Between a bear and a dark place

Chapter 10

Bofur rubbed his face, tired, but happy that nothing had changed in Kili's condition that had required him to fetch Oin. Still, nothing had changed in Kili's condition and that was not good news. What was more was that the toymaker was alone in his worry, no one else in the house save him and the unconscious dwarfling he was looking after.

"I suppose I should change your bandages then," Bofur remarked quietly to his charge, brown eyes staring almost longingly at the pale face framed by tangled brown hair. The toymaker sighed, wishing that the youth's eyes would just snap open as he stared. They did not and the disheartened dwarf moved on to fetch what he needed to clean and redress Kili's wounds just as Oin had shown him.

Placing the bowl of water on the table by the bed, Bofur contemplated the scene before him for a moment, trying to decide how he would lift Kili from the bed so he could redress his torso.

"We'll start with your arms first then," the toymaker said conversationally, reaching for the limb closest to him, "Sorry if this hurts at all, but it is for your own good. You'll thank me later for it."

If there is a later. No, stop thinking like that, Bofur berated himself, there is a chance he will make it out of this yet, alive and breathing and as well as he was before.

Grabbing at the bandages on Kili's arm, the toymaker managed to gently coax one end free before proceeding to unwrap the white strips of linen. He swallowed drily when the jagged handiwork of Dwalin's sewing skills came into view, but did not hesitate in his movements.

Making quick work of cleaning and rewrapping the arm, Bofur began on Kili's right side. The sight was very much the same, though the toymaker frowned when he saw reddening in several areas along the parts where Kili's flesh had been torn the most. The dwarf's fingers ghosted over the areas, feeling the noticeable heat rising off them. Running a wet cloth over the youth's right shoulder, Bofur's frown deepened as he eyed the swelling that was taking place there as well as the redness.

It was the beginnings of an infection.

Bofur paused in his work, thinking.

I can manage it for now, he decided, but I need to ensure I clean them well. It has only just begun to show signs so is not so urgent that I need to fetch Oin, though I will have to tell him as soon as he returns.

Bandaging the offending limb, Bofur sighed and rolled his neck, wincing as he felt it crack several times.

"I'm going to have to sit you up now so I can fix the bandages around your chest," the toymaker said to the prone figure on the bed, "I just need to figure out how I am going to hold you at the same time, so excuse me if I disturb you."

It was madness talking to the boy when the young dwarf more than likely could not hear him, yet it somehow managed to comfort the toymaker, relieving him of his fears and worries. Silence would only allow everything to build up on itself, but Bofur had learnt long ago that a little noise helped him to distract himself enough not to dwell on the grief which had found a place in his life.

Sitting on the bed, Bofur laid the bowl and cloth he had been using previously by his side as well as a fresh roll of bandages. He hesitated a moment before slipping his hands underneath Kili's back, hefting the lad's limp form up into a sitting position. The youth's head lolled limply.

"You'll be up again in no time," Bofur said in a voice that was halfway between cheery and tired. He pulled Kili into his shoulder and reached behind him to where the end of the bandage around his chest was tucked.

It was when Bofur was reaching for the bowl of water that the youth leaning into his shoulder took him by surprise.

Kili jerked back and away from Bofur suddenly and without warning. Bofur frowned in confusion, hands reaching out to catch the youth and hold him in place.

"What in the name of…. Kili!" Bofur cried out in surprise, watching with an unmasked delight as the lad's eyes blinked around to face him. "It's about time that you woke," the toymaker continued, "You've been worrying everyone out of their minds. When your uncle hears that you've…. Kili?"

Bofur watched in concern as the young dwarf's eyes failed to light up with recognition. The brown orbs just stared at him blankly as if he were a stranger that Kili did not know and did not take interest in.

This is not good, the toymaker thought, but at least he is a-

"KILI!" Bofur half yelled in alarm as the youth unexpectedly tore his body from the toymaker's hands, a sharp sound emitting from his mouth. Bofur was up and off the bed in a heartbeat, hands brushing along Kili's sides as the older tried to force his charge back down onto the bed.

