Author's Note:This is a one shot from the Hobbit. The nights can be cold, and life can be strange, but it's all bearable when you have the privilege of a brother.
Warning: The warning is placed here for vinsmouse, who wanted a spew warning here, claiming it might be a bad idea to drink while reading the funnier parts. So please keep in mind that drinking any kind of beverage while reading this, might be hazzard'ous to the health of your screen.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Hobbit, nor the actual dwarves. All I own is my own three inch high Fili and Kili and they shall suffer naught for my stories…
That's What Brothers Are for
Bilbo looked up as he heard the enraged shout. He was sitting by the fire, homesickness keeping him from sleeping. The others had all been asleep, but now they stirred slightly. Some looked up, some didn't really care. It was Fili who was shouting and apparently that meant they were not alarmed.
The blond dwarf looked mad enough though that Bilbo found himself worried. Fili had been on watch, and had woken Kili for his turn. It was after he had crawled into his bedroll that he shouted. He threw the blankets back, charging for his brother who danced out of the way, hiding behind the blanket wrapped form of his uncle.
Kili was laughing as he did so, but Thorin did not appear quite as amused. Especially not when Fili came leaping over him trying to reach Kili. The younger Dwarf darted around his uncle and Fili made to follow, still enraged and hollering his brother's name.
"Enough!" Thorin snapped, causing both to stop dead in their tracks. "Kili, take watch. Fili, to bed, and if you disturb everyone again I'll see to it that you regret it."
"He put ants in my bedroll," Fili objected.
"I said enough!" Thorin's voice was cold as steel. "I don't care what he did, you've disturbed everyone from rest we badly need. Now stop this foolishness and go to sleep."
"Yes uncle," Fili nodded as Kili quickly went to take position for the watch. Fili grumbled as he tried to shake the ants out of his clothes as quietly as possible so as not to disturb anyone further. When he had gotten as many as possible out he laid down, on Kili's bedroll and tried to sleep in spite of the itching ant bites.
In the morning he pointedly ignored his brother as they both took care of their usual chores. They collected wood and water, eating their breakfast apart from each others for once. Fili appeared to still be angry with his brother, and Bilbo didn't blame him. He couldn't imagine playing such a cruel joke on your brother.
It really was cruel, ant bites could be quite painful he knew. Kili however appeared to be more annoyed with Fili than contrite over the joke he had played. In fact, he appeared to be quite pleased with himself and couldn't understand why his brother was displeased with him.
The two of them snapped at one another and nearly broke out into a serious fight. Dwalin and Glóin pulled them apart just before they came to blows, throwing them down to the ground in different directions and none too gentle.
"You two, I will not warn you again," Thorin snapped. "I thought I brought grown Dwarves and not children, but I would have done better to leave you both behind."
"He started it," Kili and Fili stated simultaneously, then glared at each others across the space that separated them, keeping even farther apart afterwards.
Bilbo was starting to wonder if the two of them would ever reconcile again seeing how furious they appeared to be with each other. He had seen them argue for fun, and fight for fun, but he had never seen them keep apart. In truth they had been inseparable during the whole journey so far. Kili always slept right beside his brother, and Fili would always see to his brothers needs before his own. He'd cover Kili with his coat even when he was cold himself and he'd take the smaller portion of the food if they were short.
Kili accepted all this with the easy grace of a younger brother. His gratitude was his laugh, his jokes and the way he sought out his brother's closeness. Kili felt no shame in pillowing his head in Fili's lap when they sat around the fire before sleeping. It was the privilege of a brother as he saw it, and Fili appeared to enjoy granting it in turn.
Kili was the one who'd comb out his brother's hair and braid it. Bilbo had seen Fili do it on his own when Kili was on watch, so he knew he could easily have done it himself all the time if he chose to, yet more often than not, it was Kili who performed the task. Then again most of them helped one another with the braids. He'd even seen Fili and Kili braid their uncle's hair. Fili and Kili though were the only ones who'd break out into a wrestling game halfway through.
He'd never seen brothers like the two of them before, had never been fortunate to be included in such a thing and it seemed too cruel to have it end. Yet it appeared it had indeed ended as the two brothers would not even break word with each other.
He had come to count on their comradeship, but he never realized how much before it was gone. Kili was the one who'd invited him, allowing him the closeness the brothers shared. Something he had never known before. He had thought Fili would object then, but he had not. He'd just indulged and though Bilbo was older in a sense even if not in years he found a protective older brother in Fili.
He was a natural buffer from the harsh coldness that Thorin presented. Fili was the heir and understood the burden his uncle bore better than Kili did, but he was also a youth still and understood the need for play and fun that Thorin had been forced to dampen in himself. He could even tease it out a little at times, causing Thorin to smile.
Kili was the only other one Bilbo had seen who could make Thorin smile, but now with the brothers at odds there were no smiles.
He sighed tiredly, they all seemed to feel it for no one was joking or laughing as they set up camp.
Thorin apparently fed up with his nephews sent them to fetch wood and water together with Bilbo and Bofur. The trail they followed from the creek was narrow and slippery from the rain, and they were forced to walk one behind the other. Bofur led the way with Kili after. Bilbo walked last with Fili in front of him. So far the two of them had exchanged glares but no words.
