard the screams. No one was hurt, but if there was a pack of wolves that was brave enough to come so near, then that would be a problem.
Usually wolves moved at dusk, so they would go hunt them down just when the sun was setting. Thorin could see many disappointed looks on his fellow dwarves' faces; they had hoped to go on a hunt immediately. Most of them were still young and had never been in a real battle. They were still not born when they left Erebor and had been too young to take part in the battle of Azanulbizar.
It didn't take long to make their plan so Thorin was left a lot of time to look back. Just for once he didn't feel like doing so, this time he wanted to forget. Instead of heading to his room, he let his legs take him where ever they wanted. Soon he found himself from the dining room a tankard of ale in his hand, listening the chattering dwarves. He didn't actually concentrate on the words, but let them just go past him.
Surprisingly time flew faster this way than when Thorin had fallen into his own thoughts. It felt like he had just sat down when he already had to get up and eat something hastily, before getting his stuff and meeting everyone in the outer hall.
"Are all here?" Thorin asked as he made the headcount. Frár nodded and they were about to leave when the one last dwarf accompanied them. It was Nár. Thorin said nothing until they were outside and no one else could hear him, for he did not want to shame his brother-in-law.
"I thought I told you to stay with Dís."
"And?" Thorin asked waiting an explanation.
Perhaps Dís' stubbornness was contagious and Nár had caught it or he really needed some time outside. Whatever the reason was, Thorin only gave a nod and let Nár come with them. He respected the gold haired dwarf's resolution.
After they had gotten on the edge of the forest, they divided into two groups of three and one group of four. Thorin, Hannar and Frár were the group leaders, for they were the most experienced and older than the others. They went through the plan and each group left on to agreed path.
Thorin led his two companions – Náli and Lóni – into woods. Both of them were still young, barely even in their sixties. He would have preferred Dwalin by his side, no matter how petite this mission seemed, but he and Balin were on a journey to visit the Iron Hills with some other dwarves.
It was already twilight and of course it had to be a cloudy night. It was getting harder to see clearly in front of oneself. They had to be quick, otherwise the advantage would go to their prey and they would become hunted. Luckily at least the wind was nonexistent; the wolves wouldn't smell their scent too soon. If it had been winter and there were snow the tracking would had though been easier, but it was already midsummer.
They were nearing the place they had figured to be the pack's den. Thorin gave a warning sign to the two younger one so they wouldn't make any sudden moves or noise that would give them in. They readied their weapons and Thorin was about to take couple more steps forward, when he heard a cry. It came from the southeast about fifty yards away from them.
"It was Lit!" Náli yelled and rushed towards the voice. Thorin tried to stop him from running straight into a situation he knew nothing about, but his words rang to deaf ears and Lóni's back joined shortly his brother's. Thorin muttered something about reckless dwarflings and ran after the two.
The scene waiting them was shocking. They had thought they'd find a pack of six or seven wolves, but there were at least fifteen of them. Two dwarves were down and two others fighting against the wolves surrounding them.
Thorin swayed his sword and took the nearest wolf by surprise. Náli and Lóni came right after him swinging their axes. The wolves weren't actually very hard opponents – Thorin had killed many stronger ones – but there were more of them and the clouds in the sky had gotten darker making it almost impossible to see anything.
"Light the torches!" A yell came from Thorin's left side and soon there were three flames. It was Frár with his companions. They joined the fight and used their weapons fiercely.
The dwarves cut the heads and pierced the chests of the wolves. It was all over very quickly. Thorin examined the dead pack and shortly understood why it had come so close to their living area, the wolves were starving. He could clearly see how the ribs stick out of their sides, no wonder they were rather easy opponents.
"Thorin", Frár called him, "Lit and Nár are wounded, and Hannar…"
The pain in the older dwarf's eyes told what mouth could not speak, he and Hannar had been old friends. Thorin turned to face the others and saw Flói holding Hannar's – his father's – limp body. Náli and Lóni were supporting their cousin and the rest of them were just standing there and looking at him expecting.
"This was not the wolves' den. We must find it and kill the rest of the pack, if there is any left. Frár, Nithi and Jári will come with me, the rest of you go back."
There was no arguing with his orders. They lit more torches and split them with each other. Nár – whose wounds were neither deep nor critical – started to lead the others back to the mountains as Thorin and his companions began to search for any traces of the den.
It didn't take long for Nithi to find the tracks of the wolves they started to follow. The trail went to the direction where Thorin had come from with two young brothers.
As they waded in the undergrowth, the sky opened and dropped the cold drizzle on them. The drops first came slow and far apart but their pace fastened minute by minute. If they weren't fast, they would not only get soaked, but also lose the tracks. Thorin hurried the other three.
Twenty minutes later the weather was still getting worse and Thorin was about to tell the others they would give up and go back home, but that's when he heard something. A silent yip. There was no telling what animal had let out the noise, but there was a big chance it to be a wolf.
Thorin put his finger in front of his mouth to tell others be quiet. Slowly they approached the source of the yip, half surrounding it. They only had one torch lit anymore – somehow it had been preserved from the rain. Jári kept it low so the light wouldn't scare the animals before it was too late.
Weapons exposed they jumped from behind the trees to a little open area. First they saw nothing, but soon noticed a hole in the ground. They had found the den.
There were no adult wolves to be seen, but the repeating yip told that there were puppies in the nest. The younger dwarves watched for their backs as Thorin and Frár crouched and started to thrust their swords in the hole, doing the dirty job. Thorin felt no pity as he heard the noises the scared puppies and the ones hit let out. They would grow up to be killers and that was not what they needed in the Blue Mountains. Not that the puppies would had survived long without their pack.
