Between a bear and a dark place

Chapter 16

It was the low voice that drew him towards the door. Soft and gentle and everything the toymaker had come to not expect from the dwarf save for where his family was concerned.

"You are the one responsible for the gray in my hair, my boy, you and that troublesome streak of yours," came the words as they floated through the thick wood to Bofur's ear leaned lightly against it. The dwarf peered around the edge of the slightly opened door, his curiosity more than a little aroused.

The sight that greeted the toymaker made the dwarf want to shrink back down into the shadows smiling softly all the while. Thorin was seated by his unconscious nephew's head, stroking the youth's hair as he talked quietly to the unmoving being.

"How you survived that winter I am not sure anyone will ever know, but you did, so I do not see why you cannot survive this."

The breath caught in Bofur's throat as it constricted, the words that were assaulting him bringing along an unexpected comfort as well. It was widely known that the youngest of the Durin's had been brought into the world on what could have been described as the coldest and harshest winter in the lifespan of several different generations. It was also widely known that most scrawny babes born in winter did not survive to see the following spring, and scrawny Kili had been yet somehow he had lived to see many more winters come and go.

"You are strong, Kili, far stronger than anyone might think, including you. You are strong enough to fight Dwain in training and win, and you are strong enough to fight this."

Thorin's voice had a tremble to it, one that Bofur had never heard in all the time he had known the dwarfish leader. It was a tremble of emotion, a tremble of longing and desperation and denial mixed all into one single pitch. The toymaker felt the same tremble form in his own throat and it was with great difficulty that he choked it back to listen further to what Kili's uncle had to say.

"What would your mother say if you left without her knowing? What would your brother say? It would destroy them."

Tears pricked at Bofur's eyes and this time he did let out an inaudible gasp. To lose a loved one…. It was the worst curse that could exist and it was a curse Bofur knew well. The only family he had left was that of his brother and his cousin, all the rest had faded away over time. As hard as it was, no one was meant to live forever.

Pressing back against the wall beside him, the toymaker allowed himself to sink to the floor. He had watched when his mother had succumbed to a mysterious illness no healer could identify. He had watched when his father had simply given up on life and passed away. He had watched when he had almost lost Bifur to a brutal attack. Those were times when he had suffered greatly, but he had gotten past them, learned to look on the brighter side of life. Now, however, Bofur had been dragged back down to his darker depths as he was forced to watch Kili fight for life only a wall away from him.

"Âzyung zu, Kili. Zu lu' barak. Zu khîm…khîm…"

The toymaker's heart broke, the words fading in the air around him. Thorin was silent just as he was, waiting, watching, hoping. Blinking, Bofur breathed in and swiveled his head so that he was staring at the prone form on the bed. He counted slowly in his head, watching the faint rise and fall of Kili's chest from the crack in the door before a knocking behind him caused the toymaker to jump.

"Oin, Dwalin," Bofur greeted as he let the two dwarves in. The older of the two gave a brief nod to the toymaker before making his way into the room where both Thorin and Kili were situated.

"Anything?"

"No," Bofur answered in short, walking with Dwalin to the door and looking in. The tattooed dwarf beside him sighed.

"How long will it take until something changes?" the warrior said.

"Changes for better or for worse?"

Bofur could feel Dwalin's eyes boring into him, but he resisted the urge to look. It was a fair question and the toymaker was not going to take it back. When this became clear to the dwarf beside him, the same dwarf let out a gushing breath.

"Just changes I suppose," Dwalin finally said.

"Don't we all?"

The pair watched as Oin rewound a fresh batch of bandages around Kili's chest. The wounds were still hideous, tearing through the dwarfling's flesh. The only difference was that they were now more pink lines broken by jagged black stitching instead of large red gashes.

"Grab the door. The door!"

"Oin wasn't home and I couldn't manage to locate his assistant either."

"We'll have to manage ourselves then. We do not have time to race around trying to find them."

Bofur shuddered at the memory. Images of blood and screaming filled his mind and it was with a wince that the toymaker pulled himself back to reality.

"I will be outside if anyone needs me," he said to the dwarf beside him before leaving the way Dwalin and Oin had come.


TRANSLATIONS:

Âzyung zu, Kili - (I) love you, Kili.

Zu lu' barak – You cannot leave.

Zu khîm…khîm… – You (are too) young…(too) young…

Lu' technically means 'no', but I needed to alter it to 'cannot'. Any words in brackets above are implied (meaning I couldn't find them), otherwise each word is what it translates to be above.

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