Here you go, the last ever update for this story. I hope you enjoy it though I am not sure how well it turned out, and just so you know, this was part of the prompt.

Chapter 21: Epilogue

The day was a quiet one, just like every other day after they had returned home from an uneventful journey back. Fili did not mind it though; the quiet was quite peaceful. Dis, however, was worried about the state of her two sons, not at all pleased about the condition they had returned in. The dwarfish woman had not been happy to let both her sons go on the quest, and the fact that they had been harmed on a massive scale did not bode well with her. She would have loved to have known what happened, but neither of her boys would talk to her.

Fili felt some guilt at shutting his mother out, of keeping her in the dark, but it was nothing compared to the guilt he still felt, the sense of failure that followed him everywhere he went. When they had returned, the blonde had taken over his uncle's old room, but Kili had now fallen into the habit of sneaking into bed with his brother on the nights where his own mind plagued him with nightmares so terrible they could not be described with words, not that Fili complained for he understood completely. Often he woke because of a horrific vision in his dreams, just lying in bed and staring up at the ceiling as he focused on his breathing. More than a few times, either one or both of the brothers would wake the rest of the household with their screaming. Their mother tried her best to comfort them when this happened, but there was only so much she could say or do.

Bofur visited every so often, sometimes alone and sometimes with Bifur in tow, happy to chat away to both Fili and Kili for hours on end. The toymaker needed no help in amusing the pair, though he steered carefully away from any topics relating to both the journey and Erebor. He never pushed them for answers, and Fili had recognised a sort of bond had formed between the older dwarf and his brother, prompting him to wonder what the two had shared to create something so deep.

Sitting at the worn and blemished table near the place where meals were prepared, Fili sighed to himself, looking wearily into the fire. The signs of winter were now prominent, though it would still be a while before the actual season settled like a blanket over the Blue Mountains. It was cold outside, but near the fire, it was pleasantly warm, one of the reasons why Fili had chosen this spot to sit. The orange flames of the element weaved a shell of comfort around the blonde dwarf, serving to take away some of the bad memories he carried upon his shoulders so long as he remained staring at the crackling pit of movement. This illusion was, however, broken when his mother came hurrying in, a roll of parchment clasped in one hand.

"There you are," Dis breathed, her voice sounding suspiciously grief-ridden.

"What is it?" Fili asked standing, "Is it news from uncle?" He watched in disbelief as his mother shook her head.

"It is news about Thorin," she answered, her voice somewhat teary.

"What happened?" Fili demanded, concern for his uncle overwhelming him.

"There was a battle," Dis answered, closing her eyes as she fought against a wave of tears, "A great battle against a combined force of orcs and goblins who sought to take Erebor as their own. Our side won, but at a cost."

"Has he been injured?" the blonde dwarf demanded, nerves gnawing away inside of him.

"He was injured," his mother replied to shocked ears, "But his wounds were too great. Not long after the battle he…he…"

"No," Fili breathed as his mother finally gave way to her tears, "It cannot be."

"I'm afraid it is true," Dis informed him, struggling to regain a hold on herself, "Balin himself sent the letter."

"But Thorin could never be felled," Fili said, shock still clawing away at his body and mind alike, "He was invincible in a fight. Surely this cannot be true."

"He was waylaid by a spear," Dis cried, holding her hands up to her face as she sunk into a chair beside her eldest son, "There was nothing anyone could do."

Mother and son sat beside the fire, both filled with grief before the dancing flames which now seemed so cold and far away.

"There is more," Dis informed the youth beside her after a while, the note scrunched in her hand, forgotten, "Thorin's heir must begin the journey to Erebor in order to take his place."

For the second time that day, Fili was placed in a state of complete and utter shock.

"Surely you cannot mean-" he began, but his mother had already started to speak again.

"As Thorin's named heir, it now falls upon you to become king."

"No," Fili said almost at once, shaking his head as he rejected the idea, "No, you cannot do this to me."

"Fili, you are your uncle's heir," Dis said, "You are the one Balin asked to journey to Erebor."

"No," Fili said, "I will not. Balin cannot force me to go."

"Fili, you are Erebor's next king," his mother informed him, maintaining her side of the argument. It only took a moment for Fili to snap, all his anger, grief and fear melding into a single emotion.

"King?" Fili shouted, his voice containing a dangerous and ugly tone, "All I ever wanted to do was to be king, to follow in Thorin's footsteps when the time came. That's what I was trained to do from birth. That's why I went on that thrice damned quest! And for what? To be forced to torture and maim my younger brother? To fail in the oath I swore to protect him? To break him forever? And now you want me to be king? King of what, might I ask? A useless pile of rock filled with worthless scrapes of metal and equally worthless gems?"

Dis looked wide eyed at her son, shocked and deeply upset by what he had said, what he was saying, but never the less, she cut in. It fell to her to reason with the dwarf, and reason with him she would.

"Fili, my dearest," she said in desperate voice, "You are Thorin's heir, the next in line to the throne of Erebor." Fili turned on he in his rage.

"I do not want to be king!" he all but bellowed, hands waving through the air in sharp slashing motions, "May that mountain crumble and sink into the earth! May Aluë himself curse it and remove it and the sickness it spreads from this earth!"

"Fili," Dis said as sternly as she could, not familiar with facing her son when he was in such an angered mood, "It is your duty to-"


"If not you, than who else?" Dis snapped, growing angry herself, "For Kili will not take the throne, that much is for sure."

"Dain," her son snapped back, "Dain would be more than happy to take the throne."

"But Fili-"

"No mother," the blonde said, cutting her off as his voice and demeanour calmed, "I will not become king, not after what happened. There is a reason I do not tell anyone, a reason why Kili doesn't either. Things happened back there that I am not proud of when I look back, but things that could not be helped. I am broken, I know that. The way you and the others look at me; how can I become king when I cannot even control myself? When I can't even stop the horrors from them revisiting me every day I continue to live and breathe?"

"Fili-" Dis tried again, but Fili still had one thing left to say.

"I cannot."

With that, the blonde walked away, out the door of the house and towards where his brother was watching the colours of the sunset streak across the clouds.

*** End ***

So, what did you think of the story (it was never going to get a happy ending by the way)? Review please, and thanks to all who have reviewed, favourited or followed this fic. I really appreciated it.