AN: I'm so sorry! I haven't posted anything in such a long time. I have so many things I want to write and just haven't had the drive to work on anything! Also…I really need to write some of the prompts I've got sitting around. I guess that last story burnt me out a little bit. I've received some really great reviews in the past few weeks that have made me want to work on something…so here's a really short prequel for a story I'm trying to outline at the moment. We'll see where it goes I guess.

Pairings: Fili/Kili, Thorin/Bilbo, Possible Dwori


Sore Must Be the Storm

Prologue

It was for the best he stop wishing really. Hoping was useless; he should just give it up. He knew enough by now to understand he was unwanted. He'd watched with wide eyes as couples walked through the orphanage, greeting each child and getting to know those that caught their eyes. He always smiled at them and shyly introduced himself as was expected. His head would lower and he would bite his lip tentatively, hoping just for a moment, that this time, this time it would be him!

Then came the staring. Blatant, unabashed, open-eyed staring. Sometimes they would manage a quick hello, or a deceptively compassionate comment, and then they would pass by, on to the next child. They were grateful to leave him behind. There were those few quick seconds in which he knew they felt some sort of obligation towards him. And then once they moved on, he saw the relief in their forms. Their shoulders lowered, their muscles relaxed, and they heaved light sighs under their breath. After all, they were still doing something good, adopting a child. They need not feel bad for leaving one of many without a family. There were never glances back in his direction, never waves goodbye. They simply left him there, longing to be talked to, held, looked at, remembered…anything. He watched as others were picked, young and old, as he was left behind.

He was smart. Smarter than most of the other children in the orphanage, even at such a young age. He knew the expressions he saw on the faces of strangers. The way their features contorted slightly when they looked at him gave them away. The women and their scrunched up brows and feigned gasps, the men with their grimaces and stony eyes. He knew those looks.

Pity.

They pitied him, felt sorry for him, and yet would never adopt him. He would never be their perfect child. He would never learn to play sports or games like other children. He would never skip, or dance, run, or walk. They didn't want that. They didn't want more problems in their already overcomplicated lives. They wanted the ideal family. A happy family, with a mother, father, two maybe even three children. A nice home, with a white picket fence, a cobblestone path, and a tire swing out the front. A dog, and a cat, perhaps even three fish in a bowl. There would be two comfy sofas and a warm, cozy fire they sat before each night. They would laugh together, and tell stories, then the mothers would kiss their children on their brows before tucking them in to bed while the fathers turned out the lights and whispered goodnight.

They most certainly did not want him. Defective, useless him. Even his own parents had not wanted a cripple, throwing him away like garbage into the care of men and women that could not say no under a watchful god's eye.

That's what he was. A cripple.

He'd heard the word whispered behind his back nearly every day since he came to recognize words. Sometimes it wasn't even whispered. Another child would sneer it at him with distaste, the syllables sliding over their tongue in a cruel tone that was meant to hurt. Sometimes they made it a game, chanting the word over and over until he would roll his cart away into a corner of the yard and pretend not to exist in the shadows of trees. Sometimes the other children would gather around his bed in the night and sing little songs.

Kili the cripple, Kili the cripple!

He'll never walk, he'll never run,

His legs don't work, and he's loved by none!

Oh, Kili the cripple, Kili the cripple!

They circled him, over and over, wild grins on their faces as they laughed and spat the words at him. And he would lie there, fearfully watching, unable to move away, unable to do anything other than hold his hands to his ears and squeeze his eyes shut tight as tears ran down his cheeks. Sometimes Father Maynor would catch the other children, and shoo them away, scolding them for using such a word. Then he would look at Kili with false kindness in his eyes and pretend it wasn't true.

But it was true. He was a cripple. Someone that couldn't walk, whose legs didn't work right. That's what a cripple was, right? And even the Father and Sisters of the orphanage had spoken the word, when they thought he wasn't near enough to hear. That's what they called him, the cripple. The poor little cripple. And whenever a couple would show even an ounce of interest in adopting him, rare as that may have been, one of the Sisters would whisper it into their ears as a warning, as though he might bring a plague along as well.

Kili's fingers dug into the dirt beside his cart and he pushed it a couple feet on the ground before giving up. It was tiring, and a sharp pain shot up his spine with the effort. He clenched his fingers tightly around the straps holding his legs down and gazed emotionlessly at the grounds. It wasn't fair. Why was he born like this when everyone else could run and play? He wished not for the first time that he'd never been born at all. What use was there in the world for someone like him? He couldn't do anything on his own. He couldn't get inside and out without help. He could barely move his cart a few feet at a time before the pain got to him. Even going to the bathroom was embarrassing. He was a waste of space.

He was tired of hoping. Tired of wishing. So he really should just stop. Give up and accept that he was unwanted. And yet…as his eyes locked onto the honey brown ones of a young man, a man with the kindest smile he'd ever seen. A man that seemed to look right past his disability, and into his very soul, he couldn't help but hope, just a little bit more.


AN: "Sore must be the storm" is a line from a poem by Emily Dickinson.