AN: And here we have it.
The end of the end. Hooooooly shrimp on a breadstick, guys.
This started as a three chapter, 5000 word fill for a prompt that wouldn't have happened unless I had been awake at four in the morning in an airport and looking for a silly way to keep myself awake. How it came to reach such an epic explosion, I'll never know.
This has been the first fanfiction I have ever written, and all of your support and critique has spurred me on to no end. I want to thank you all so, so much for your incredible encouragement, and I hope my pointless, overblown story brought at least a chuckle or two into your day.
If you wanted to see more from me, please, please drop me a note with your prompts! I'm working on a Sherlock story at the mo' (the first chapter is posted now, so feel free to check it out!), but I want to have a few options to work with. All I ask of you now is to please, please leave your last thoughts in the reviews before this story is lost to the archive pages forever. Also, see the AN at the end of this chapter for a special surprise as well!
So now, dear readers, enjoy the first finale of our crazy little adventure!
(Find a grip find a grip stop falling stop falling Kili help rocks deer hurts)
He was falling. That much he knew. He also knew that he voice he was hearing was Kili, calling his name desperately. Panic overrode his emotions as he fought desperately for purchase. The rock beneath him soared past, heaving up to meet him on occasion and biting into his skin ruthlessly. His thoughts scrambled as he flew down the face of the cliff, mind jarring with every hit his body took against the rock face. He tried to call out for his brother, but all that would sound was a strangled shout as he slammed into contact once more with the cliff. Were those his thoughts making all that racket in his head, or just the clattering of iron against stone?
(Aule help me stop falling find a grip Kili deer just needed room stop falling find a grip deer stew it hurts deer help Kili)
A sudden, jagged upheaval of the rock sent him soaring through the air. Relief was short lived however, for he knew that all that went up-
(stop stop stop stop it'll scare the-)-
-must also come down.
There had been voices. Sounds that didn't make any form of sense to him. Faces, on occasion, and he found himself following with herd-like mentality, the world a confusing mess of muddled thought and prime animal instinct. Entertainment at his own sake was incredibly evident, and he did what he could to remedy that odd snipe at his dignity.
Time had passed. There was danger. Cold. Dust. Mud. Pain. Amusement? A distant sense of menace that called to him, and a voice filled with vicious intent directed towards one of his herd. Herd? That was embarrassing.
And suddenly, something sharp. Sharp and incredibly annoying. Things had hazed for a moment as he had attacked the source of the malice he had been sensing, and the pain in his side hadn't even registered until he had crumpled.
Voices. More faces. Something tense in the atmosphere as a new figure appeared among the group, his tall, grey silhouette causing him to tense painfully. Concern? Worry? Or panic? Is that what that was?
They had moved him then. The only thing he had been sure of in the world was that he'd hated that. They must have had progress in the time he had struggled, for an uncomfortably loud voice and an overwhelming stench of bear had caused him to wince harshly against reality. They settled him down- and that wasn't good at all, he had to stay with his herd (no, not herd- family?) they couldn't just leave him- but the sudden rumble of deep, rich voices washed over him like a balmy wave, and the distant dulling of the pain had him sinking back into the oblivion he had unknowingly welcomed prior to their trek.
But that was the odd thing about oblivion.
It doesn't go on for quite as long as it tries to make one think.
Birdsong and the thrum of what sounded like enormous insects drifted lightly into his awareness from across the meadow. No, the sound was only coming from one direction. Concentrated. A window? Where would there be a window?
And for that matter, where was he?
As the fog of sleep began to gradually relinquish its hold over his already sluggish mind, Fili clenched his eyes lightly as he became aware of a brightness penetrating his shut lids. The pale reddish haze they created did little to soothe him. If anything, it stirred a slight feeling of unease within his ever so slowly clearing head. When had he shut his eyes?
