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Into The Fire

Chapter Text

Thorin was simply moving through instinct. Years of doing the same things day in and day out ingrained certain tasks into his brain that he no longer even had to think before performing them. Thank Mahal because he couldn't even begin to think straight at the moment, everything whirling in his mind like a winter storm.

He had been mortally wounded during an epic battle against orcs and wargs, surrounded by man, elves, eagles, dwarrows from the Iron Hills and one lone hobbit pulled so far away from home. Dying was strangely a simple affair. He was there and then… then he was somewhere else.

Then came the voice, a whisper really. That begged him to save them, to help them and that he only had this one year to try again. There would be no other chances. For better or worse, he had this one shot to make things right. Thorin had been so surprised at the pleading voice that he had opened his eyes to see who it was that was speaking.

The last thing he had seen before he closed his eyes was the vaulted ceiling of Erebor's great hall. Yet when he opened them to see the whisperer, it was to that ratty chandelier from his tiny room in the little house that he shared with the only close family he had. And once more, he found it was the day he was to leave for a journey he had already traveled once.

It could not be a dream. Nor could it be the afterlife for if Dís was in the afterlife waiting for him then he really fucked up somewhere along the line. Dís had been nowhere near battle, instead ensuring that the refugees of Erebor got along with their neighbors in Ered Luin. She had always been better at the political aspect of ruling than either he or their brother. Something Fíli had inherited but barely used. Thank Mahal she had accompanied him to meet with the branch families. Was going to accompany him… 'Mahal's beard, this is confusing.' Thorin resisted the urge to return to bed and pretend it was nought but a strange dream.

Dís was currently frowning at him as he shoveled his breakfast of porridge into his mouth and swallowed automatically, her sharp mind more than likely cataloguing every little twitch he made. He tried his best to ignore her and concentrate on one of the last warm meals he would have in a while. She had apparently decided to splurge for the occasion and had added honey to the pot to sweeten the bland taste. His first thought was it was a wasted expense, but then the image of the main vault of Erebor filled with gold to the rafters entered his mind.

The spoon paused halfway to his mouth as he froze, focusing on that picture and just waiting for the sudden burst of possessiveness to fill him. Of that great need to covet all that gold.

It didn't come.

Frowning he shook his head as if to push away the image and went back to his breakfast of sweet porridge and bread. There was no time to ponder the strange lack of reaction to the image. He'd have time on the road to work things out. For now, there was breakfast… and his sister.

'Had she done that the first time?' Thorin frowned at another mouthful of honey exploded on his taste buds. He couldn't remember. Did it really matter? If he spent all his time dwelling on the small matters he wouldn't have time to work out his plan of action for the upcoming journey.

Certainly not with Dís staring at him so intently. 'Aw hell.' He swallowed and looked down at his bowl and away from the piercing stare. "Yes?"

He could see from under his lashes as her frown deepened. "Are you all right?" she finally asked.

Thorin actually blinked in surprise and looked back up. Was he? He had died. He was back. His nephews were alive again and… not at breakfast. He glanced around as if his two nephews would suddenly appear from thin air. "Where are the boys?"

Dís did not look pleased at the dodge, but sat back in her chair nonetheless. "They were tired of waiting for you to grace us with your jovial presence this morning," she drawled. "They're already off to meet with Dwalin and Balin."

Thorin's gaze snapped to her. "They took their packs?"

Dís snorted. "Of course they did. You practically had them all but strapped to the ponies last night."

Thorin could feel a headache coming on. They had left together the first time, but again, small details were not the main worry at the moment. Wargs, orcs, goblins, trolls, spiders, elves and men were. 'And the thrice damned dragon,' he thought with an almost hysterical laugh. 'Let's not forget the dragon.'

Dís was frowning at him again. "Thorin?"

He stood up, taking his bowl to the small barrel of cleaning water. "No… it's nothing. I just have a lot on my mind."

"I'd be worried if you didn't."

Thorin shrugged as he dropped his dishes in the barrel and moved over to where his bags sat next to the door with his weapons. It wasn't a large pack as most of his items were already in the saddlebag. A saddlebag he knew would be lost when ponies bolted frightened off by wargs.

He groaned again and rubbed his thumb and first finger against his tired eyes. Without saying a word and with Dís watching intently, he grabbed both saddlebag and pack and made his way towards the far end of the table that Fíli and Kíli claimed as their own – where he upended the entire thing. 'Less luxuries,' he thought, pulling out some of the extra tunics and such that he wore under his leathers. He could survive with two pairs, one that he would wear, and one for emergencies until they reached the elves. If anything was torn Ori, or even the Hobbit himself could always mend those on the way if it came to it.

