Dolls, Feasts and Wet Things
"Good morning, brother!"
Kíli turned his side, trying to ignore the too cheerful voice and pulled the blanket over his head. Soon it was ripped from him, but he still refused to open his eyes.
"Come on, Kíli. You can't sleep the whole day", Fíli coaxed.
"Watch me", the darker one mumbled on his pillow. He heard Fíli to give a heavy sigh and leave the room. Kíli already thought he had won, but heard then his brother walking back with new determination. Kíli had time to make one swearword in his mind, when he heard a little splash, before he was drenched with a bucket of ice cold water. He shot up from the shock and watched the culprit in horror.
"You awake now?" The older one asked casually.
"What do you think", Kíli answered snarky. "What was that for? Are you trying to revenge me for something?"
"Which of those some things?" Fíli asked rising his eyebrow. Kíli wondered a moment and realized that he should maybe start being a bit less trickster when it came to Fíli. Just maybe.
"Was there something particular reason you bothered to come all the way here to wake me from my sleep?"
"Kíli, I sleep across the hall, it's not really that bothersome to walk here. And yes, there is in fact. We need some meat and since you're so good with bows, we thought you could go hunt us a deer. Make that two actually. Or five. Ten would be nice."
"Wait, we? And ten deers? Are you out of your mind?"
"I knew we could trust you", Fíli said giving a pat on Kíli's shoulder. "Better be quick with it." And with that he just walked out of the room.
Kíli sat there a moment really puzzled, not exactly knowing if the older one had been serious. Finally he decided to dry himself and dress up before heading for the breakfast. His mother had started to make demands him to comb his hair or at least braid it, but the dark and messy haired dwarf only gave the brush an unpleasant look ere leaving his room.
In the dining room, Thorin was sitting and waiting for someone. Him, it seemed.
"Kíli", his uncle started, "your mother made you this. She wishes you to go for the hunt immediately. I propose you eat your breakfast on the way out." Thorin handed Kíli a package which contained some bread, cheese and dried fruits and berries.
Kíli gave his uncle a questioning look. What was all this talk about hunting? "Why do I need to go get ten deers? I mean, it doesn't make any sense to me."
"Ten?" Thorin asked a bit surprised. "Yes, ten sounds fine. You'd better hurry, if you want to be ready before the sun sets." Then he placed a bow and a full quiver in his young nephew's hands and shoved him to the door. Kíli had no choice, but to leave the room.
The young dwarf left the halls of Ered Luin mumbling something about his weirdly acting relatives. He headed straight to the forest after he got out, but he had no intension to hunt deers. They had specifically told him to go out, so he was going to enjoy this rare freedom. Well rare and rare, he usually took pretty many freedoms by himself.
Kíli had started to practice shooting on very small targets, but till now they had always stayed still. It was time to start hitting moving objects. After getting to a perfect position, the young dwarf waited patiently. It took quite some time, before he could see any squirrels, but finally one ran past him and stopped almost fifty yards away to smell the air. Kíli drew the arrow, aimed and let it free. The arrow fell wide of the mark.
Giving a sigh, Kíli got up and went to get his arrow. The little rodent had been startled away and the dwarf had no more patience to wait it to come back.
For a while Kíli just wandered around pondering what he should do. Then suddenly he heard someone crying, a child. Carefully he sneaked closer to the source of the voice and peeked behind the bushes. A girl was weeping on her hands for no reason to be seen.
Kíli thought it maybe to be better let her be and turned to leave, but then it figured to him, that she might have been lost. He should probably ask if he could help at least. Yes, that he would do. And just when he was about to go back to the girl, he heard a voice right behind him.
"You're short", the girl said. Kíli turned startled to her. She had brown wavy hair and clean farmhouse clothes. There were neither tears in her grey eyes nor any sings of crying on her freckled cheeks. Then he realized what she had said.
"Hey, I'm taller than you, kid. Besides, I'm a dwarf, I'm supposed to be short."
The girl gave him a studying look and finally let out a disappointed sigh and said: "I suppose you will do."
Kíli's eyebrows shot up, "Do for what?"
"I lost my doll and I need you to find it for me." It was no question, it was an order.
"Sorry, but I'm far too busy to help every little girl who cries in the forest. I was told to hunt down ten deers, we have a feast you see? Can't disappoint everyone", Kíli said puffing up his chest.
"I-I see", the girl said quietly and started walking away from him, giving small sobs.
Kíli looked at the furthering back and felt really bad. It's not like he was really going to hunt those deers and he had already given up on the squirrel hunt too. He took couple steps and yelled after the girl: "Fine, I'll help you!" The girl came back smiling, again, no trace of tears on her face. Crocodile tears, of course. "So, what's your name?"
"You're supposed to introduce yourself first, but since you don't seem to know any manners… I'm Molly." Kíli was already regretting to agree to help the girl.