Kili gave a hoarse shout and somehow twisted free, leaving Bofur cursing in his wake. The heat radiating off the youth's skin was intense, having rapidly increased the moment the young dwarf had opened his eyes.

"This is not good, not good at all," Bofur found himself muttering as he fought to keep the youth still. Whether or not the fit had been caused by fever or something else, the toymaker did not know, but there was now terror etched into Kili's face and Bofur thought it was more than likely some form of nightmarish memory was haunting the young dwarf.

Bofur cried out in surprise as Kili jerked again, more violently this time causing him to fall off the bed. The young dwarf fell to the floor, landing with a half muffled thump as Bofur barely managed to break the youth's fall.

"Mahal…" the toymaker said half to himself as he found himself sprawled under Thorin Oakenshield's youngest nephew whose wild thrashing seemed to be decreasing. He felt a warm, sticky liquid seeping into the material of his sleeves, and it was with concern that Bofur noted Kili's chest wounds had reopened at least partially.

It was with great effort that the disgruntled dwarf managed to extract himself from under Kili and sit, pulling Kili into his lap as he did so. He saw the thin lines of red trailing from several places where it was obvious that the stiches Dwalin had put in before had torn and cursed inwardly. Kili did not need to lose any more blood, not so soon after losing such a vast amount before.

"Look at me now lad," Bofur said, glancing back towards Kili's face, the youth's eyes fixated on a point above the toymaker's head. He groaned softly, hands clenching at his sides slightly before relaxing again.

The young dwarf's eyes blinked, glazing over as whatever had caused him to wake in such a forceful manner faded. Kili's body began to fall limp and Bofur found himself suddenly fighting to keep the lad awake.

"Don't close your eyes," the toymaker said in a stern voice so unlike his own, "Do not fall back asleep. You may never wake if you do."

Kili, however, did not seem to hear the warning in the words nor the crack in the voice of the dwarf who held him towards the end. His eyes fluttered closed and Bofur was again left alone in the house. Only this time Kili was shaking as though he had been plunged into a sea of ice cold water even though his fever was now higher than it had been before.

"Damn it!" Bofur shouted, half hoping that the volume of his words would wake the unconscious dwarfling. When it became clear that it would not, the toymaker swore knowing that he was now in a situation that he could not redeem himself. Even if he could get Kili back onto the bed by himself, Bofur knew he could not leave the youth in the condition he was in to get help.

Looking down on Kili's sweat ridden face, Bofur contemplated his options. He needed Oin, yet he was the only one in the house. The episode before had scared him more than he would like to have admitted and while the toymaker did not want to see another fit like the previous one, he could not abandon him. He also needed to do something to stop the bleeding before it got worse, yet Bofur did not trust his shaking hands to replace the stiches that had been torn.

The despairing dwarf just didn't know what to do. Bofur was afraid to so much as move the boy for the change that had so suddenly come over him after a day and a half of almost nothing.

Mahal, please. Send someone, anyone here so that I can send them for help. Please, do not let help arrive too late.

The toymaker's silent prayers were answered and only a moment later a knock came at the door.

"I've brought you some lunch if you're hungry. Thought I would keep you company and see if I could help at all. Business at the inn is going slowly and Azania thought that it would be best if I-"

Bombur's words cut off as he came to a halt in the centre of the doorway leading into Kili's room.

"Durin's beard…."

"I need you to get Oin," Bofur said sharply, "Now!"

Bombur was out the door faster than his brother could blink, the round dwarf not bothering to wait for the toymaker to explain. Bofur sighed as he heard Bombur's footsteps fade, alone once again with the unconscious Kili.

"Why?" he asked to the thin air, "He was doing so well." The dwarf received no answer however.

The thin trails of blood that had been running down Kili's chest before had begun the process of clotting over, leaving the youth's skin patched with a stiff red substance. The shaking had no stopped and it was as such that Bofur viewed the young dwarf in his arms.

"You have to hold on," he said his voice carrying an edge of despair to it, "You have to hold on. Please."

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