The first thing he remembered feeling was a deathly pain that grew over all his upper body, numbing his senses to the point where his brain was unable to concentrate on anything else but the pure, aching sense of bleeding and dying. Where was he? What was happening? Nothing made much sense. His eyes could not see anything at all and the sounds that reached his ears were nothing but a cacophony of shouts, cries and the sound of metal colliding with metal.
Then it clicked.
The battle. He was a midst of the fighting, probably seriously wounded and doing far too little to be of any use to the rest of his fellow dwarves, which was a shame for someone like him, one of Durin's direct descendants, nephew of the King under the Mountain and the following heir to the throne’s brother. Fili used to call him “idiot” and “airhead” quite frequently, all in a big-brother-mockery kind of voice intending no real offence, but even if those adjectives were always meant as a joke, there was nothing Kili hated more than feeling just that; an idiot. And what other adjective could be used on him if he couldn't muster enough concentration to even understand in which position was he remaining? What else was he if not an airhead if he couldn't find where the fucking ground was laying?
The brunette tried opening his eyes then, only to notice that they were already open and that he was staring at something blurry and undefined. Was he lying face down on the ground? Strange, had it been that the case, his face should be freezing cold, what with it being buried in the white snow. That is, if his wounds had not stolen all his feeling ability yet. Though, as he could feel his backside wet and quite cold, his guess was that the ground lied behind him, and the blurry grayish-white thing his eyes were trying to focus on was the morning’s sky. Such disposition meant he was laid down, sprawled on the snow covered battlefield, and his brother and uncle, and pretty much the whole company would be proud of his deductive skills.
It was the thought of Thorin’s scowl what brought the memory of why he was lying on the cold ground, badly wounded to top it all, instead of battling with the rest of the company and besides Fili. Were he 30 or 40 years younger, he’d probably be childish enough to blame his current situation on his uncle. And in a way, facing Azog the Defiler on his own after hours of fighting, several serious wounds and not maintaining a safe battling stance was reason enough to blame the older dwarf for the wounds Kili had received, because what else was Kili supposed to do when the Pale Orc was about to finish his dear uncle if not jumping between the mace and Thorin and take the blow?
He was impulsive, he knew, he was told so many times by the fellow members of Thorin’s company, and so many more by his own brother and uncle. However, Dis deserved a mention of honor, of course. She was the one to scold him time and time again whenever he wandered too far from Ered Luin, in search of his own adventures full of glorious mountain halls and terrible foes to fight against, being them frequently those traitorous elves his uncle used to describe with not a few foul words. Though if he sometimes dreamed about rescuing a fair looking she elf from the hands of orcs, no one had to know about it (except for Fili, of course, there wasn’t a real reason why he should hide anything from him). After all, if there were so many rumors about the beauty of elves and how it was the greatest glory of Middle Earth, some of it must have been true.
It was usually his adventurous and wanderer spirit what got him carried away too long and too far for his mother’s liking, and whenever he returned late in the night, with his clothes slightly raged after running through the forest and practicing his aim with the bow, Dis would have him hear an hour long rant about how irresponsible he was, to get grounded for at least a month after that. The brunette never resented her though. He knew she worried about him, and that she had already lost too many dear kin to withstand more loss. The boy had not had the privilege of coming to know his uncle Frerin, or his father, or his grandfather, or even the great Thror, last King under the Mountain. He grew up to the tales of their greatness, but he never had to suffer through the years of sorrow and mourning that both his mother and uncle had to, so an age came in which his adventurous escapades ceased and he settled down to listen to Dis’ advice and work besides his brother and uncle to maintain their humble household.
However, his easy going life lasted for as long as Thorin’s impetuous and royal spirit was maintained silenced and restricted, which was not much after his coming of age. After coming to know his uncle’s intentions on retaking Erebor, there was little that could stop him from forgetting about his promise to let go from his fantasies and desire for adventure, and not Thorin, not Fili or even Dis, were able to make him stay. His mother’s teary pleas almost did the trick, but as heart-broken as he was left after an hours long melodramatic argument, he left the dwarowdam’s side with the sole promise of his soon return, engraved with ancient runes on a stone from the remnants of old Erebor that he took with him.
And would he break that promise too? He surely could feel his own blood run down his sides and color the ground below him. Were his guts sprawled on the ground too, exposed for wargs to come and have them for their afternoon meal? Azog’s blow had been strong enough to send him flying a few meters away from where Thorin had been kneeling in an almost defeat-like posture, so a broken promise was most certainly a possibility. At least, in the bleak of his death, he could brag about his deductive skills being improved. Yay for that.
