Family Bonds and Other Things
Author's Note: Okay...I'm mildly obsessed with the scene right after the Dwarves see Erebor for the first time. First off...how the fuck are they planning on getting down? I saw what they were supposed to use as a staircase and I'm telling you right now Bombur ain't going down that. He just isn't. That aside, the poor Dwarves had really been put through the wringer. The stone giants fiasco, they barely got any sleep that night before the Goblin City adventure. The fall alone into that basket had to have resulted in at least a few bumps and bruises. Cut to the Azog attack. It is now night again which means they've been up for some time already. Almost 24 hours. I've stayed up 24 hours (actually it ended up being 34) it's not fun. Then we get to the sun rising as they see Erebor which means the only one getting any sleep was Thorin while he was unconscious.
Anywho, that's where this came from. I know I already have a story about the same period of time in "Family" but this is a totally separate entity. I wanted to focus on the family bond between all of the Dwarves because you don't get to see much besides the one moment with Balin and Dwalin when Balin first arrives and the little things Richard does with the boys. So...please enjoy!
The Dwarves settled down at the base of the mountain the Eagles had left them on. The journey down had been long and slow, everyone now feeling the extent of their injuries. Camp was set up slowly with the little supplies they had left. Gloin and Bifur had been forced to go hunting so Bombur could prepare them dinner. With the ginger Dwarf cooking, everyone settled themselves down. Between the fall into the Goblin City, the treatment at the hands of the Goblins, the attack after the discovery of Orcrist, having to battle their way free, the bridge collapsing with them on it, not to mention the battle with the Wargs and Orcs, none of the Dwarves had escaped without injuries.
Gandalf looked around the camp. Bombur was cooking away, the few rabbits and one quail they had found being prepared the best he could under the circumstances. Oin was next to him, around the rather large fire, preparing tea for everyone's pain in one of the extra pots. Thorin was seated against the mountain, Fili and Kili in front of him, the boys tending to each others injuries under Thorin's watchful eye. Dwalin and Balin sat near them, the two brothers' shoulders touching. Gloin was running a whetstone over the pile of weapons next to him, sharpening them to be battle ready. Next to him sat Bifur and Bofur. The younger cousin was smoking, holding a hushed conversation with the elder in Dwarvish. Across from them sat Dori and Ori, the youngest brother curled up against the eldest, precious book in hand. A few feet away from them sat Nori, his back to them. The Hobbit burglar had passed out as soon as his bedroll was set up, utterly exhausted. Gandalf put his pipe back into his mouth and leaned back against the tree, satisfied that everyone was present and taken care of.
Bombur checked the meat to assure it was cooked through before calling to his brother, "Bofur. Food's ready."
The dark haired brother got to his feet, muscles crying out in protest. He walked to the food, nodding to Bombur as he passed. His brother settled himself down next to their cousin. Bofur went about preparing equal plates for everyone, cutting apart the rabbits and quail. Plates prepared to his liking, he went from group to group, smiling in thanks when Bifur came to assist him. Once assured that everyone was eating (with the exception of Oin who was still preparing tea with Gloin in charge of his brother's plate and Bilbo who Bofur had put aside a plate for) the cousins returned to Bombur, passing him his plate. Bombur dug in, looking his brother and cousin over as he ate, "Are you injured?"
Bofur shook his head, "Sore but fine. I'll live. You?"
Bombur shook his head as well, "Being this large has it's advantages."
They shared a smile before looking at their cousin. Bifur looked at them questioningly before Bofur explained, "Are you hurt?"
Bifur shook his head and signed to them, 'I'm fine. I've had far worse. Just a few cuts and scrapes.'
Bofur grinned at him, "I suppose if you can survive the orc axe you can survive a few cuts and scrapes."
A hint of a smile appeared at the corners of Bifur's mouth and the family lapsed into silence again, eating happily.
