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Kili Our Kitten

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All of them chipped in with trying to take care of Kili. This was partly because he still was family and part of the Company no matter what. And due to the guilt each member felt, believing the matter to be his fault. (On that day Gandalf had forgotten about that magic wishing stream. Dwalin, Balin, and Dori had been quite short-tempered with the lad. Ori and Bofur had threatened him. Bombur, Bifur, Nori had taken offense at his antics. Gloin and Oin viewed him a as nuisance. Bilbo had refused to speak to him after his latest prank. Thorin had had harsh words with him. And Fili had yelled wishing he would go away.)

It was going on three weeks now since the morning the Company woke up to discover the young dwarf had transformed into a tiny kitten. Kili had handled his change of fortune as best he could. Some days he was just totally adorable, seemingly content with all the attention, purring and taking care of his long fluffy white fur. Other days he was obviously depressed, dark eyes filled with unshed tears, meowing sadly.

Every time someone would start to ask "When" or "How," Gandalf would lean on his staff, draw his bushy eyebrows together, hew and haw, and shrug lightly. It was difficult to tell. They could only continue to wait and see. Very unsatisfying answer – if the fierce scowls of Kili's uncle, brother, and distant kin, loud grumblings about the uselessness of wizards by the Ur dwarves, and nervous wringing of the burglar's hands were any indication.

So they did what they could in their own way.

Gandalf kept his peace when Kili used the rough fabric of his outer robes to sharpen his claws.

Ori knitted a little blue blanket to help Kili stay comfortable and warm during the cold nights.

Fili retrieved his brother when the silly, curious thing would dart off and get stuck up in a tree for his troubles at scouting before the Company could stop him.

Dwalin rescued Kili when he stumbled across his cousin facing off with a large unfriendly fox.

Bombur gave Kili a little bit of raw meat he had set aside before cooking the Company's supper.

Bifur shared the water in his canister with the young prince, nervous at the thought of the kitten being swept away by the river if he attempted to get a drink.

Nori used Ori's stolen quill as a plaything with Kili, who enjoyed chasing it and being tickled with it.

Gloin sang an old dwarven lullaby to sooth the trembling kitten frightened by the crashing thunder and bright lightening in the middle of the night.

Balin combed the burs from Kili's fur, encouraging him that he would be his old self any day now.

Bofur allowed Kili to curl up into his side under his cloak, sheltered from the heavy rain.

Oin removed the thorns from Kili's paws after he tumbled into a thorn bush.

Dori picked up Kili when the kitten rubbed against him, carrying the tired lad for the rest of the day's trek.

Thorin remained majestic, not protesting, while Kili climbed up onto his head, settling down in his hair and purring quite contentedly (and no, it was a grunt his nephew had drawn out of him, not a chuckle).

Bilbo gently nudged his nose against Kili's, a trick which he'd learned helped chase away the sadness from the kitten's dark eyes. Only today it was failing miserably. The hobbit pulled back to see Kili staring back with big wet eyes.

"Oh, no! Please don't cry, Kili! Please don't," he pleaded. "I know. I wish you were a dwarf again, too."

"Meow!"

Bilbo made a comforting noise in the back of his throat. "Kili…," he sighed, gently kissing the top of his furry head.

There was a moment where the air seemed to twist and Bilbo discovered, instead of a bundle of fur in his hands, that dark locks of hair were suddenly under his fingers. His shocked, high-pitched squeak caught everyone's attention.

Kili grinned, surprised, delighted. "I'm me again!" Laughing brightly, he leaned forward two inches to press his nose against the wide-eyed hobbit's.

His thanks were drowned out by whoops and cheers and shouts as they became engulfed in a group hug by twelve overjoyed dwarves. At the edge of group Gandalf smiled and nodded satisfactorily. Well done, Bilbo Baggins.

THE END