A dull throb in his side pulled his focus back, and he cast his mind to mentally take stock of his body. Aside from the strange ache and the annoying headache, he seemed to be fine…
The next sensation he became aware of was warmth. Which, in all honesty, would have been a nice feeling had he not felt his beard might melt off from a sudden onslaught of the sweltering sensation. Shifting lightly, he felt his hand brush lightly along a thick, almost woolen object. Furrowing his brow, he searchingly ran the heavy hand along the material. It felt like a blanket of sorts, though what he had first thought to be wool felt… wrong, somehow. No matter how hard he tried to place it, he couldn't quite put his finger on it.
Fili paused in his actions to internally groan. Kili would have killed him for making such a horrible pun.
And just like that, the almost pleasant haze of sleep vanished as a sudden onslaught of panic slammed over him like icy water. Kili! Where was he? Was he alone? The sudden need to open his eyes and look had Fili forcing his resisting lids quickly open with an almost perfectly audible snap.
In retrospect, that had been a horrible idea.
A very un-princely yelp tore from his throat as his vision flooded with a very familiar, very close face.
Kili's eyes snapped open at his brother's surprised sound, and before he could begin to fully understand what was happening, Fili had disentangled himself from the thick covering of woven blankets he had been swathed in and found himself tumbling off the edge of a ridiculously large bed. He hit the floor with an oomph and a sharp wince, his hand flying to grip his side.
Kili's head popped out from over the edge of the enormous bed, concern and confusion battling in his eyes. "You alright, Fee?" The odd strain in his tone as Kili voiced the question had Fili biting back a scathing retort and instead forcing his senses to calm down and scrutinize his brother's face. Deep lines of apprehension had carved themselves into his little brother's brow, and, combined with the mottled purple bruises beneath his eyes, caused him to look years older than when they had first set out.
Now if he could only remember when or why his brother had begun to look like this, he could rid Kili of whatever it was that was causing such apprehension. A moment passed as he stared up at Kili, and a sudden, sinking feeling ran through him. There was a carefully shielded dullness to those calf brown eyes staring down at him that spoke volumes. Whenever Kili looked at him like that, Fili himself tended to be what was causing Kili trouble.
Mahal, what did I do this time?
"Fili?" Kili's tentative question pulled Fili from his musings, and he realized with a start that he had yet to answer his brother's question. Taking a shaky mental stock of his aches once again and shifting his hand away from the fading twinge in his abdomen, he sluggishly deemed a suitable response.
You could have been a poet. Idiot.
The effect of his garbled answer should have shocked him more than he registered. Seemingly unfazed by the non-response, Kili beamed down at him, relief openly washing over his features in such a rush of emotion that Fili was taken off guard. What had he done to cause such a reaction? He opened his mouth to voice the question, but suddenly found himself able to do little but gape at his brother's smiling face.
Where could he even start with the questions?
He was blessedly saved from having to begin the conversation. Shimmying closer to the edge of the oversized bed, (honestly, why was it so huge?) Kili inched his way down to the sun bleached panels that made up the wooden floor and sat next to his brother with a light thud. With his patent grin still stretched across his face, he draped an arm over his knee and gestured to the surrounding, rustic room with his free hand. Fili didn't miss the calculating eye roving over him as Kili began to ramble.
"We made it to Gandalf's friend's house. Took a while, but we made it. He fixed you up all nice and new again." He punctuated the disbelief on his face with a shake of his head. "Don't even try asking me how he managed it. You can thank the combined efforts of that… occasionally useful wizard of ours and some animal insight from our new friend here." A drawn out pause had Fili's head spinning at the sudden silence before Kili cleared his throat suspiciously and continued. "The dagger was a bit of an issue, though. Scared uncle and I within an inch of our early graves, you did. The rust was the problem, but Beorn says he should have taken care of it entirely. You'll be a bit achy, but it's nothing you can't soldier on through like the Durin you are, eh?"
He stopped short, seemingly remembering something with a quick nod. "Says you might also get a hankering for greens every now and again too, but that should really be all." The young prince laughed, and Fili did not miss the tremor in the seemingly light action. "I swear, Fili, next time I need a healer, I'm bypassing ol' Oin and going straight for the nearest animal specialist."
