Thorin and Dwalin sat in Thorin's house pouring over various documents. Balin was in another room working on drafting up more documents. Thorin gave a sigh and leaned back in his chair. He didn't think that organizing a trip like this would be so much hard work. At the most he had expected to be ready within a few days but no all the planning and recruiting had taken over a month or so to get done.

Thorin's mind went back to the day that Oin came to him.

"It's happening," Oin had said in an awed but fearful voice. Thorin had frowned at him.

"What happening?" Thorin had asked.

"Raven's have been seen heading back to the mountain," Oin all but whispered. Thorin's heart had skipped a beat, but he refused to acknowledge the flame of hope that tried to force its way into him.

"Raven's fly everywhere Oin," Thorin had said, "If they fly to a mountain, it does not mean anything much." Oin had given him a look that said 'I can't believe that you are this stupid.'

"Ravens are flying back to the Lonely Mountain. To Erebor. You know what that means right?" Oin had said. Thorin hadn't nodded his head, but he knew what it meant. Even as he had thought the words Oin recited them.

"When the birds of yore return to Erebor, the reign of the beast will end."

That had been the end of the conversation and Thorin had tried to put it out of his mind. It was madness, madness to think of going back to reclaim Erebor. Madness to think of rousing his exiled people and marching across the endless leagues to take back their home. But the thought didn't leave him. It stayed and every now then it reared up its head until at long last Thorin gave in and began to hope. And when the hope sprang up in his heart he began a long and secret planning.

Yet despite all of his planning and dreaming about Erebor reclaimed and rebuilt to surpass its former glory, nothing would have actually been done if he hadn't met that strange wandering wizard, Gandalf. It was Gandalf that came to sit beside Thorin in the tavern and had begun to talk about a whole host of nonsense that Thorin really didn't care much about. Thorin had tried to be really polite because it was not wise to disrespect a wizard, but he had tuned out the old man until he heard Gandalf say,

"So I shall help you organize this trip of yours to go back and reclaim your homeland. I've already spoken with another dwarf and he said he would be very willing to help if you agreed. But I dare say it might be hard to get the right number to along, if you catch my meaning."

"What?" Thorin had said sitting up straight.

"Dear me," Gandalf had said frowning down at him, "Were you not listening to me at all? Very rude I say. I was telling you, Thorin OakenShield, that I will help you in your little venture. I dare say I might even come along for a bit. So how about it? Are you going to ignore the portents and leave the mountain open for the taking or are you going to pay heed to them and march upon it?"

"I will march upon it of course!" Thorin had said banging his fist down on the table and glaring at Gandalf who had the audacity to think that he would let his home be laid bare for plunder by greedy hands. Gandalf had laughed and slapped him on the back. Then they had really set down to business.

That meeting had taken place over three months ago and the planning was finally coming to an end. That final list of names of those who wanted to come along for the quest was coming in today. Nori had been given the task to quietly pass out the knowledge that Thorin OakenShield, Rightful King Under the Mountain, was leading a quest to reclaim Erebor from the Dragon Smaug.

Thorin leaned back over his documents and as he began to read the lines over again a soft voice spoke out.

"I've got the list of names."

Dwalin swore and flung a knife at the voice. Nori caught the blade and laughed.

"Can't you knock?" Dwalin grumbled and got up to get his knife back from Nori. Nori kept moving his hand so that Dwalin kept missing the knife every time he tried to grab it. Dwalin sighed and grabbed Nori around the throat.

"I give! I give!" Nori said hoarsely and handed the knife back over. Then while rubbing his neck he handed the paper over to Thorin. Thorin looked at it and handed it to Dwalin.

"Eight names?" Thorin asked.

"Ori, Dori, Nori, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Oin and Gloin," Dwalin read out, "Well add, Balin and I and we'll have ten."

Thorin sighed. He didn't expect a lot of people but he certainly had not expected this little.

"No one wants to come," Nori said lounging against a shelf, "They think it is suicide to go and fight a dragon that is big enough to decimate large amounts of landscape. And then keep it so decimated that it is called the Desolation of Smaug on maps."

Thorin glared at him but then looked back to the documents.

"Well at least we won't have to look over all of these now," Thorin said smiling grimly, "Tell Balin he would just have to make eleven contracts."

"I heard already," Balin said coming into the room, "Eleven it is."

"Are you all sure you still want to go ahead with this?" Thorin asked looking around at them, "It is only eleven volunteers."

"You are our King," Dwalin said, "Where you lead us, we will follow."

"Besides, we could contact the other dwarf kingdoms and present our case. We could see if we could get some help," Blain suggested.

Thorin nodded at him, "Organize that for me will you? I will travel to meet them." Balin left to head back to the room. Thorin then turned to Nori.

"Tell the volunteers their offers of service have been accepted and that the contracts will be given to them in two days. And I would like a reply in two days time as well, since we move out by the end of the week." Nori nodded and headed out the door.

Thorin and Dwalin looked at each other from over the table. Thorin reached out and placed his palms facing up on the table. Dwalin reached over and rested his palms on top of Thorin's. They closed their hands to hold each other fingers curled into tight hold.

"This is it my brother," Thorin said softly, "We are heading back home." For the first time in years Thorin saw tears prickle Dwalin's eyes.

"Yes brother," Dwalin said just as softly, "We are heading back home." There was a pause then Dwalin asked.

"What about Fili and Kili? Are you going to ask them?" Thorin sighed and shook his head.

"I do not know. I am heading over to Fili's now and talk with them."

With that Dwalin leaned forward. Thorin matched his movement and they pressed foreheads together, drawing strength from each other the way only ShieldBrothers could.

"Thank you for always being here for me Dwalin," Thorin said.