"So Molly lost her dolly", he muttered and continued with louder voice: "I'm Kíli, at your service." Hah, showed her, he did have some manners.
"Don't look so proud of yourself", Molly said shaking her head.
"You know, that attitude won't take you very far", Kíli said squinting his eyes.
Molly gave a shrug, "far enough, Topsy-Turvy." What did she just call him? Topsy-turvy? Topsy-turvy? Maybe he should have combed his hair.
They walked around the forest, searching from the places Molly had played in, changing some agitated words. Kíli was wondering how she could remember all the places she's been in if she couldn't remember where she left her doll, not to talk about forgetting it in the first place. Molly on the other hand told that she was only nine so still a child, her memory was limited on certain things. He noted that he wasn't exactly an adult either. She had noticed that.
The bickering went on, until they came to a river.
"You were playing here alone?" Kíli asked eyeing the fast running stream. The spring had done its job and the river was flooding over its groove. "Don't you know how dangerous it is at this time of year?"
"What, you're scared of water? Don't worry, you can stay here while I search the riverbank", Molly said giving a pitying look.
"No, that's not it. It just isn't saf-" Kíli started, but Molly had already fled. "Fine, go! Alone near the water and drown yourself… Urf, that brat is such a… mafarrakh d'afrukh!" Kíli cursed and took after her.
The girl was surprisingly fast. It took a moment for Kíli to find her again and by the time he spotted her, she was on a floating trunk that was staying still with only couple of roots still in the ground.
"What do you think you're doing?!" He yelled at Molly.
"I found her!" She took unsteady steps towards the treetop, closer to the middle of the river.
He knew what was going to happen. Kíli could see the scenarios in his mind; Molly would slip and fall in the water or the roots would cave and the trunk make its way to the end of the stream and over the little girl. Either way the situation didn't seem good and there was nothing he could do, was there?
"Molly, don't move!" The dwarf commanded, not expecting her to obey, and threw his coat and boots off. Carefully he stepped on the trunk trying to observe Molly's doings. She was reaching at something, a wet rag, doll he supposed. Suddenly the branch beneath her hand broke and she did exactly what Kíli had thought, fell in the water.
Forgetting to be careful Kíli rushed to the spot where he had just seen Molly and noticed she was still holding on a branch. But not for long, the stream was awfully strong and would soon take the girl with it. Trying to take a hold of the smaller one, the evident happened and Kíli too was soon, once again in his life, in cold water.
Of course right then the ground around the roots cave in and the trunk started its way along the river. Kíli quickly took a firm grip of Molly and wrapped his other arm around the trunk. This just wasn't his day.
Before Kíli could even start to think how to get out of this situation alive, Molly gave a cry and pointed at the big rock which was inevitably rushing closer to them, or more likely they were headed right at the hard stone. O, come on.
Being put in that kind of situation, Kíli could only think of one solution. "Hold your breath", he told Molly, before diving. It was extremely hard to try to keep track of the trunk going above them and trying not to get caught on its branches. Not to talk about having to be careful not to let go of the little troublemaker. He had never thought he would be calling someone that.
Just when he was out of air, Kíli kicked them on the surface and soon after that they hit the rock, back first. It hurt, it really hurt, but definitely not as much as it would have if the trunk had flattened them against the rock. Luckily it had continued its way along the stream after hitting the rock a moment before them. Now the problem was to get out of the river.
Trying to keep hold of the slimy stone, Kíli observed the surroundings. Water, waves and more water. Great. It was impossible to see the riverbank, though it couldn't be too far off. Leaving everything to karma and luck and just trying to swim to ashore seemed like a fool's errand, but there was no other choice. Think Kíli! There has to be something!
Suddenly the dead weight on his right arm took his notice. Kíli lowered his eyes on Molly just to see how her eyes were closed and lips were turning blue at a good speed. He had to take the risk.
Without hesitation, Kíli turned to face the direction of the riverbank and kicked the rock as hard as he could. Immediately he started to scoop the water, which honestly wasn't very easy. It took all his strength and willpower not to give up and finally, not even entirely sure how he had managed to do it, Kíli dragged himself and Molly out of the water.
Completely out of breath and all muscles aching, the soaked dwarf set his eyes on the unmoving girl. What should he do? What could he do? The panic started to take over him, so he didn't notice the slight movement Molly's chest was making as she breathed in and out. Not until she gave a little snuffle.
"Molly? Molly, are you awake?" Kíli shook the girl and to his relief, she opened eyes and started a cough fit straightaway. The coughing soon turned into sobbing and this time the tears were real. Despite of her being a pert brat, she was still just a mere child.
Kíli tried to rub Molly's arm to keep her warm and shush her down as she cried for her mother. Finally he picked her up, pressing her to his chest and started his way to where he had left his coat. They had come down the river for at least half a mile.