At the fire Oin finished preparing the tea and ladled it into cups for those who were worse off. Gandalf had healed Thorin's mortal injuries, leaving their esteemed leader with cuts, scrapes, bruises, and overall soreness. Kili was suffering from a massive headache and a few badly bruised ribs that he shared with Dwalin from being at the bottom of the bridge when the Goblin King's body had collapsed atop them all. Fili had few small but painful burns on his hands from the burning pine cones and had come away with the worst of the scrapes down his back from tumbling down the rocks. Last was Nori who had fallen funny and sprained his wrist. Oin assured he had five cups filled and carried two of them over to Thorin who immediately handed his to Kili, "Make sure the boys have theirs' first."
Oin handed the other cup to Fili who accepted it with a tired smile. Grabbing two more cups, Thorin was handed one and accepted it this time with a nod of thanks. The other was handed to Dwalin who attempted to refuse it until Balin cuffed him sharply on the back of the head, "Quit being stubborn, Brother and drink the damn tea."
Dwalin, sufficiently cowed by his elder brother, took the cup with a muttered 'thanks' and drank from stubbornly to make a point. Oin and Balin shared a smile before Oin retrieved the last cup and passed it to Nori who grinned at him with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. Assured that everyone's injuries were taken care of to the best of their abilities currently, Oin settled himself next to Gloin who shoved a plate of food in his hands, "Eat. You're so busy taking care of everyone, you're forgetting to take care of yourself."
Oin began eating, realizing for the first time, how hungry he actually was. As he ate he looked his younger brother over. He didn't seem to be worse for the wear, "Are you injured at all?"
Gloin shook his head with a broad smile, "I'm fine. I'm hardy. Barely a scratch on me."
Oin's gaze narrowed, "You better not be lying. Remember, you have Gimli to go back to."
Gloin's smile grew soft at the mention of his son, "Aye. I know. He'll have a father after this journey. I promise you that."
Oin clapped his brother on the shoulder, "Good. Jora would never forgive me if I didn't assure her husband came home."
Gloin's smile grew, "You're doing a fine job of that. Make sure you remember to take care of yourself. Or let me take care of you on occasion."
Oin shook his head, exasperated, "I'll think about it."
Across the fire Thorin leaned back against the rock base, finishing with his food and tea. He looked over his nephews who were unusually quiet, huddled close together. Kili's eyes were barely opened, his food barely touched beside him. He held both his tea and Fili's, sipping from his own cup on occasion. Next to him was Fili. The blonde had nearly finished his food and currently had a cool cloth pressed against the burns on his hands to relieve some of the pain. Both boys looked utterly exhausted and very, very young. Thorin glanced at Dwalin and Balin, "What happened? I remember Bilbo coming to my aide and then...things get a little fuzzy. How is our Hobbit still alive?"
Dwalin glared at the two princes and ratted them out, "Your nephews decided to run to your aide."
Thorin stared at Dwalin and felt his stomach twist uncomfortably, "What?"
Fili was indignant, "You ran out there with us!"
Dwalin defended himself, "To keep my hide where it is! If anything had happened to you two Thorin would have never forgiven me. Don't know if I would had forgiven myself. I had every right to run to his aide. You two didn't."
Thorin turned to look at his nephews who were looking at him warily, "Are you two insane?"
Kili stayed silent, glowering at Thorin. Fili, as he usually did, spoke for them, "We wanted to help you! Were we supposed to sit back and let you die?"
Thorin felt his frustration rise, "You're suppose to think before you go rushing into things!"
Balin raised an eyebrow at his friend, "Like you did?"
Thorin whipped around to look at him, "Balin!"
Balin merely shrugged without apology, "I'm sorry Laddie but that was by far the stupidest thing you've done in a long while. You can't yell at them for not thinking when you clearly didn't."
Thorin floundered for words before turning his anger back on his nephews, "It doesn't matter what I did. You two never should have left the tree. Kili, you nearly fell off of it when it toppled as it is!"
Kili's glower faded and he looked at his uncle with puppy eyes, "Thorin...Uncle...we saw you fall. We thought you were going to die. We couldn't let that happen."
Thorin was about to protest some more when he noticed the weary set of Fili's shoulders and the shaken look in Kili's eyes. Distantly he heard Balin speak, "They were concerned for you, Thorin. You cannot fault them for that."