The thought of dying young had never really bothered him before, especially during the beginning of their travel to Erebor, when his mind was completely fogged with the thought of showing the rest that having nothing but stubble as a beard did not make him a kid. Dying in the battlefield was actually one of the honors he thought would be worth achieving, and if it was in order to retake their long lost homeland, no one should really reproach him about it. But then Bilbo Baggins and his “home and family is important” speech appeared in the picture to make him question everything again as if turning back to those days in which he was a young teenager worried about his mother, and Tauriel with her “we aren’t all that different” charming flirting that confirmed him that his uncle’s elf-hate was not passed down on him, and the company’s family-like warmth, and Fili bonding even more with him if possible, and… he just didn’t know anymore. Didn’t know who he was supposed to be, or what was he supposed to do, what were his real aims as a royal of Erebor, as one of Thorin’s heirs, as one of the company, as Dis’ son. The only thing he knew for certain was that he did not want to die there, cold in a dirty ground with his insides exposed for predators to come down on him when his last breath had already been taken, or maybe sooner than that (what kind of fight would he be able to put up with, anyways?).
He hadn’t even bid farewell to his friends, hadn’t had the opportunity to ask for his uncle’s forgiveness for throwing his life away in order to carelessly save his (everyone knew that such an act, although honorable in close relationships, was a dishonor for the saved warrior on the battlefield, and a tragedy for the one who will have to live afterwards), or even try to sort things out with their dear burglar, who he had ended up considering as close family and betrayed in the end by casting him away for trying to sort things out when Thorin was unable to do so by his own. Bilbo would have certainly done a great job as a consort to their warrior King Thorin in the years of peace. If only they both could have gotten over their bickering and notice what the rest of the company had figured out way before them. A shame it is, really, when a dwarf meets their One and does not recognize them immediately.
But all that was meaningless now, when Kili could only lie on the cold ground, lamenting all that was left undone, unsaid, while waiting for the Great Halls to claim his soul. Maybe it was meant as mockery, or maybe it was Mahal’s last gift before biding his last goodbye to his life on Middle Earth, but the young dwarf started gaining back his sensibility and focus, being able then to see close to clearly with his eyes and move slightly his arms. He extended his left one only to notice that he had been grasping something in his hand with all the strength he had left, probably for quite a long time seeing as his knuckles had turned quite white. Opening slowly his palm, he was able to see his blood stained rune-marked promise stone, and it was then that everything turned to be too damn much. One after another, tears started to roll down his face aplenty, blurring once again his sight. A sob escaped his mouth, and he almost could not recognize the ragged voice that was his own while he closed his palm once again, much harder this time.
“Mom-,” Kili whispered, voice tear-stained, “I’m sorry, couldn’t keep it–”
His laments were interrupted by a hand wrapping around his white-knuckled one, and his sight was turned to look a bit higher over his shoulder in his lying position. The sight that was granted to him was enough to break completely his heart, and when Fili smiled back at him while failing miserably at holding down his own stream of tears, his own knuckles turning white from holding Kili’s hand in his own, Kili felt that a chunk of his dwarfish stone-sculpted soul broke apart in thousand pieces and his sobbing became unstoppable.
“It’s okay, Kee, I’m here-, right here.” Fili said while trying to crept his way towards his brother using only one arm as his other one seemed broken and bleeding as much as his half-missing left leg was. “Easy, Kee, don’t be-,” the blond dwarf stopped briefly in his slithering towards his brother, hissing loudly in pain while trying not to cry too hard, “such a crybaby-, what would uncle say-, if he saw you-, eh, Kee?”
The younger dwarf would have liked to answer to his big brother’s constant teasing, as he always did, but at the moment he could not find the will to do so, and his sobbing only allowed him to breathe when it was of utmost importance, which rendered him unresponsive to social interactions.
Oh, how good had been life by his brother’s side. They sure had their own hard times, their fights and quarrels, and Fili sure as hell did the best he could to accomplish his task as the older brother; to mock and ridicule his younger one as much as he could. But they were each other’s partner in mischief, each other’s best friend and company for secrets. They knew everything about the other, shared their deeds and miseries and were always more than happy and willing to protect one another even if it meant suffering of any sort for themselves. Fili had been the older brother, the caring and the protector. Heck, he had renounced to get to the Lonely Mountain with the rest of the company if that meant leaving his brother behind. Had he been enough to repay such loyalty? Had his humor, support and spirit been enough to thank Fili for all that he had given him in life? How many times had he thanked him, made him know how much he valued his help, support and sole presence by his side? Not enough. Never enough.
“Fee-,” Kili tried to say, his voice but a whisper almost audible to the blond dwarf’s ears.
“Hush, Kee-,” Fili’s face, full of blood strains, contorned into a painful grimace while he finished his journey towards his brothers side, and wrapped his good arm around Kili’s middle in a last attempt at a big spoon, but even that failed. The younger one couldn’t move at all, and the older one’s force was already failing him in order to maintain himself spread on his side in order to embrace his brother. “Don’t waste your breath-, you’re not in good shape.”
Caring until the last moment, until the last breath would have left him. How much did he have to pay Mahal for granting him such an incredibly big brother?
“Fee-, thank you.” Kili tried to say before his eyelids became too heavy to keep them from closing. “I’m grateful-, that you were-, are, my big brother. I hope to see you-, again, in the Great Halls.”
The last thing he was able to see before his eyelids gave up was Fili starting to sob just as much as he had before it became too painful to maintain. And before finally passing out, the brunette was granted with a curt, sorrowful answer from his brother.
“Soon, Kee. Won’t keep you waiting.”