"And I will continue to always be there for you Thorin," Dwalin said. Thorin smiled at him and headed out the house to find his nephews.

As Thorin walked the long road to Fili's house he was torn up inside. He badly wanted his nephews to come with him. He wanted to let them see Erebor for themselves and to be part of rebuilding it. He wanted to see Fili rule as King Under the Mountain after he had passed on the leadership. He wanted to see their children run in the fields before the gates and play in the streets of a re-built Dale, like he used to when he was a dwarfling. But he was also scared. So very scared of losing them. So much danger and peril was wrapped up in this journey that the hope of all of them getting to Erebor alive was very slim. He didn't want to see them die. If Kili and Fili died on this journey, Thorin had no wish to continue living. His will to live was tied to those two. They were his heart and life.

As he neared the end of his walk he saw light flickering out of the windows of Fili's house. Fili had finally gotten his dream come true and now owned his own forge. His house sat joined to the forge. Kili had moved in with him as was expected and the two had been having the time of their lives with their new found freedom. Thorin felt guilty to tear them away from their bright future with nothing but very dim promises of vast treasure and a ruined home. But h also knew that if he went on this journey without telling them, he would not only gain their eternal hatred but also they would find a way to follow him.

So he purposed to not try and make them come, no matter how much he wanted, no how much he needed them to come. He would just tell them the plain truth and let them decide between Erebor and the Blue Mountains.

He reached the door and knocked on it. For a moment there was no answer or sound inside and he thought that maybe they were not home. Then the door was flung open. Fili stood smiling in the doorway.

"Thorin," he said happily, "What brings you here? Come on in."

"Thorin!" Kili shouted from behind Fili. Thorin moved past Fili to enter the house and was hugged fiercely by Kili. Thorin hugged back his nephew then turned to see Fili closing back the door. Fili gave Thorin a soft smile. Thorin left Kili to pull Fili into a tight hug. Kili then led them into the kitchen.

Thorin sat down at the table and looked around while Fili sat down opposite him. The kitchen was remarkably clean. Kili put up the kettle to boil and began fishing out stuff for tea. Thorin waited till the tea was ready and Kili had taken his place at his brother's side before he began.

"I am going to take some dwarves and leave in a week's time to reclaim Erebor. I would like to know if you would like to come with me." Thorin said.

Fili and Kili looked at each other and then back to Thorin. Thorin looked at his Kili. His joy and light. The dwarfling with the dark silky hair that had shot love into his heart in a way that no one ever could. Then he looked Fili. His pride and guiding hand. The dwarfling with the golden mane that had brought Thorin out from the depths of a despairing existence to embrace the beauty of life. He loved them. He loved them so much.

"We will go with you," Fili said and gave Thorin one of his rare but dazzling smiles.

"Yes, we will go with you," Kili said smiling as well, his dark eyes shining with anticipation and excitement.

Thorin sighed in relief and swallowed his tears.

"I would lie if I said that I didn't want you to come. No, I do lie. I…I need you two to come with me. I feel that if I have the two of you at my side, that no matter what happens we will be victorious," Thorin said, "I thank you for choosing to come with me. I promise that I will never let anything happen to you as long as I have breath in my body."

"The same promise we make to you, Thorin," Fili said softly. The two young dwarves then gave Thorin a different kind of smile, "However, you will be the one to break the news to Mother."

Thorin fought down the shiver of fear than ran through him. He swallowed hard. "I…I will do that."

Fili and Kili gave him a impressed look and then began laughing. Thorin laughed along with them. Thorin looked around the kitchen again, unwilling to leave the warmth that only his nephews could make him feel. Fili and Kili got up, took him by the arms and led him into their small living room. Kili pulled him to sit on the floor, with the couch to their back and their faces to the fire. Fili built the fire a bit more and then came to settle on the other side of Thorin. Thorin opened his arms and let the young dwarves rest against his chest.

"How many have volunteered other than us?" Kili asked.

"Just ten more," Thorin replied.

"So all in all it will be thirteen of us," Fili mused, "That is an unlucky number you know."

"I will ask Gandalf to choose a fourteenth member," Thorin decided, "Plus Balin is going to organize a meeting with envoys from the seven Dwarf kingdoms to see if we can get some more help."

"Do you think they will come?" Kili asked.

"We can only hope that they do," Thorin said softly.

The dwarves huddled closer to him and Thorin felt the tremor of their sighs through his body.

"If they don't," Fili said at length, "Then it will only be the thirteen of us and the one that Gandalf chooses." Thorin nodded.

"And who ever crosses the path of us thirteen would wish that they didn't. Because they would have us to deal with. We would have them run in fear screaming, 'Here comes the Durin boys!'"

The sound of Fili's and Kili's laughter rang like music to his ears in the dark night.

Well this is the end of this Fanfiction. I want to say special thanks to:

- My beta reader Chris. (thank you so much for pointing out all those spelling errors and forcing me against my will to change them no matter how much i whined about being lazy.) Thank you also for listening to all my plots and rants late in the night.

-To all my reviewers: You are the ones that made writing the story even more enjoyable. Whenever i was done with a chapter i would try and predict what your responses were. Each and every complement and criticism had helped me so much.

Specially to: Ms. Britain, Horserida, Charlotte Oakenshield and Jedi Ani Unduli. ( Thanks much much.)

- To the characters of the Hobbit: without you guys, this story would not have been made possible! I am sincerely sorry that i had to hurt Fili so badly, but hey it turned out ok right?

-To J.R.R. Tolkien: thanks for making dwarves.

-To Peter Jackson: Thanks for making Tolkien's dwarves into such amazing lovable characters. Also thanks for making them look significantly better than their bookverse counterparts. phew. Dwarves never looked this good.