Thorin felt his shoulder slump in defeat and he sighed. He held open his arms and jerked his head slightly, indicating the boys should come closer. They instantly obeyed, Fili going to his right, Kili to his left. Kili's head dropped onto his shoulder and he felt the tension seep out of both boys, "Don't do anything stupid like that again. For my own mental health."
He heard Fili chuckle slightly and felt a smile pull at his own mouth, "How are your hands? And your back?"
Fili shrugged one shoulder, "They hurt. The tea helped. I won't feel the burn by tomorrow."
"Me what?" Kili mumbled.
Thorin shook his head slowly, his youngest nephew always managed to fall asleep fairly quickly, "How are your injuries?"
"My head hurts. I'm glad I disemboweled the bastard."
Thorin frowned, "Should have left part of him for me."
"Other than my head I'm fine. My ribs only hurt if I breath too deep or put pressure on them."
"Are you okay?" Fili asked, his head dropping onto his uncle's shoulder as well.
Thorin evaluated himself briefly, "I'm sore. I'll be far more sore tomorrow but I'll live."
"I hope you're beyond sore tomorrow," Dwalin grumbled, annoyed, from his seat.
"What was that?" Thorin called to him, baiting.
Dwalin leaned forward to properly glare at Thorin, "You're a half-wit who better be sore tomorrow so he learns not to run headfirst into an orc pack by himself and nearly get himself killed!"
Thorin felt his pride rear it's head but pushed it back down, knowing his friend was merely concerned about him, "I'll remember that when you're whining about your ribs like a woman."
Dwalin huffed, "Like a-"
Balin cut him off with a sigh, "All right children. That's enough."
Thorin and Dwalin nodded at each other in truce and Thorin jerked his head toward himself, "Join us."
Balin and Dwalin both rose, Dwalin pulling Balin up with an offered hand and they joined the royal family.
Dori observed them over the fire, Ori curled up beside him. Ori was writing away, trying to finish what he could in the fading light. Dori looked down at him fondly, grateful that his youngest brother's precious book had survived the adventure thus far...that they had survived the journey thus far. Dori suppressed a shudder, remembering the feel of empty air under his feet and hearing Ori's terrified cries. He distantly remembered hearing Nori, panicked, telling him to hold on, knowing that if he fell, they both would. A quick search around revealed Nori to be sitting a few feet away, back to them, shoulders hunched. Dori felt himself frown. Nori had always been independent, never bowing to the fact that Dori was the elder brother. Currently though...Dori made up his mind and called out to him, "Nori!"
The brown hair Dwarf turned, "What?"
Dori tried to make his voice as soothing as he could, "Come sit with us."
Nori turned away from them again, "I'm fine."
Ori had paused in his writing and looked up, "Is he okay?"
Dori frowned, "I'm not sure."
Ori's frown soon matched his brother's. He closed his book decidedly and put it back in his pack before getting to his feet. He walked over to Nori and sat down next to him, making sure to let his brother keep his personal space, "Nori?"
Nori ignored his younger brother, staring at his hands, one wrist held tight. Ori tried again, "Nori? Are you alright?"
When he was once again ignored, Dori got to his feet, moving over to him, a spark of annoyance flaring up in him. He sat down on the other side of Nori with a mild huff, "What is your problem?"
Nori glared at him, "I just want to be left alone."
Ori offered him a tiny smile, "If that's what you want. We can go sit over there, right Dori?"
Dori ignored Ori, growing fully annoyed at his middle brother's attitude, "Really now. This is ridiculous. I don't know what your issue is this evening but-"
Nori's glare sharpened, "Just leave me alone."
Ori had noticed the unusualness of his brother's behavior. Nori may be a bit more of a loner than Dori or himself but he rarely seemed this agitated. He spoke softly, "Are you sure? You don't seem like you're okay."
Nori head dropped into his hands, defeated and Dori and Ori shared a confused looked over his back. Dori felt his elder brother instincts kick in and place a hand on his shoulder, "What's wrong?"
Nori kept his head down, "You both nearly fell. You don't realize how close you were to falling. If the eagles hadn't shown up and caught you, you both-"
He broke off and Dori and Ori instantly knew what was wrong. Ori scooted closer to his older brother, "We're alright. We both are. The eagles came and we're alright."