Fili stared dumbly into his brother's face as bits of his explanation painstakingly filtered into his brain. Between the grogginess of his disoriented awakening and the sudden, overwhelming onslaught of information, words and phrases swirled uselessly in his mind. Fixed? There was something wrong with him? And what was that about a dagger and rust? Healer? Hankering for greens? Animal specialist? After a moment of pitifully attempting to gather his thoughts, Fili flatly responded with what he figured was a most logical reaction.
Kili's grin faltered slightly, though the relief refused to fully leave his eyes. Tilting his head lightly to the side (and seriously resembling their old pup back home. And why would he remember such a thing at such a time?), Kili quirked a questioning eyebrow. "Fili," he started slowly, as if speaking to a dwarfling as opposed to the fully grown warrior before him, "what exactly do you remember?"
Fili continued gaping at his brother's slowly puckering face as the impact of his words hit.
And did they petrify him straight to the bone.
He was well and truly terrified, because really, he had absolutely no clue what his brother was talking about. He must have numbly voiced the thought aloud as hundreds of thoughts crowded and swirled through his brain, because Kili had suddenly rocked back on his heels, a thoughtful expression on his face.
"No, I suppose it makes sense you wouldn't remember much of anything." Kili's expression softened as a sympathetic grin tugged at his lips. "That was quite the wallop to the head you took. And it has been a few days." At this, Fili quirked an eyebrow of his own. Well, there was something of explanation.
"My… head?" He stated hesitantly. It certainly explained why he seemed to be unable to form sentences of more than one or two words. Kili bobbed his own head in fervent affirmation. "You took a bit of a tumble off of a… ah, remarkably well hidden cliff face. D'you remember that?" The hopeful lilt to his brother's voice had Fili straining his mind to think back as far as he could. A sudden memory surfaced with enough force to cause him to jolt. He glanced curiously at Kili, who looked more than a little unsettled by the sudden jump.
"We… hunting? Something about…stew…"
Kili positively beamed at this as he launched into a babbling monologue of their trek through the forest some several days earlier. Suddenly, the flow of words that had been passing straight over Fili's head halted, and an odd glimmer entered the young prince's eye. "Fili," he questioned in a suspiciously light tone, "do you remember what it was we ended up hunting?"
Fili didn't like the odd look that was beginning to settle over his brother's features. Ruefully, he shook his head. He regretted the action immediately afterwards as a dull throb spiked through his skull with the force of a mallet. Lifting a hand to his temple with a hiss, he waved off his brother as Kili reached out in concern. Ignoring the slowly dimming pain in his head, he turned Kili's attention back to the story by slowly piecing together his first full sentence.
"What did we hunt?"
At this, Kili instantly sat back, shutting his mouth with a click. If Fili didn't know any better, he would say that his brother was actually debating on continuing his story. The glimmer in his eye returned, and Fili realized with a start that it was amusement. If he had been confused before, then he didn't even have a word for the level of bewilderment he held now. He eyed Kili apprehensively as the look on his brother's face danced between a painful combination of concern and a serious desire to laugh. A thick moment passed in which the sounds of droning insects seemed to amplify tenfold in what Fili would assume was now the midday heat. It wasn't long before he finally untangled his tongue enough to blurt the first fully coherent thought in his head.
"Whatever it was I did, would you believe me if I said I had been pretending all along?"
Kili blinked and spluttered for a long moment, his eyes still glimmering in his relief.
"Ahhhh, ha, no. Really, no."
The silence was less intimidating this time, yet neither of the brothers quite knew what to do to break it. Fili rubbed at his throbbing temple while Kili watched the movement apprehensively, the latter opening and shutting his mouth every few seconds as if he wanted to continue with his stories but couldn't quite find the words to do so. Fili was simply wondering how to keep him from pouring any more information into his aching head. He'd already forgotten most of what had already been said.
Both of the brothers 'li were spared from their respective dilemmas as the door to the enormous bedroom swung open. The sounds of a very noisy luncheon drifted through the opening, and although the shouts and laughs were merry enough to the casual eavesdropper, the underlying thrum of worry in the distant tones was not lost on Fili's addled mind. A sudden, deep voice overtook the sounds of his companions slightly before the sound of the door closing with a gentle clunk registered.
