because ilu <3
Kili was supposed to fall into the enchanted river of Mirkwood - was dangling off a vine, ankles hooked on a branch, nose almost in the water - but of course Fili got him out of those straits. Big brother always came through.
Except the river wasn’t going to be cheated and the vine snapped and Fili fell in instead. Kili, plopped on the branch Fili had set him on, tried to twist around and catch him, but only managed to cry out “Fi-!” before the black water gaped like a mouth and took Fili in with a splash.
No one said a word as they fished Fili out, prodding at the water with axe handles and broken branches, because they’d already seen what the water did to Bombur.
They were so grim in their task that they didn’t notice a tiny bundle wriggle out onto the river bank, too-large clothes and boots slipping off in the mud. Tt was only when a clear high voice piped out “Can i play?” that they all turned and saw Fili standing safe and sound on the shore.
There was no time for relief at finding him safe and unharmed and awake, though, because this was Fili as he’d been fifty, maybe sixty years ago.
He was a child.
The older dwarves carefully backed off the vines they’d crawled onto and slowly crowded around Fili, some reaching out to touch him but never connecting - Thorin especially, half-crouched in front of Fili with his hands out towards him as if Fili were a fire on a cold winter’s night. Kili hung back, on the edge of the group, staring at the tiny blond dwarfling.
The second that soaked child called out for him - “Kili? Ki?” - however, Kili shoved through the group and clamped a hand on Fili’s shoulders, unsteadying him terribly until Fili held onto him with tiny fists clinging to his clothes.
Kili carried Fili the rest of the way across the river, the last of the group but for those carrying Bombur. They were barely a few minutes into the second bank, the mist and the cloying heavy smell of the river still clinging to them, when Thorin called for them to make camp. They could still have walked on for a few hours, everyone knew this, but no one said a word. Bombur was set down by the growing fire, and Kili set Fili down beside him.
As everyone settled down, shook mud off their boots and started rationing out provisions, Fili finally piped up again. “What’s going on, Kili? Where are we?”
Kili stared blankly at his brother. Fili was the elder. Fili always had the answers, always took care of Kili. That their positions were reversed left Kili reeling.
Thorin watched them from the corner of his eye as he paced through the huddled forms, checking that everyone in the company was as fit as could be expected. “Ori,” he called out. “Hand Kili your notebook, if you would.”
Neither of the two younger dwarves understood Thorin’s suggestion until Fili crawled into Kili’s lap and avidly grabbed at Ori’s book and opened it, staring at the fanatstical drawings, pointing at the faces he recognized and squinting at half-drawn maps.
"We’re here," said Kili, pointing.
Ori scooted beside him. “And we’ve been traveling through here,” he added, flipping back a few pages and pointing.
But something had caught Fili’s eye. “Are those trolls?” he pointed at a page full of Ori’s spindly writing, drawings of trolls squeezed into the margins. At the bottom, there was a rather unflattering drawing of a dwarf in a sack.
Kili laughed and scanned the page for the beginning of the entry. “Do you mind?” he asked Ori.
“‘S what it’s for,” said Ori. “Well, once I clean it up. Go ahead.”
"Story time, Fili," announced Kili, and his little older brother settled in his lap with a wide smile on his face. Kili rested his chin on the fine blond hair - still damp from the river - and read aloud about trolls stealing ponies and about bumbling thieves and dwarves on a spit. The other dwarves soon settled down and listened as well, and the only sound left besides Kili’s voice was Bombur’s peaceful snores beside him and the crackling of the fire. Even the black gaping maw that passed for forest around them was silent.
Oh my God…oh my God…oh my God………………