“I didn’t know it was going to happen!” Kili protested as Balin nudged him toward the door of the library, the scent of burnt parchment still heavy in the air. “It’s not supposed to be that easy!”
Balin shook his head and sighed softly before he took Kili’s elbow in his hand. “It isn’t supposed to be, lad, you’re right on that. But you're a Durin and shall we say our line has never been normal." He paused for a moment and resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "Ever. In the slightest.”
“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean.”
“It means that you shouldn’t actually say the words that you’re reading in your head out loud in front of something that can catch on fire when it comes to that section.” Ori piped up from where he knelt beneath the table, his hands stained with ink as he scrambled to clean up the mess that had occurred as Balin had worked to put the fire out.
“Yes, Ori, thank you for that.” As they reached the door, Balin released Kili’s elbow and offered him a kind smile. “Don’t take this the wrong way, Kili, but the next time you come to retrieve your brother from his lessons, I’d prefer it if you stayed away from the arcane section of my collection. Our line has a certain skill set when it comes to such things and until you’re of the proper age I’d prefer that we be safe rather than risk another such occurrence.”
“But Mister Balin,” he whined childishly. “It's the only interesting thing you have to look at while I’m waiting for Fee to finish up.”
“No buts, laddie. Until you learn to read quietly you will not be allowed near those scrolls.” Balin pointedly ignored the second part of his statement. “Now go home before your mother comes looking for you. As much as I love her I think I need a bit of peace right now.”
With a sigh, Kili scuffed his shoe against the cobblestone outside of the library and nodded. “Yes, Mister Balin.”
“Good lad.” Balin spared his cousin a look of fond exasperation before he reached out and ruffled his hair lightly. “Now get going. I’ll send Fili out as soon as he’s done.”
“Thank you!” As he perked up visibly at the sound of his brother’s name, Kili’s frown turned into a bright grin and he offered Balin a sheepish wave before he turned on his heel and fled.
Balin pinched the bridge of his nose as he watched Kili tear down the street, narrowly avoiding a passing cart after no more than ten seconds had passed and he shook his head. There was no doubt in his mind that Kili would not remember what he had said when he eventually returned. As much as Thorin would care to deny it, Kili was Frerin all over again and it was for that reason alone that he knew that his own hair would soon lose what little colour it had left. Their family was filled with hard headed, stubborn Dwarrows and that was something that he knew would never change. He shook his head once more and laughed softly, he could only imagine what the next generation would be like and hope that he wouldn't end up as bald as his brother.