Author's Note:This is a story from the Hobbit. Movie inspired. It is about those who help us grow and shape us as they prepare us for life. A father is not always the one responsible for your birth, a father is someone you can look up to, no matter how tall you get. Fili and Kili never lacked for a father.
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…
No Matter How Tall You Get
Bilbo found that once he was used to the Dwarves and their ways it was easier to fall into their routine. He did not need for Thorin to give him an annoyed look and someone to tell him what needed doing. He also found out that Thorin gave everyone sour and annoyed looks. Ori always looked as chastised as he himself felt after them and Dori would put a hand on his brother's shoulder.
Balin and Dwalin only nodded in agreement and most of them took it in stride. Kili sometimes looked hurt and then his brother would be there with him, or sometimes Kili just laughed it off and then his brother would be there to tease him. Fili never seemed to be affected by them at all. He simply smiled knowingly, a slight quirk at the corner of his mouth was all.
Kili and Fili was also the first ones to seek out the company of the Hobbit if they thought Thorin had been harsh. Kili more than Fili as he was the younger one, but then Fili always would follow where Kili went.
Ori was often content to sit with a book or only his own thoughts, speaking to his brother or to Óin. Kili and Fili were not so content to be still. They might settle down with their pipes and Fili would sharpen his swords, knives and various weapons. There were times Bilbo thought that if you removed them all Fili would simply disappear and blow away in the wind. He'd voiced a similar opinion once when Fili had removed most of them by the fire. The golden haired Dwarf simply gave him that half quirk of a smile while Kili fell over and roared with laughter.
"Aye, he's such a scrawny one though he tries to hide it," he hollered, drawing a gulp of air through his laughter. "He's using furs and steels to add the weight a proper Dwarf should have by himself."
Bilbo would have thought that the older brother would be angered but he was not. All he did was pick a handful of ash from the fire pit and sift it into his brother's mouth, still with that teasing smile.
Kili though was making odd noises and spitting for most the evening to the amusement of the others. He had even found himself laughing over the picture he made, no longer worried Kili would be offended for it.
Now as they were making camp he simply picked up the pot to find water while Kili and Fili followed to collect wood.
Bombur would do the cooking, and Kili's arrows had ensured they would have a healthy stew that night. They came back with the wood and water, the brothers in high spirit as they pushed, shoved and teased. They were wrestling to test their strength against one another and Nori shook his head. "Perhaps they'll wear themselves out and we'll have a quiet evening," he mused hopefully.
Bifur snorted and grunted something that Bilbo couldn't understand, but it didn't sound as if he thought it was likely. He rather doubted it himself, he'd come to understand that Fili and Kili for all their weapons and skills were little more than children and children never wore out.
They quieted down only when they went to see to the ponies. It was a responsibility that Bilbo knew they took seriously.
No one needed to tell him to take them their share of the food either. Bofur filled the bowls, urging Bombur that he had had quite enough by then. Bilbo when he saw the familiar routine simply stepped over and took the bowls, balancing a slab of roasted meat as well.
The two of them were sitting side by side on a log as he approached, and both looked up.
"A welcome sight," Fili reached eagerly for the bowl Bilbo held out to him. "Very kind of you master Hobbit."
"No trouble, only trying to do my share," he shrugged as he sat beside them. They usually did not mind the company he knew. Out of the Dwarves Thorin was the only one who would appear outright hostile at times.
"This is good," Kili grinned as he roughly tore the meat in half before tossing the smaller share at his brother. It struck him in the chest, narrowly missing his bowl of stew. Fili was quick enough to catch it with his boot, kicking it up where he could snatch it from the air. He was completely unconcerned by the way it had been manhandled as he tore into it with his teeth.
"Have you had your share yet?" Kili asked, looking longingly at the share he still held as if he was worried about giving any of it up.
"Yes, quite enough," he assured them. "I had mine before I came here with yours. This is what was left when Bombur was cleaning the pot."
Both lads laughed at this, knowing just what manner he used to clean the pot. Bombur would not leave any food behind. The two made short work of their food, never worrying if any of it spilled on their coats, using fingers to clean out the bowls when they were done, stacking them on the log. The food on their coats did not bother them but Fili took care to remove any traces from his braided moustache and short beard. Kili only needed to wipe the back of his hand over his short stubble, then the two settled to watch the ponies once more.
Fili pulled a whetstone from his pocket and a knife from his boot, idly sharpening the blade while his attention was on the ponies in front of him. Bilbo marveled how he could do so without cutting his fingers.
Kili was similarly occupied, that was to say his mind was on one task and his hands performed another. He'd combed out one of Fili's braids with his fingers and was now deftly re-braiding it with the clasp in his mouth as he worked. Bilbo remained in their company for some time before he returned to the others to set up his bedroll. This time he laid it out beside Kili and Fili's packs right away since he tended to wind up there.
The following day brought more hardship for the Dwarves. The spare pack pony bolted of fright though no one else could see any danger. Kili who was holding the rein did not let go, and as he was dragged after the creature Fili leapt from his own pony. Catching the rein just above his brother's hands they were both dragged along the ground.
"You'd think one of them had the sense to let go," Bofur muttered.
"They'd better have the sense to hold on," Thorin muttered. "We need the pony and can't spend the day chasing it. Kicking his pony forward he caught up with them, grabbing the pony's bridle and pulling it to halt. Kili and Fili looked up, almost surprised as they stopped.
