Disclaimer: The Hobbit, all characters, places, and related terms are the sole property of J.R.R. Tolkien's estate, and Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and WingNut Films.


We All Fall Down

One moment Fili was face-to-face with the huge spider web inches from his nose and the impressively large, hairy spider sitting in its center, drawing a low squawk-like sound from his throat. Next moment the golden-haired prince was out cold on the forest floor.

This event was so startling and so quick that the whole company stumbled back from the fallen dwarf and simply stared down at him in bewildered confusion for a minute.

"Fili!" Thorin's panicked shout broke the spell as he rushed to his nephew's side, followed nonchalantly and much more slowly by Kili. The dwarf king hovered over his heir, hands hesitantly reaching out to poke at his prone form.

Then the others exploded into chatter, voices tumbling over one another in growing volume of arguments, questions, and suggestions.

"Wh-what happened?!"

"Was fine a minute ago…"

"Possibly could be sick or hurt."

"Or poisoned?"

"…Something to fan him with."

"Was it something he ate?"

"Water from the brook a league back..!"

"Why did he give no warning?"

"Wake up, Fili!"

"Giving him a good slap or two should bring him around quick!"

"Will he be okay?"

"We could carry him—"

"It is too soon to write the death of anyone down in the journey's chronicles."

"Is he dead?!"

"Enough!" Thorin roared the group into silence. "No, he is not dead!" he practically snarled, glaring daggers at Nori who'd voiced the question. His expression softened and the panic returned to his eyes when he helplessly looked down once more at Fili.

"He should be fine."

Everyone turned to Kili who had done nothing and said nothing up until now. He shrugged, the portrait of calm. "Just fainted he did."

"Because…?" Thorin prompted.

The young dwarf sighed, hoping his brother would not kill him for spilling his secret. "He is afraid of spiders. And when he comes across one without warning or expectation, he can…," Kili trailed off, shrugging again.

Bilbo moaned and buried his face in his hands. He had been the one who wanted to show Fili his discovery of the magnificent spider web, and had dragged him over without explanation. "I am so very sorry! I did not intend any harm, truly," he apologized, wringing his hands in distress.

"You did not know," Kili assured their burglar, flashing him a quick smile. "I was the only one who knew. Even Ma never found out."

"And now," he stated, glancing briefly at his still motionless brother, "I wonder if you have any of your pipe weed about you, Master Baggins?"

"Oh, yes!"

"May I use some?"

Eyes shining with curiosity, the hobbit only said he would be just a moment before hurrying over to the ponies. Conversation resumed among the rest of the dwarves.

"Well I'll be."

"Never would have suspected the lad of being afraid of spiders."

"Does he always pass out like that?"

"No."

"Quite graceful the way he fainted actually."

"Graceful like a dwarf lass."

"Not quite as pretty a faint as our burglar's though!"

Bilbo, returning in time to hear Bofur's comment, sputtered and blushed under the dwarf's wink and hid shyly behind Gandalf after presenting Kili with the requested weed.

Wrinkling his nose, he held the weed right under his brother's nose. Seconds passed, and then Fili suddenly jerked and moaned. Blinking, he frowned at all the relieved and happy faces looking back at him.

"That smells awful!" he whined, struggling to sit up.

"Welcome back to the world of the living, brother!"

Thorin wordlessly clasped his nephew's shoulder.

"And have no fear, Master Fili," Gandalf said, "the spider is long gone."

"Kili!"

Kili's protests were drowned out by the company's roaring laughter.

THE END