Nori stayed silent and Dori tried his hand at comfort, "Gave us a bit of a scare too. A bit like the time you disappeared for three days and all we found was your pack with blood on it."
Nori scoffed, "Wasn't even my blood."
"But we didn't know that."
Nori's shoulders slumped and Dori smiled, knowing he had won this particular battle this evening, "Want a hug?"
Nori nodded slowly and Ori flung his arms around him hugging him tight. Dori felt himself grinning before doing the same on Nori's other side. Effectively trapped, Nori struggled for a moment before resigning himself to the hug. Dori eventually let go but Ori still hung on, "How is your wrist?"
Nori rotated it and grimaced slightly, "Hurts but I've had worse."
Dori nodded, happy with that answer, "Drink your tea."
Nori rolled his eyes, "I am."
From his place near one of the trees Bilbo stirred, joining the waking world, "I smell food."
Bofur rose and retrieved the plate he had covered and placed near the fire for Bilbo, "Saved you your helping."
Bilbo managed to get himself standing, still looking half dead from exhaustion. He stumbled toward the food, mind on eating and getting back to sleep. Bofur took pity on him and met him halfway. Clearly their Hobbit wasn't used to going a few days without any sleep. Bilbo accepted the plate gratefully before plopping himself down next to Gandalf and eating, "Is everyone alright?"
Gandalf nodded, puffing away on his pipe, "Indeed. A few cuts and scrapes here and there but it's all taken care of. I believe we should all begin bedding down for the night."
Thorin glanced at his nephews, both of whom were already sound asleep, "Who should take first watch?"
Gandalf cast a quick glance around the camp. All the Dwarves looked utterly exhausted and drained. With a decisive nod he pulled his pipe from his mouth, "None of you. I will take tonight's watch. You all need a night of uninterrupted sleep."
Thorin looked at him with relief. Leader of the company he may be but he was tired, "Are you sure?"
Gandalf nodded, pipe back in his mouth, "Indeed."
"Thank you," Thorin nudged his nephews gently and both of them groaned in complaint, "You need to both move. You're not sleeping the night like this."
Fili sat up, though not without a pout that resembled Kili in every fashion. His brother however stayed exactly where he was with a stubborn grunt. Thorin sighed, "Kili. Now."
Kili grumbled sleepily but sat up as slowly as he possibly could. Fili reached blindly for his pack with his bedroll, grasping at air until Balin moved it closer to his hand with his foot. Fili set up his bedroll in a sleepy daze before dropping onto it, face first. Kili just curled himself in a ball, content to just sleep on the hard ground before Fili threw his pillow at him, "Set up your bedroll. You're not just sleeping on the ground."
Kili growled at his brother and grabbed his bag. He sloppily set up his blankets without even standing and rolled himself into them, stopping when his back touched Fili's, "Night."
Thorin watched them with a raised eyebrow and went about setting up his own bedroll with much more finesse. As he sat himself down to adjust his pillow and the blankets that would cover him, a thought occurred, "Is Azog dead?"
Balin responded from where he was setting up his own bed, "No. The Eagles managed to kill most of the Orcs and Wargs but Azog escaped."
Thorin felt a surge of anger, "The Eagles didn't bother to kill him?"
"I believe they were more concerned about getting you," Dwalin told him.
Thorin snorted, "I wasn't going anywhere. They should have ended him."
"But then you wouldn't be able to kill him Uncle," Fili mumbled, voice muffled by his pillow, "And you will."
Thorin felt a surge of gratitude for his elder nephew. It was irrational but his words had the calming effect they were meant to, "Go to sleep Fili."
Thorin looked up and saw Dwalin and Balin both smiling at him. He scowled at them halfheartedly before laying down. Assuring that both Fili and Kili were asleep, Thorin soon dropped off into sleep himself.
Balin glanced over the camp before turning to his younger brother. Dwalin was already laying down, attempting to get comfortable, "Do you need anything?"
Dwalin's answer was short, "No."
Balin laid himself down, tugging the blankets over his shoulders. He had just shut his eyes when he heard Dwalin speak, "Do you need anything?"