"Ah, awake, I see-"
The voice abruptly stopped as Thorin stepped into his line of vision and scanned the room, his boot pausing an inch off the ground as he caught sight of the brothers on the floor, Kili sitting back on his heels and Fili sprawled ungainly amidst his blankets. Seemingly deciding to not ask, he tilted his head back lightly and stepped forward to crouch beside his nephews with a familiar creaking of leather and hide. After a quick, questioning glance to Kili, he turned his attention to his golden-haired heir. Years of training still could not entirely hide the concern in his eyes.
"Are you well, Fili?"
Fili glanced between his uncle and his brother, once, twice, even a third time just to be sure. There was definitely something unspoken that had passed between them all. Bypassing Thorin's question entirely, Fili plowed onto the more important matters.
"What did I do?"
The simultaneous raising of eyebrows he received from the two before him would have been hilarious had they been directed elsewhere. Fili did not miss the swift glance passed between his relatives before Thorin turned his full attention back to him, the concern in his gaze slightly dissipating into a satisfied expression. Now, it was unmistakable.
That was definitely laughter in his uncle's eyes.
"My dear lad," (and THAT had Fili's senses on full alert, because if his childhood with uncle Thorin had taught him anything, it was to never trust a sentence beginning with 'my dear lad') "what makes you think you did anything of fault?"
Fili huffed deeply, only to suck in a greedy breath of air as the action left his head spinning. He blinked away the sudden cobwebs that had cluttered his vision and was dimly surprised to find Kili's hands at his shoulders and Thorin's on his knee. He raised his head high enough to make eye contact and recognize the glint of guilt in his uncle's eyes. Waving his hand lightly in what he hoped was a pardoning gesture, he laughed breathily. "The looks… make me think. You've been… exchanging…" He stopped his waving, leaving his hand lingering in the air in a moment of uncertainty.
Thorin's eyes softened suddenly, and without warning his uncle's calloused hands had enveloped his. "Fili, you've done nothing wrong. You weren't entirely yourself is all. Many a dwarf has succumbed to worse fates than yours after such a fall." Thorin took in a deep breath of his own before exhaling slowly with a small smile. "And believe you me, it's good to have you back."
The sudden wetness in his uncle's eyes was not caused by him. Was it?
Fili darted a glance at his brother, who caught the motion and beamed back at him. The sheer giddiness in his expression was making Fili even more lightheaded than before.
This was looking to be a very confusing afternoon.
Slowly removing his hands from his brother's shoulders, Kili stood from his crouch with a luxurious stretch towards the ceiling, several small pops along his spine accompanying his groan. "Ah, that bed might have just been a little too comfortable for me. It'll take at least a week to readjust to rock and earth." He leaned to the side, distractedly muttering to himself as he attempted to release the knots that had settled into his muscles. "It'll probably take a month for heir Deerin here to be comfortable anywhere really though, so I shouldn't be complaining when… when he… what's with that look, Fee? Something on my face?"
If Thorin hadn't reached out to gently close his gaping mouth, Fili would have probably started catching more than a few flies. His eyes refused to leave Kili's as distress slowly seeped it's way across his face. His brother stopped stretching at the sight and puckered his brow. "Fili? Do you need something? I think Beorn has an outhouse if that's-"
"What did you just say?"
Kili blinked owlishly. "… an outhouse?"
"You said it would take… heir…Deerin..."
At the word, Kili straightened as if shocked by lightning, and words were suddenly spilling from his mouth faster than Fili could track as Thorin shook his head with a cough.
"Well, I'm sure the others want to see you up and about and…" he paused for a split second, seemingly searching for a word before settling on "coherent. I'll just, ah, fetch them, shall I? You two might want to move anyway, I'm not sure that floor is the most comfortable seat, really-"
With that, Kili fumbled for the door and slipped out of the room with a strained laugh. Barely a second had passed before he poked his head back through the doorway.
"Oh, and uncle?"
Thorin inclined his head slightly, something unreadable shadowing his face. "What is it?"
