Author's Note: Just a little something I had to get out my head while I am working on two longer pieces…
Disclaimer: Not mine. If it were there would be a happier ending for uncle Oakenshield and his beloved sister-sons.
Gloin looked around at the rest of the company as they searched the hobbit hole for the best place to sleep. There was a space next to his brother that looked comfortable enough...
"I hear little Gimli was not impressed to be left behind," a low voice sounded from behind the red haired dwarf. A faint smile pulled on Gloin's lips as he turned to face Thorin.
"He most certainly was not," he confirmed, drawing a small smirk from his older, distant cousin. "I almost had him calmed when he found out Kili was getting to come along. That set him off again."
Thorin's head tilted slightly.
"There is fifteen years between Kili and Gimli is there not?"
"To a youngster that is nothing," his eyebrow arched. "He has played and trained with Fili and Kili for years. Being an only child he has always acted older while Kili has been able to…"
Thorin's brow rose as Gloin's voice trailed off.
"Were you about to imply my nephew is immature Gloin?" he asked although a smirk played on his lips. Gloin gulped but a quick glance at Thorin relaxed him.
"All I am saying is that being a younger brother has its advantages," he replied with a smirk of his own as he looked over toward Oin. Thorin chuckled quietly before his face grew serious again.
"I envy you that you were able to leave Gimli behind," the elder dwarf said quietly. "Not that it is the same thing of course," he continued quickly. "He is your son and…"
Gloin tilted his head slightly as Thorin's voice now trailed off, his hand waving in the general direction of his nephews.
"And they are not yours?" the younger dwarf replied in a soft but pointed tone. Thorin looked over at the two dwarves in question thoughtfully, a smirk pulling back on his lips.
"That is dependant upon on their behaviour that day."
Gloin chuckled, his own gaze turning to the two young brothers.
"Do they remember their father?"
A faint frown pulled on Thorin's brow.
"Fili can picture but a shadow standing next to his mother," he shook his head. "Kili remembers nothing."
Gloin nodded slowly.
"They will do you proud cousin," he said reassuringly. "They are young, strong, loyal, fearless," Gloin gave a definite nod. "You have trained them well."
Thorin inhaled deeply.
"That is what I am worried about," he muttered before exhaling heavily. "That the very skills that make them invaluable are going to get them hurt," a heavy frown pulled on his brow as once again he glanced over at the two young dwarves in question. "I fear that in trying to fulfil their oath to follow ad protect me they will follow me into death."
Gloin took a deep breath, not entirely sure how to answer that. Certainly the boys followed their guts before they followed their heads – and they would follow their uncle into any situation without so much as a backward glance. Before he could think of his reply though Thorin spoke up again.
"That does not look like a comfortable spot they have chosen," the older dwarf tilted his head to the side slightly, narrowing his eyes as he looked upon where his two nephews seemed to have settled for the night, propped up against each other on a wooden chest. Gloin chuckled.
"There are not many places to lay in here," he said, gesturing around him. "The lads proclaimed that their young bodies would be able to handle the less comfortable of the resting places to leave the more comfortable for us… older soles."
Thorin let out a low grunt, rolling his eyes slightly. He could tell from Gloin's tone – and from simply knowing his two nephews – that they would likely have been far less tactful in their statement that his cousin had indicated. The boys had likely actually done something quite kind and thoughtful for the rest of the company, with genuinely good intentions – Thorin knew that even behind their cocky and arrogant bravados his sister had actually managed to raise two respectful and well mannered boys – but unfortunately their mouths often ran away with them, especially Kili's. All the company would remember would be being called old.
"Speaking of which we should rest too," he clapped a hand onto Gloin's shoulder and offered him a smile. "Be thankful that this fight is not Gimli's."
Gloin gave a solemn nod.
"Oh I am," he replied earnestly.
"Once we have reclaimed Erebor these dark days will be behind us," Thorin continued, gazing back again in the direction of his nephews. This time Kili met his gaze, the younger dwarf's eyebrow arching inquisitively but Thorin turned back to Gloin. "Pray this is the last fight that our people see."
Gloin arched an eyebrow.
"Then Gimli would be even more remiss that he missed this one," his expression turned sombre. "But I sincerely hope you are right," a reassuring smile pulled on his lips as he in turn clamped a hand onto Thorin's arm. "And fear not – no matter how much they insult us or annoy us we will keep your boys safe," his head bowed slightly before he corrected himself honestly. "We will try to keep your boys safe."
Thorin's head bowed in acknowledgement, a ghost of a smile pulling on his lips.
"Thank you," he paused before opening his mouth to continue but a loud crash from nearby stopped him. Looking up he saw Fili sprawled on the floor, rubbing his head with a scowl on this face as Kili giggled from atop the perch they had previously shared. Thorin inhaled deeply, rubbing his hands over his face as Gloin chuckled. Shaking his head Thorin offered his cousin one last despairing look.
"I really, really envy you that you were able to leave your little one at home."