After getting his boots back on, Kíli put the coat on Molly and took her on a piggyback. It was easier to carry her that way, for she wasn't exactly that much shorter than Kíli. Molly made her best directing Kíli to her home, but what Kíli could guess after reaching the right path, they had taken quite a detour.
"I'm sorry Topsy-Turvy", Molly whispered as they travelled on the darkening path. So he was still a topsy-turvy. Well, he supposed it didn't really matter what she called him, it wasn't likely they would meet again.
"I once almost drowned too. I was six", Kíli answered in a carefree tone, trying to tell that it wasn't her fault.
"I… am not actually sure. My brother saved me, that's all I can recall", Kíli said pondering. It was all kind of hazy in his mind and they didn't exactly bother to talk about it with Fíli. Not a nice subject for many reasons.
This time they talked in a kind matter that consisted of Kíli's past antics and Molly's cheeky comments on adults who looked down on her. All the time Kíli was worried of how cold the shivering girl actually was, despite of his coat, and if she would catch a death illness.
Finally they reached a cottage with lights shining from its windows. Molly let out a relieved sigh to the sight. Carefully Kíli put the girl down and knocked the door.
"I'm sorry about your doll", he apologized before the door was opened. Molly answered with a sad smile and returned his coat.
"Molly! Where have you been?" A high voice welcomed them from the open door.
"Mommy", Molly whispered and started to cry again, this time from the easement. Her mother quickly took Molly in her arms and calmed the girl down.
Kíli felt himself a bit uneasy, so he thought it would be best to take his leave. Especially when he wasn't sure if there would be scolding or thanking, the mother might start to blame him about things, before really knowing anything. Not worth risking.
"Bye then snotbag", Kíli threw a quick goodbye before turning on his heels.
"Thank you Topsy-Turvy!" He heard Molly yelling after him, making him smile. Not completely wasteful day, but now it was probably time to head back to the halls of the Blue Mountains. He would need to explain, not only the missing bow and quiver he had left in the forest, but also the deers. Sighing Kíli hunched his shoulders and started his freezing way to home.
The sun had already set and Kíli was still not home. Did Fíli really know his brother so poorly? He had been sure Kíli wouldn't hunt even one deer, when told to shoot them ten. But where was he then? Should he go to seek for the younger one? Fortunately he didn't have to make that decision.
Fíli was walking around the kitchen, for the brothers mostly used the back entrance in there, when Kíli sneaked in. The older one was immediately on the younger's back.
"Kíli! You're late!" Fíli exclaimed startling Kíli. The dark haired dwarf had no deers with him, which meant Fíli had been right after all. But then… "What have you been doing the whole day?" Fíli asked before noticing his brother's appearance. "Why are you all wet?" And still not giving the younger one time to answer, he continued: "What's wrong?" Kíli had a look on his face that said there was something bothering him, something he wasn't sure if he should talk about.
"Nothing, I just… It's nothing. Aren't you wondering about the deers?"
"Yes well, we found something else. You should go change your clothes. See you in the common hall, okay?" Fíli decided that he would demand the answers out of his brother later; they were already behind the schedule. But before Fíli let Kíli go he put a hand on the younger one's shoulder and studied his eyes. "Kíli, you sure you're fine?"
"Yeah, don't worry about it", Kíli answered easygoing and Fíli had no other choice but to let the shivering dwarf leave the room. He was definitely going to catch a cold walking around in wet clothes.
Trying to put his mind in the presence, Fíli made his way to the common hall. Everything was ready, had been for a while already in fact, and people were starting to get impatient. Not that dwarves had much patience to begin with.
At last, just in time, Fíli got everyone to be still and quiet. Right at the moment Kíli opened the door into the common hall, they started singing and old dwarvish drinking song, because what else would fit so perfectly on this situation. And the look on Kíli's face was priceless, he had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Finally after their mother had planted a kiss on Kíli's cheek and congratulated him, the understanding was slowly taking over the young one. Fíli too walked to his brother and gave him a hug yelling over all the ruckus: "Happy birthday, brother!"
Soon everyone was congratulating the birthday hero, drinking and eating, singing and wrestling. Hours passed and the ones with low alcohol tolerance were snoring under tables.
Fíli had made his way further from the others. He enjoyed feasts just as much as the next dwarf, but he wasn't in the mood right now. He had thought his head through what to give to his brother, but had always come into one thing. And that wasn't possible. It wasn't even a subject they talked about.
In his thoughts Fíli didn't notice that Kíli had joined him, until he spoke.
"You know, I actually used a feast as an excuse today, but I had no idea we were actually having one." Kíli looked at the older one smiling happily, but Fíli just couldn't answer to it from all his heart. "Why are you sitting here alone anyway?" Kíli changed the subject.