Bilbo and Fili carried the water, having just caught up to the other two on the way back, or Bilbo was sure Fili would not have walked behind his brother. Then a large springy branch was protruding out across the trail and Bofur attempted to push it aside even while walking. Kili who had been glaring at his brother across his shoulder was not paying attention, just turning back when Bofur lost his footing in a most spectacular way. His legs flew out and his arms were thrown up, the wood he was carrying flying high into the air. The heavy branch came whipping back with a force that made Bilbo cry out when he realized it'd strike Kili in the face.
Kili froze, distracted by Bofur but Fili moved with speed far beyond what Bilbo had expected. He grabbed his brother by the shoulders, throwing him around and wrapping his arms around him. The branch struck him across the cheek and neck with an audible crack, causing them both to stumble.
Bilbo though was still holding his breath for while Kili's load of wood had dropped from his arms, Bofur's was still tumbling down over them. Fili had expected it and known it would come, his arms were pulling Kili close and down, covering him with his own body as the wood came crashing down. Bilbo saw them strike Fili on the shoulders and back, but he didn't see a single one strike Kili. He was well protected by the shield his brother presented.
Bofur climbed back to his feet, brushing mud from his clothes. "That was something, wasn't it lads?" he chuckled.
Bilbo swallowed hard as Fili and Kili straightened, he honestly didn't know what to expect at all.
Kili looked around at the wood on the ground, shaking his head in bewilderment, "wow." He breathed. "Did you see Bofur fly?"
"I saw," Fili rubbed his cheek where the mark from the branch glowed an angry red. He was smiling though to Bilbo's astonishment. Smiling before they both burst out laughing.
"You clumsy oaf," Kili reached forward to slap Bofur over the shoulder.
"Says you, you could watch where you're going," ruffling his brother's hair Fili pulled him closer playfully.
"I didn't get a branch in my face," Kili grinned as he pulled free. "Don't see how you got room to talk brother, and you've got bark and moss in your hair." He burst out giggling, unable to contain his mirth and Bilbo shook his head, his mouth hanging open as the two of them wrestled.
Kili forced his brother down by use of the extra inch he held over him, then as he straddled him Fili was able to get the upper hand. When Bofur kicked them somewhat gently to break them apart they both looked a perfect mess, and both were laughing.
"Oi, quit that mucking about. We've got work to do and the others will be wondering where the wood and water is," he chided them.
"I dropped the water, I need to fetch more," Fili leapt to his feet, grabbing the water skin that had come open during their wrestling when one or the other had rolled across it. Kili hurried to gather the wood he had dropped, something Bofur had already done, and they continued back. Fili soon catching up with them again.
When they arrived at the camp it was as if nothing had happened at all, Fili dropped down to sit beside Kili, the younger brother had lit his pipe and Fili wouldn't leave him alone to smoke it but kept pushing and poking at him. Eventually stealing the pipe from him in which turn Kili started pushing him.
Bilbo shook his head, wrestled with the problem at hand and eventually decided it was something he had no hope of understanding.
They weren't fighting though, so he decided it was safe to join them. Sitting down beside them he looked at them, and they both broke out laughing over the bewildered look on his face.
"What has you so troubled?" Kili wanted to know.
"You look quite the picture of confusion," Fili added, offering Kili's pipe to the Hobbit.
"I can't make sense of it," Bilbo shook his head. "I've tried, quite hard, but I simply can't make any sense of it at all."
"Oh, never mind our uncle," Kili waved it away. "He appears really grouchy but he's not so bad when you get to know him."
"Or is it the 'stew' that Bombur is making that concerns you?" Fili queried.
"Eh, actually it's you two," he admitted. "Before you appeared ready to kill one another, I thought you'd never speak to each other again, and now… Well, it just doesn't make sense. Kili would have gotten the branch in his face, and the wood all over him, and you saved him from it, getting hit with it all. And well, he hasn't even said thanks, and yet you're acting just like nothing happened, like you weren't mad before. You saved him."
"Of course I did," Fili grinned, grabbing his brother playfully by scruff of his neck.
"He always will," Kili supplied.
"That's what brothers are for," Fili told him with a smile.
"And you're not mad anymore?" Bilbo had to ask.
"Wasn't before either, we were just being stubborn," Fili grinned.
"You've heard Gandalf comment on that before," Kili added, snatching his pipe back from Fili. "The stubbornness of Dwarves I mean."
Fili nodded earnestly, "it's true you know."
"We really are stubborn," realizing that he did have his pipe back and no reason to fight Fili for it Kili decided he did not really need a reason to fight his brother. Coming to that conclusion he thrust the pipe to Bilbo and threw himself at Fili, tackling him to the ground.
"Enough!" Thorin's voice broke them apart though they still giggled as they straightened themselves.
Bilbo glanced over the other way where Thorin glared at them, but Kili just sent him a sunshine smile back while Fili raised his eyebrows. Neither one could be bothered by his glowering. They were too used to it Bilbo expected.