'Worse comes to worse, I'll do without. More room for medical supplies, more weapons,' he listed to himself. 'We can get those between Bree and Rivendell for the mountains.' Hunting knives and medical supplies were moved from the saddlebag to his pack along with his few maps while things like his wooden traveling bowl and comb moved to saddlebag. Items such as his water canteen along with some flint would remain on his person at all times.

Money was also removed from the pack and he started separating some into smaller piles before storing them in various pouches. He tied one of the lighter pouches onto his belt for easier access for when they did arrive in the human towns. Nori had once told the company, after they had become more acquaintances rather than practical strangers, exactly how easy it was to snatch moneybags from oblivious dwarrows and Thorin took the warning to heart as he hid the other bags in his tunic and even one in his boot.

He wondered absently if he could hide some in the lining of his coat. It was certainly large enough. Perhaps he could add some inner pockets? 'I'll have to ask Ori about that,' he thought absently, 'or even Óin. He knows how to stitch out of necessity.'

His pipe was more of a luxury, but he'd be damned if it didn't help him think. So, his tobacco went into another small pouch and into his coat. He did pause at his oilskin for the rain, wondering if it was even worth lugging it about. Rain didn't hurt anyone, just made them cranky. 'Such as Dori during the downpour that had lasted days.' Thorin paused at that before he groaned. 'Oh right, the week of wetness.'

Bofur had called it that and it had quickly caught on. Once the rain had finally ended and everyone had regained some of their prior cheerfulness that was. Fíli had not been as amused as Kíli had by Bofur's attempt at making light of the horrible weather they had gone through. Both of Thorin's nephews had forgotten their own oilskin at home and had been forced to purchase newer, cheaper ones in Bree that had barely done anything to keep out the damp.

Fíli had been miserable with a cough that just would not go away for days. Kíli was always the more resilient of the two, yet the sniffle he had acquired had proven his own suffering during that downpour despite his cheerful outlook. 'Oilskin. Definitely bringing oilskin.'

He wasn't surprised to see Dís watching him intently as he emptied and re-packed his supplies when he looked up at her. She tilted her head and arched an eyebrow quizzically as he held his own oilskin up for her to study. "Fíli and Kíli's?"

Dís let out a snort as she headed off for the boys room before quickly returning, two pieces of treated fabric in her hands. "How'd you know?"

Thorin shrugged as he took the two and shoved them in the left emptied saddlebag to balance the weight. "It's been sunshine all week. Why would they remember these unless the rain is practically drenching their heads?"

Dís just clucked her tongue before returning to her seat to continue watching. There really was not much more to pack. With the extra clothes, drying cloth, candle, parchment, quills with small bottles of ink and his own personal writing journal completely removed from his pack and set aside it left more room for bandage wraps, fishing hooks, rope along with a small spool of twine, small hammer and shovel. Items that made traveling a bit easier, but would not leave him devastate if lost. While the saddlebag contained his spare tunic, leggings, his bowl and cooking pan, comb, and his oilskin along with his nephews.

Thorin gave a satisfied nod before he moved over to throw on his surcoat, weapons and cloak, leaving Dís to stare at the small pile of items Thorin was clearly planning on leaving. Glancing from the saddle bag to the shoulder pack and back again she arched her eyebrow once again. "That's an odd way to pack," she mused. "Traveling light?"

Thorin gave a small smile. "We will be facing many difficulties on the road. Best to prioritize what can be lost and what we can not be without."

Dís nodded slowly. "Sound thinking." She was still staring at him critically.

Pausing in the middle of strapping on his axe he raised his own eyebrow. "What?"

Getting up to deal with her own breakfast dishes and fetch her cloak from the peg next to the door, Dís gave him an innocent grin. "It's just surprising seeing as how you never seem to think at all."

Thorin let out a snort as he grabbed his packs again. He paused as he looked at the pile of discarded items. "Do not fret. I shall clean up after you," Dís called over her shoulder as she opened the door. "Like always." And she was gone. Presumably headed towards where Thorin had stabled the ponies.

He stared at the empty doorway for a moment before a small chuckle bubbled up from his chest and he hefted his gear. He took one last look around the tiny hut that he had lived in for nearly fifteen decades. He had no love for the place nor would he miss it. But it was strange that the second time he would leave it's walls he would feel somewhat lighter than the first.

When he had left before, his shoulders were heavy with anxiety and truthfully a bit of fear. The worry of whether or not they would even make it to the lonely mountain practically gnawing at his belly while the thought that another had defeated Smaug before their arrival and claim Erebor for their own an ache in his heart. Strange how just re-packing his gear seemed to lessen his worries.

Now he knew what lay ahead of them. What challenges they would face. What obstacles they would have to overcome. And strangely enough, Thorin was calm. For this time, he was leaving prepared.