"I just needed a moment alone. You should really go back to your party; you're the main theme after all."
"Why did you even put up this? It's not like twenty is any big year", Kíli asked ignoring his proposal.
Fíli shrugged: "Round numbers. Besides, it's nice to have a feast now and then."
For a moment the awkward silence fell upon them. It was weird, there was usually nothing they couldn't talk about to each other, but now there was clearly something in both of their minds. Eventually it was Kíli who broke the silence.
"Remember that time when I almost drowned?" The younger dwarf blabbered so fast, that Fíli had to think for a second if he had heard right. When he was sure there was no mistake, he just stared at his brother, giving a weird look. "What?"
"Nothing, it's just… funny you brought that up." Now it was Kíli's turn to give him a look. He supposed 'funny' wasn't exactly the word he had been expecting. "I've been actually thinking about that incident, I just didn't know how bring it up, since we don't…"
"Talk about it", Kíli finished. "But why have you been thinking about it?" Fíli felt like making a counter question and ask why Kíli had thought of that time, but decided it would be fair to answer first.
"It started as a thought of a present for you", another look from Kíli, "and all I could think about was six years. For six years I kept a wall between us, a wall because of which we didn't come along and I kept saying I hated you, when it was never true. I want to give those six years back to you, so I can be the older brother you would have deserved from the start, not the kind of dolt I was to you."
Kíli was quiet for a moment until he slowly started: "Fíli… I could have never asked for a better big brother than you. Do you see any wall between us now? No. For you destroyed that wall long ago. I don't need those six years, I've had already many great years with you and I bet there are still many to come."
That made Fíli feel a bit better, but still… "But what did it almost cost for me to break that wall." Kíli had almost died that day. He had only twice been that scared and both of the times he had thought Kíli was gone.
"Whoa, brother, you're starting to get a tad too sentimental here. Come on Fíli, don't think about it like that, especially when nothing irreversible happened."
He supposed his brother was right and it was Kíli's birthday. A glint of mischief appeared in Fíli's eyes as he said: "Are you sure? I think you might have frozen your brain quite good under that ice. It would explain couple of things."
"In that case the blame is yours. You should have picked me up sooner", Kíli simply answered.
Fíli gave a good laugh, before he became more serious again. "I love you, Kíli, you know that, right?"
"Of course I do", Kíli rolled his eyes, "and yes, I love you too."
"Well why wouldn't you? I'm the best brother you could ever have, didn't you just say that?"
"O shut up. Anyway, there was something I was wondering about that time. When you did pull me out I was unconscious, right? But did I breathe?"
Fíli wasn't sure if he liked where this was going. "No, you didn't."
"What did you do?" Yep, he definitely didn't like this. And Kíli was making matters worse by staring at him with his big brown eyes.
"You really don't want hear the answer. Trust me on this, Kíli."
"Why?" Kíli frowned. "What did you do? Fíli?" Kíli put all the weight and authority – wherever he got that one – on that last word.
"Fine!" Fíli gave up. "I was scared! I thought you were a goner and it was the only thing I could think of!"
"What thing?" Kíli asked suspiciously.
Fíli gave a little sigh before starting: "Remember the story Balin once told? About the man that-"
"You didn't!" Kíli breathed as he realized what Fíli meant.
"I told you, there was no other way", Fíli said as calmly as he could.
"Bleugh! You put your saliva in my mouth!" Kíli complained, though it sounded like whining to Fíli.
"I saved your life. And it's been forever since."
"Still, that's gross!"
This time the quietness wasn't uncomfortable. They just sat there sipping some ale and watching how Dwalin was trying to prove to Glóin that he surely could stand on one hand and drink ale all the while whistling. Of course he had to do it on table so everyone could see he was right. It didn't end well for the tattooed dwarf and Nithi, who was standing too close for his own wellbeing. At least everyone else got good laughs when Dwalin was groaning from the floor where he had landed on poor Nithi.
"What would you have done if I brought ten deers with me?" Kíli asked after the most of the laughter had died down, mainly as a result of Dwalin's glaring.
Fíli gave a glance at his brother. "Then we would be eating venison. Though I knew you wouldn't bring even one with you. Come", Fíli said standing up, "let's go to revel till you pass out."
"Too bad you're not gonna see that. I'm going to be standing long after you've sacked out."
"O yeah? We'll see about that."
And they went and drank. A lot. In the end they passed out about the same time, but neither of them knew that for the whole night was a bit blur in their minds. But they had had fun, that they knew. Though there was one dwarf that didn't exactly approve their merrymaking, that obviously being Thorin. And he let them know it in a very nasty way as the first thing in the morning.
A/N: And finally, finally I got this finished, last chapter. I wish I had found a way to write more of Dís and Thorin in this, but this will have to do. Now I can at last put my concentration on other fandoms. Adieu!