Between a bear and a dark place

Chapter 12

When Oin came crashing through the door with Bombur in tow Bofur had never felt so relieved in his life. Kili had not moved since the earlier episode, and it was only through his shaking and the shallow yet consistent rise and fall of his chest that the toymaker knew the young dwarf was alive.

"Through here," Bofur called, his legs beginning to cramp from being held in one position for so long. He glanced down at the limp form in his arms and opened his mouth to speak again. "Hurry."

There was a brief pause outside the door as Oin gave Bombur several instructions, and then the healer entered the room. He sent Bofur and Kili one swift glance as he crossed the room, being careful to avoid the pair of dwarves on the floor.

"What happened?" Oin asked, voice serious as he laid down the items he had brought with him. Bofur looked up at the healer with worry shinning clearly in his eyes.

"He woke," the toymaker began, "When I was changing his bandages and at first he was just looking around, but then he began to thrash around, taking himself off the bed and me down with him."

"Do you know what caused the fit?" Oin asked, frowning at what he had just been told.

"No," Bofur said, "But he didn't seem to recongised me when he woke."

"Not a good sign," Oin mumbled to himself. Bofur creased his forehead.

"Of course it's not a good sign," he half snapped, frayed nerves acting to sour his mood, "What do we do?"

Oin turned to asses the toymaker with guarded eyes for a moment before kneeling beside Kili's prone form. The healer checked the pulse and breathing of the young dwarf, mumbling to himself under his breath much to Bofur's annoyance. He moved onto feeling along Kili's limbs, lingering on the wounded areas of Kili's arms before running one hand gently down the youth's chest. After what seemed like an age the healer finally looked Bofur square in the eye.

"It is safe to move him," he said, moving down to take Kili's feet. Bofur recongised his cue and rearranged his hold on the lad so that his shoulders and head were mostly supported.

"On three," he said, not wanting to jostle the youth any further than he needed to.

Durin knows the lad is in enough pain as it is.

Oin nodded and began to count, each number slow and distinct. Three had barely left the healer's lips when both dwarves strained upwards, painstakingly shifting from their knees to their feet before crossing the room and finally laying Kili back on the bed.

"Unwind the bandages on his arms for me," the healer said as he extracted a needle and some thread from his supplies, "I need to know how many of his wounds I need to re-stitch."

Bofur nodded his head in assent, removing the relatively fresh bandages he had applied only hours before. He looked up several times to watch Oin's process, marveling at how neat the healer's stiches were compared to those sewn by Dwalin. The pile of thankfully clean strips of linen was growing larger with each passing moment, yet when Bofur began to unwrap the bandages surrounding Kili's right upper arm, he barely bit back a curse.

"What is it?" Oin asked, peering up from where he had been absorbed in his task before. Bofur jerked his head towards where Kili's skin was a notable angry red, redder and more swelled than it had been before.

"Infection," the toymaker said, "Looks as though it is in several different areas as well. I saw it when I was changing his bandages before, but it seems to have gotten worse."

Oin frowned.

"Is there anything else you noticed before or during the fit?" he asked urgently, quickly finishing the stich he was on before moving over to Bofur's side to inspect the infected area. The toymaker swallowed.

"His fever rose considerably during the episode and his began shaking afterwards as though he had been plunged into a lake of ice," he said hesitantly. Oin nodded.

"That I noticed," he replied, before falling silent for a few short moments. "It may have been what caused the fit. The fever, not the shaking," the healer eventually continued. Bofur breathed out through his nose, closing his eyes as a wave of weariness washed over him.

"What did you ask my brother to do?"

"Hmm…oh. I merely asked him to fetch my assistant and to notify the guards at the gate to notify Thorin upon his return," Oin said, beginning to mix up a salve in a wooden bowl to smear over Kili's wounds.

Thorin.

"Mahal," Bofur breathed, what Oin had just said suddenly sinking in, "He is going to kill me. I said I could look after Kili, that I would be fine and now look what happened."

"What was that?" the healer beside him asked, glancing up briefly at the toymaker. Bofur shook his head.

"It doesn't matter."

"Then hold him up for me so I can rewrap his chest," the healer said, his voice brisk and commanding. Bofur complied, pulling the young brunette up into his arms for a third time that day.

Oin was nearly finished in his task when Bombur came in, red faced and out of breath. He took in the scene before him with grim eyes as he turned to face the healer beside his brother.

"I have done as you said," he informed Oin, his words broken up by undignified panting. The healer nodded his head in acknowledgement.

"You have my thanks," he said absently, tying off the last of the bandages, "There, you may lay him back down now."

Bofur did as he was told, gently placing Kili back on the pillows beneath the youth. The brunette's face was slack, yet his features appeared tense as though whatever had incurred the incident before was still at play inside the young dwarf's mind. Still, only the movement of Kili's chest rising and falling was evident, and as such Bofur felt his resolve crumbling.

Wake up, lad. Just wake UP!

"Bofur? Bofur!"

The toymaker's head snapped up from where it had been gazing down at the prone form beneath it. He turned to face his brother, biting his lower lip as he did so.

"Sorry," Bofur mumbled, trying and failing to send a smile Bombur's way.

The round dwarf made to speak, but was cut short as a loud knocking took up on the door.

"I'll get it," Bofur said to no one in particular, needing to get out of the designated sick room to clear his head.

His footsteps echoing on the wooden floorboards, the toymaker swiftly made his way to the door. Grasping the handle, he pulled it open coming face to face with another dwarf, one who had set out with Thorin for patrol.

"Oin," the disheveled warrior gasped, "I need Oin."

Bofur did not pause in flying back to where the healer was working.

"The patrol is back," he gasped as Oin's head snapped up, his eyes unusually alert, "It appears they ran into trouble."

The healer glanced at Kili and then sighed, jumping to his feet and grabbing the supplies he had not used. Without a backward glance he was gone, the door slamming shut behind his hurried figure. Bofur stared after him and sighed, sinking to the floor where he leaned against the doorframe.

"What is it?" the voice of Bombur asked as the round dwarf came to a crouch beside his brother. Bofur suddenly found himself seeking Bombur's warm embrace.

"Don't leave me alone," he cried, pressing into his brother's arms, "I cannot deal with this alone. It is too much….too much for me to face alone." The toymaker grasped at Bombur's tunic, pressing his face into the fabric. Much to his gratitude the round dwarf did not push him away, merely holding him closer offering comfort through touch alone.

The two brothers remained in the same position for a long while, the one normally doing the comforting crumbling in the arms of the other. On the bed across from the pair, the motionless figure of Kili seemed to respond to the change in the atmosphere around him, a slight frown appearing on his forehead. He shifted once and then was still again, Bofur obliviously pulling himself back together slowly in Bombur's embrace.

It was only when the door to the house slammed that the toymaker looked up again.

"Kili?"


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