Realizing that the pony stood still they climbed to their feet with sheepish smiles, brushing off and wincing as they rubbed at various cuts and bruises. Looking at them they certainly looked as if they had been dragged over the forest floor, leaves and moss thick in their hair, mud smeared on their coats. Still they were laughing as they helped one another to pick the twigs from their hair. Kili though cursed and winced as he rotated his shoulder. The joint having suffered when he was pulled from his own pony. Fili favored his left ankle with a wince as he walked but otherwise the two young Dwarves were unhurt.
They were greeted with hoots of laughter and loud cheers. Much like Bilbo had come to expect from the Dwarves. They were rough and he frowned, had Kili and Fili been Hobbits they would have been fussed over by anxious parents who sought to console and comfort. In years they might be older than he was, but then Dwarves lived a longer span. Fili and Kili were not much more than children and he found it disconcerting the way Bofur slapped Kili on the shoulder that obviously pained him. Fili fared no better he noted, his somewhat clumsy attempt to mount his own pony again was met with much laughter.
It didn't seem right to Bilbo, and he wondered if he should speak to them about it. He felt a need to know if all Dwarves were so harsh with their young. Dori certainly looked out for Ori, but perhaps they were the exception for Thorin had not said anything to his nephews about it.
When they struck camp he frowned while he helped to gather wood and water, Kili and Fili had taken seats on a log, smiling and laughing still though they winced at times when a bruise made itself known. He thought no one was showing them any sympathy, but then when he returned with an armful of wood he saw that both boys had shed most of their clothing. Without the layers they wore they both looked horribly thin to Bilbo. Not like the gentle and comfortable plumpness of a Hobbit. Instead he saw flat stomachs with ribs easily visible.
He could also see the numerous bruises from rocks and roots on the ground. Kili was grinning where he sat beside his brother, attempting to prod every bruise Fili had with a none too gentle finger. Fili bore this with the long suffering patience of an older brother who knew it was no use trying to stop him. What couldn't be changed had to be born, and Kili would never change. His only weapon was a look of disinterest as if he was not even aware of what the younger of the two was doing. This was not entirely successful as Kili simply poked a little harder until he drew a hiss from his brother. Then he would giggle until Fili tired and slapped his shoulder to make him wince in turn.
This Bilbo had pretty much come to expect, Kili and Fili could be quite rough with each other.
What surprised him was the gentle way Óin was seeing to them. He had his herbs out and was mixing some with water to make a thick paste. Once done he put it aside close to the fire to warm slowly while he ground fresh herbs he had gathered close to their camp into a thinner paste. Bilbo thought it looked somewhat slimy but it had a pleasant fragrance to it.
He started with Kili, knowing that Fili would not have it otherwise and Kili took it all in stride. To him it was obvious that he would be first. They had attempted to explain it to Bilbo who still wasn't quite sure how it worked. Kili would always receive care first, because he was the younger. It did not really matter who needed it more, Kili was first and Bilbo pitied the poor fellow who tried to convince Fili otherwise. He had made a small attempt, but Fili only looked at him in confused silence as the concept was too alien to him for consideration.
Óin was in his eyes surprisingly gentle as he applied his paste to the bruises. Kili would wince and fidget and yet Óin only smiled softly. This reminded him of how a Hobbit would care for her charge. Mothers were supposed to be as gentle as Óin was. Making sure the bruises were only bruises with no more serious injury hidden under the skin. He took the other salve he had prepared from where it sat beside the fire and applied it to his shoulder. At first Kili hissed as it stung, but then he gave a content sigh and leaned against Fili. Óin massaged the shoulder gently as the salve worked, assuring that it would not be too stiff or painful the next day.
Óin when he was finished with Kili moved to Fili, giving the bruises the same treatment. Though Fili gave him a cocky grin as he worked where Kili had winced. Five years older apparently meant he had to bear it stoically and Bilbo mused how young he still was.
Óin used the same paste he had on Kili's shoulder on his ankle, and then Fili winced. He shifted and Óin put a hand on his shoulder, speaking softly to him. Bilbo was too far away to hear, but he could still hear the gentle tone. He was surprised both by it and by how Fili reacted. The young Dwarf had the bearing of Thorin, and was not one to show weakness willingly. Yet he responded quite eagerly to Óin, basking in the comfort offered.
"They are still very young," Balin spoke beside him and Bilbo gave a start.
"I beg your pardon," he started. He wasn't quite sure he understood what Balin meant, and he feared he had intruded.
"Those two lads, they are still so very young," Balin mused. "Óin has known them since they were born, and before then too if you will."
"He tends to them like a father would his children," Bilbo mused thoughtfully. "At least the way I know it from back home. I, I did not think Dwarves to always be so gentle," he admitted.
"A father will be," Balin shrugged. "No matter how old his sons grows, and even if the child is a son more of his heart than his blood. Óin washed their first cut knees and bloody noses. He's cared for nicks and cuts since before they were walking. He could likely as not name you every scar they carry, and tell you the story behind it."
"I had not expected that," Bilbo admitted. "I mean, I didn't think," he broke off, embarrassed by how it must sound but Balin only laughed.
"We are Dwarves, not monsters," Balin smiled easily. "We care for our young ones. And they are very young still. I could swear it was only weeks ago that Kili was still pulling flowerpots down on his head, and Fili tripped over his wooden sword as he could not lift it."
Try as he might, Bilbo couldn't help but smile at the images it brought to mind.
"There, now you see it," Balin smiled. "They could never grow so big they will not be little ones to Óin, no matter how many years they live. That is just the way it is."
Bilbo nodded, someone who had known them since they were babies would always see them as such in his heart.
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