A sly grin offered passage to Kili's words. "He woke up in what I believe to be a remarkably similar fashion as you did some days ago. In that cave during the storm. Just figured you would like to know."
A beat passed in silence as Fili gawked at his relatives. There had been a cave and a storm involved as well?
Before he could wonder just what other sorts of things he had missed out on, a very gentle tap over the back of his head had him shutting his mouth and staring blankly at the wall. Slowly, he turned his head to face his uncle, who was looking at him with a careful degree of innocence. He heard more than saw Kili suppressing spluttering laughter as Fili stared deep into his uncle's eyes.
"Did you just… did you paw me?"
Thorin blinked, and if Fili hadn't known the man his whole life, he might have believed the apparent confusion on his uncle's face. "Paw y-? Why would I do such a thing?"
Fili turned back to face Kili, who had let loose a hearty snort despite his efforts and was now clutching the doorframe as he laughed. The scraping of chairs and sudden increase in volume of the company's antics through the open doorway gave him fair warning to their inevitable arrival as he desperately tried to piece everything together. It may have been his addled mind that had him turn his head back towards Thorin, but whatever the reason, the result would have undoubtedly been the same.
Thorin's palm was gently plastered across Fili's face with a rich smack, and the sound of Kili's resolve dissolving into roaring peals of laughter only created cause for Fili's confusion to deepen to the point of him not truly caring anymore. Taking a moment to try and fail at coming up with a valid reason as to why his uncle and king had his hand pressed over his face, Fili went with the only question in his head, his tone full of dejection.
The noise his uncle made could not have been a laugh. Could it?
"I'm sure your brother has a better answer than I, Fili."
Fili turned his head in what he assumed was Kili's general direction, as Thorin's hand was still firmly in place over his face. "Kili?" His brother's laughter died down enough for him to splutter a few words. "Well, really, I have a simple question of my own."
There was a pause as Kili took in a deep breath.
"If I were to say "Good Morning", would you believe me?"
And suddenly, the room was echoing with the raucous laughter of one young prince and his king. Fili stared at the reddish haze that was the base of Thorin's fingers where they were pressed against his face and, with a furrowed brow, reached the only substantial conclusion he could.
He may have hit his head, but by AULE, his family was madder than a hatter.
As Kili slumped to the floor in his fit of giggles just in time for the company to arrive and witness what was undoubtedly a very strange scene, Fili allowed a taught grimace to overtake his face as his uncle pulled him into a clumsy, sideways embrace.
Mad as they might be, he wouldn't have it any other way.
"Thorin, wha's the meanin' o' all this, then? There's an explanation here tha's jus' dyin' to be told."
"Gloin, is it so difficult to see? It's customary to celebrate when you regain someone so… near and dear to you."
"…how is that funny? Gloin? Kili? Uncle? Why are you all laughing? What did I do?"
One final pause in a distressed Fili's words filled with the uproarious laughter of his company before he desperately shouted over the din.
"You realize you're all being staggeringly unhelpful, I hope!"
And so it was that Beorn returned from his patrol to find a roomful of dwarves collapsed in on themselves, wheezing and hollering around a solitary, downcast blond who was seriously beginning to rethink his choice in companionship.
Annnnnnnd SCENE! That's a wrap, folks! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sticking with me through this ridiculousness. I will be marking the story as complete even though there is still the second finale option (coming soon!).
And now, I'm going to give a little surprise gift to my readers. If this story gets 100 reviews, I am offering the 100th reviewer a drabble, oneshot, ficlet, or, if you are lucky and catch me off guard with a prompt that has an effect like this one did, a full fic of your choosing! (Quick conditions: you must have a account so I can message you. Prompts can include any fandom, however I have listed the fandoms I am most acquainted with on my userpage. No slash, please- unless it has canon to back it up, I don't write romance very well!)
If you're looking for more to fill your Hobbit fix, please feel free to check out my other Hobbit short, "The Burdens of Balance and Beards."
One final, gigantic thank you to all those who have read, reviewed, favorited, and followed. All I ask of you now is that you leave your final thoughts and feedback, and I wish you all the luck in the world, my friends!