Balin couldn't help the smile that came to his face, "No Brother. Get some sleep."
Across the fire Bofur and Bifur had already set up their bedrolls and were bedding themselves down. Suddenly both of them felt a secondary blanket get placed over their shoulders. Bofur glanced up and saw Bombur settling down on his bedroll, sans any of his blankets. Bifur exchanged a glance with his cousin and shrugged.
"Why do we get your blankets?" Bofur asked.
Bombur shrugged, "I don't get cold so I never use them."
Bofur shook his head slowly, a smile on his face, "You're the youngest out of us. You shouldn't get to Mother Hen."
Bombur laid himself down and rolled over so he laid on his back, "I'm bigger than both of you."
Bofur rolled his eyes and tugged the blanket over his shoulders, "That's your answer for everything."
A few bedrolls over they heard Dwalin growl, "Some of us are trying to sleep. Shut it."
Bofur fell silent but not before raising his head and sharing a grin with his brother.
Next to them Oin was bustling around, attempting to check everyone over one last time before bedding himself down. Gloin watched him tiredly, his bedroll already set up. With a sigh he made a decision. He got to his feet and set up Oin's bedroll for him, knowing damn well his brother wouldn't get around to doing it on his own. As Oin passed by him Gloin grasped the back of his tunic and tugged him down and used the voice he used when Gimli wouldn't nap as a child, "Go to sleep. Everyone is fine. Sleep."
Oin gave him a look before smiling, "Alright. I'll listen this one time," He laid himself down and tugged the blanket around himself, "And don't think I didn't notice the father voice you used."
Gloin chuckled quietly, "It seems to work well on stubborn Dwarflings."
Oin raised his head to glare at him, "I'm older than you Dwarfling."
Oin placed his crushed hearing horn next to his head and laid himself down fully. Gloin called to him, chancing the fact that his brother would hear him, "Goodnight Brother."
"Goodnight Gloin," Came the response.
Nori watched the goings on of the camp, rubbing his sprained wrist mindlessly. He watched as everyone except Gandalf and their Hobbit settled down for the night. The camp went quiet, the snores not starting quite yet. He was just thinking he needed to set up his bedroll when someone tapped him on the shoulder. Nori spun around, tense and came face to face with his younger brother. Ori smiled at him softly, "Ready for bed?"
Nori glanced over and saw his bedroll already set up between Dori and Ori's. Nori walked over with Ori, Dori smiling at the youngest before turning back to the middle brother. Nori frowned at him, "I can set up my bedroll myself. I'm not a child."
Dori huffed, "I know that. Your wrist is sore and I'm allowed to take care of my younger brother when he lets me."
Nori sat down on his bedroll at Ori's pleading look, "I don't need to be taken care of."
Dori sighed and sat himself down as well, "Aye. You've always made that perfectly clear."
Ori curled himself up on his bedroll, "No fighting. I'm forbidding it."
Nori pulled Ori's blanket over him and made sure he was covered fully, "We're not going to argue Ori. Promise."
Ori sent his brother a bright smile before shutting his eyes. Dori looked at him fondly before turning to his other younger brother, "You need to get to sleep too."
Nori laid himself down, fighting down the argument he felt rise in himself. Dori tucked the blankets around Nori, mimicking what Nori had done with Ori moments before. Nori made a face at his brother, showing his displeasure, but it was halfhearted. It occasionally felt nice to be the younger brother. Dori seemed to know that and continued to hover over him for a minute more. Nori shut his eyes, hearing Ori's light breathing already steadied out in sleep. He heard Dori settle himself down in his bed, heard the rustle of blankets and the quiet sigh that meant his elder brother was comfortable. Contemplating it for a few moment Nori caved and spoke, "Night Dori."
Dori felt a grin on his face he couldn't contain, "Good night Nori."
Gandalf surveyed the camp. Everyone, save their resident Hobbit was asleep. Bilbo himself was settling back down in his bedroll, ready for sleep once again now that he had eaten. He smiled slightly at Gandalf before curling up and falling asleep faster than the wizard would have thought possible. A quick listen assure Gandalf that they were free from danger and he packed his pipe with more pipe-weed before settling against the tree for a long night of watch.