After the job was done, Thorin stuck his sword into the ground, cleaning it from the blood and finally sheathed it. They only had one torch, so only one could effectively go search surroundings. Thorin decided that the one would be him, though Frár gave a little protestation. Others would wait him at the den.
The rain had gone back to the drizzle, but it had left them wet and the wind didn't feel particularly warm. Thorin shivered from the cold as he searched for any trace of still alive wolves. Suddenly he didn't have to look for the tracks anymore, for two wolves, an adult and a puppy, walked straight at him. Thorin wasn't given time as much as to touch his sword – mentally he cursed himself for not keeping it unsheathed – when the grown-up wolf had already knocked him over and was now growling at him, teeth exposed.
Thorin tried to stay as still as he could as the wolf kept its front legs on him and sniffed. He thought many ways how to get his knife from his boot and into that beast's skull, but none of them worked even in his head. Then he realized he was still alive – obviously – the wolf hadn't killed him.
Thorin turned his head a little so he was able to look in the eyes of the animal on top of him. If Thorin had believed that animals could express feelings with just their eyes, he would have said this one was giving him a sad gaze. And then it suddenly jumped on and ran into the woods the puppy following it.
Slowly Thorin got up from the muddy ground and looked after the wolves, but saw no trace of them anymore. He was afraid he would come to regret his resolution, but he decided to let the animals go and not tell anyone about them. It wasn't likely they would stay in these woods.
His muddy clothes Thorin explained by slipping down. No one suspected anything – Thorin if someone would not tell these kinds of lies – so they left back to the mountains.
They were in front of the main door when Jári suddenly tugged Thorin's sleeve making him stop. The king turned to the young dwarf the question in his eyes, but he kept staring his feet until the other two were far enough not to hear them.
"It was my fault what happened to Hannar", the young dwarf said quietly, "I wasn't careful enough and because of that the wolves noticed us before we saw them. Everything happened so fast, Hannar was trying to pull me away from the beasts and the next thing I knew, he was on the ground staring at me with eyes no life in them. Then Lit was lying there too and I thought he…"
Jári's voice broke and tears filled his eyes. His shoulders were shaking between the silent sobs. Thorin wasn't quite sure how to comfort this young dwarf he knew not all so well. So he just said what first came into his mind and surprisingly enough, those seemed to be the right words.
"You can't blame yourself. He had seen many fights and he quite sure knew what he was doing. He died for you, so you could live. I do not tell you not to grieve, but remember, this life isn't only for you anymore. So value the life you are given."
With those words, Jári's eyes had gained a new hope and determination. The two of them went inside to warm and meet the others. Nár and Lit's wounds had been treated and everyone had changed to dry clothes. Soon the rest of them were placed hot mugs on their hands and blankets on their shoulders.
After some drying up and getting warm again, Nár almost dragged Thorin with him towards to Dís´ room, reasoning Dís to want to see they were both okay. Thorin guessed that Nár was actually a bit afraid of his wife's reaction about him going on to a mission without telling her (Thorin was sure Dís had known nothing about Nár leaving with him). His sister would not likely be pleased. And he was right.
Someone had though told Dís already where her husband had been, for she was waiting for them arms crossed and foot tapping on the floor. Thorin hated that look on her face.
"Thorin Oakenshield!" And that tone. "Why did you let him go along? You knew about Fíli! What if he had lost his father on the same day he was born? What if it had been Nár instead of Hannar?"
Thorin didn't have time to answer to his sister for Nár cut in clearly infuriated of the way Dís talked about Hannar. Thorin knew Dís had not meant to violate the death one's memory, she was just worried. And angry.
"Shut up woman! That decision was mine to make! I felt like going with them and you have no right to complain about that!"
As the tones turned more heated and louder the baby on his cradle woke up, but his parents didn't seem to notice him. Right now there was only this fight for them. They were still pretty young couple for being married about two years now, so these kinds of fights between them were not unheard.
"No right? Who do you think you are talking to? I am your wife and I have all the rights to argue about your poor decisions!"
Thorin walked to the crying baby and took him in his arms. He didn't know much about raising children, but listening to this yelling could not do any good.
"Poor decisions? Do you have any idea what-"
Rest of the argument didn't reach Thorin's ears; he had closed the door and was now walking away from it. He wasn't sure where to go with the baby, somewhere quiet he supposed. His working room would probably do fine and that's where he headed.
The baby did not stop crying even when they got into Thorin's room. The dwarf king was helpless with the weeping child. He swayed the bundle from one side to another, he tried singing and humming, little bit of bouncing and patting on the back, but none seemed to work. Maybe he was hungry? But Thorin had nothing to offer him.
Finally he sat down and just looked at the little red face. Gently he rubbed the unstopping tears from round cheeks and hushed with a low voice.
"There's nothing to cry really, you know. You are safe here with me, with your…" That was probably really the first time Thorin realized he was an uncle and he had a nephew. "Yes, with your uncle. Fíli. That's what your mother called you, wasn't it?"
And with his name spoken, he stopped crying. Curiously Fíli looked up at his uncle, perhaps not actually being capable to focus on the face in front of him, but Thorin felt like he understood him. Then Fíli grabbed the finger that was still on his cheek, put it in his mouth and started to chew.
Thorin smiled gently as he looked his nephew's eyes starting to close and the boy finally falling back asleep, his finger still in a tight grip.
"Good night Fíli", he whispered.