He enjoyed watching Fili and Kili as they travelled, because he enjoyed seeing the way they interacted. Dori and Nori always watched out for Ori, but still not the same way. There were just as much love between them, but it was as different as it was the same and he lacked words to explain it better.
He enjoyed watching Fili and Kili because there was something special there, something in the way an amused and indulgent smile played on Fili's lips perhaps. He was not so much older than Kili that he really had any reason to. Five years between them was not enough for one to truly be older than the other, and yet there was. Perhaps he thought it was because Fili was the heir that he took on years he did not have.
He had been sitting next to the fire, lost in thought about his own home as he watched Bombur prepare the stew for the evening. He wasn't really paying attention to him, nor to Kili who was sitting beside him. Fili stood close by, discussing something with Glóin, but it wasn't important at the moment.
He barely registered that Ori approached them, lost in thought himself he stumbled into Bifur who knocked into Bombur who dropped the pot with the hot water. Before he had time to react he saw Kili being thrown backwards out of the way. At the same split second something knocked into him, something that covered him completely and nearly smothered him. A few droplets of hot water stung his legs, but for most parts he found himself untouched. A quiet hiss came from the same mass that had barged into him and now covered his eyes, and then the same form dropped away to reveal a grinning Fili there.
The blond Dwarf quickly shrugged out of his coat, the back of it soaked through with hot water. Shedding it before it soaked through his other clothes completely.
"Well saved brother!" Kili laughed cheerfully.
"Well enough," Fili grinned as he touched a hand to the back of his tunic. He'd already shed one layer under the coat, and now the tunic was only slightly damp. The heat of it had carried through the material, but the hot water had not.
"Eh, thank you," Bilbo managed. He had not yet found his wits about him. It was all he could do to piece together what had happened.
"I had the advantage of a better view," Fili patted his shoulder. "I was able to see what was coming where you were not. You were not burned, were you?"
"No," he shook his head. "Not really, thanks to you." He could see what had happened now. Fili had indeed had a better view and would have been able to react before either he or Kili could. He had knocked Kili out of the way, and protected him by shielding him with his own body. He had used his coat to cover Bilbo, and had taken the worst of it upon himself. While he would have known that his coat offered a fair protection Bilbo was still both impressed and grateful. He wasn't surprised that he had saved Kili, he'd come to know as much. It did not matter what, Fili would always protect Kili. Yet he would not have thought himself to be as fortunate.
"Think nothing of it," Fili smiled as he shook the water from his coat, flicking moisture from his hair.
Bombur had already straightened his pot and sent Ori for more water.
"We're lucky it was just the water and not the stew, or we'd be eating off the ground," Kili laughed. Unconcerned by what could have been a quite nasty incident the way Bilbo saw it.
"I can not think nothing of it," he started. "You might have been burned just as easily as I, and now your coat is all soaked through and it will be cold tonight. I am very grateful, just, well, concerned you might have fared ill yourself on my behalf." Just as he knew Fili would later that night for he had noted that he was always the first one to feel the effect of the cold. Without both his coat and the jerkin he wore under it he would be freezing for sure.
Fili simply smiled, amused by the look on his face. "I had the advantage," he patted Bilbo's shoulder. "I could chose where to take the brunt of it, a choice you and Kili did not have. Please, think no more about it, it's of no magnitude at all, it's just what a brothers are for."
Offering a shy smile Bilbo found how the words warmed inside him. He'd come to learn about the privilege of a brother through the young Durin brothers. Yet he wouldn't have thought himself so blessed. It was what Fili had stated before concerning Kili, what brothers are for. He found the words warming his heart more than anything he had heard before.
Later that night, after the meal as they laid to sleep he found the words still warmed him, but he knew the same could not be said for Fili. He was obviously cold, his teeth had been shattering through the whole time he sat watch. Kili had noticed too, sniggering where he lay and nudging Bilbo. He had taken to sleeping beside them on cold nights, sharing warmth like they had invited him. Fili's clothes were still drying by the fire though, and it was clear that without them the chill was still plaguing him.
Kili when he rose to take his watch greeted his brother with teasing words, Fili grabbing him by the scruff of the neck. A fond gesture before he laid down beside Bilbo to get a few more hours of sleep.
Kili slipped out of his coat, glad of the longer cut as he draped it over his brother. Winking at Bilbo as he smoothed it out to cover him the better.
Fili accepted this easily, closing his eyes and able to doze as the coat was still warm from Kili. Yet he still shivered from time to time and Bilbo sat. He was not so bothered at the moment. Being closer to the fire he was warm enough for the time being. Moving quietly as not to disturb the Dwarf he slipped out of his own coat and placed it on top of Kili's. He noted how the shivering stopped, and looked towards Kili whom he found watching with a bemused smirk on his face.
"Very generous," the young Dwarf mused.
"The same generosity he showed me before," Bilbo mused. "Even if it was willingly. And well, you did the same."
"To true," Kili chuckled quietly. "It's what brothers are for."
"Yes," Bilbo laid down again. Feeling a warmth in his chest that had nothing to do with the fire. "And friends who treat you like one…"
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