Between a bear and a dark place

Chapter 2

Bofur sighed, staring at the youth that laid on the bed before him. The toymaker begun to fidget with a loose thread on his tunic before sighing again, leaning back on the chair he sat on as he rubbed his face with his still bloodied hands. Kili did not look good, face pale and slack as the young brunette continued to remain captive to the grip of unconsciousness.

Not for the first time Bofur prayed that Dwalin would hurry up and arrive with the healer.

"You'll be alright, lad, you'll have to," the toymaker said aloud in response to a small moan of agony piercing the otherwise silent air that remained heavy with the scent of fear, sweat and drying blood. Bofur made to take hold of one of Kili's hands, but then withdrew, unsure whether or not the action would cause more pain to the young dwarf. As it was, two of the fingers on Kili's right hand were bent at an awkward angle and a nasty bruise was forming on the back of his left.

Someone would have to inform the lad's family of what had transpired, something which Bofur wanted to avoid for as long as possible even if he was the one lumped with the responsibility which was, in itself, highly unlikely. While both Dis and Fili would be away for at least another week, visiting a town not five days' journey from their own village, Thorin had remained behind with his youngest nephew. The stoic leader was known to be intimidating at the best of times, and where his sister and her sons were concerned, he was overprotective at the best, much like a mother bear was over her cubs.

Bear - it probably wasn't the best comparison given the circumstances.

The creak of a door opening shook Bofur from his worried thoughts. With a glance towards the still motionless and otherwise incapacitated boy on the bed, the toymaker got up from his chair, a small frown upon his face. Dwalin would have announced his arrival loud and clear enough for those on the other side of the mountains to hear. That left few options, most ones Bofur did not like.

"What in Durin's name has happened here?" cried a deep voice, one that had Bofur relaxing his tense grip on the candlestick in his hand, the toymaker relieved those who had just entered were not thieves or other such beings baring similar dark intentions.

Placing the makeshift weapon on a small table near the door, Bofur took a step out of Kili's room bringing himself face to face with Balin and one of the three people he wanted to see the least at that point in time.

"Did you slaughter a pig in here?" Thorin asked incredulously as he gestured to the blood coated table, puddles of the scarlet liquid evident on the floor. Bofur grimaced at the question, his face going from serious to grim in a matter of seconds.

"I wish that were the case," the toymaker answered, none of his usual cheer evident in his bleak words.

"Then what-"

"Kili," Bofur answered in short, cutting Balin off midsentence, "Dwalin has gone to fetch Oin."

Thorin's face immediately drained of all colour leaving his skin ghostly pale. Bofur knew that the dwarf haired dwarf knew that Kili was supposed to be on a hunting trip with Dwalin, so who could blame the dwarfish leader if he was feeling a bit faint over the amount of his nephew's blood that had been spilled.

"Are you alright?" asked Bofur, Balin offering Thorin a chair even as the older dwarf glanced worriedly into the room where Kili laid. Thorin, however, brushed off the other two dwarves, Bofur stepping aside as the clearly rattled dwarf strode past him only to drop to his knees by his unconscious nephew's side.

"What happened?" he asked, voice strangely hoarse. Bofur took a deep breath, stepping back into the room, Balin hovering by his side.

"There was an accident," the toymaker said, his own voice shaky and weak, "And it somehow ended in a bear attack. Dwalin and I managed to stop most of the bleeding, but there is no guarantee that he will survive the next day, let alone the night. He was loosing a lot of blood when Dwalin rode in, and that was before we got here, and if a trained healer does not get here soon…"

"You said my brother was getting Oin," Balin spoke from beside the toymaker. Bofur nodded.

"Dwalin seemed fine when I saw him," he replied, answering the unspoken question the older dwarf had implied, "But there was no way of telling whether the blood that covered him was all Kili's."

"Do you know of the bear?" Thorin asked from where he was still kneeled. Bofur shook his head, worried eyes flashing back to the exiled king.

"I only know what I have already said," he answered, "There was not much time for Dwalin to delve into the details."

Silence flew through the room again, no one wanting to speak least the sound of Kili breathing should fail without them noticing. The small and uneven noise might have, at any other time, meant little to the three dwarves in the room, yet at that moment it was all that showed the young dwarf before them was still clinging to life.

"He's through there," a gruff and slightly breathless voice answered causing three out of four heads to look up in anticipation. They did not have to wait long for only a moment later Oin was pushing his way into the room, Dwalin walking in his wake. Bofur sent a quick prayer of thanks up to the skies, the sight of the old healer sending a much needed wave of relief through him.

"Are you alright?" came Balin's concerned voice as his brother moved past him.

"I am fine," came Dwalin's answer, his tunic and forearms still dark with now dried blood. Bofur noticed droplets of sweat mixing with smears of red on the taller dwarf's forehead, and it was with a fleeting thought the toymaker absently wondered how the seasoned warrior must have looked to passersby as he had run all out to get to Oin.

Bofur chased such thinking from his head, focusing back on what was really important. It was with baited breath that he watched the only healer present observe Kili, making note of the young dwarf's injuries as well as the combined efforts of both Dwalin and Bofur.

"Bear attack you said?" Oin asked as he examined the hoof shaped print on Kili's left hand.

"After his mount threw him and ran off, spooked," Dwalin replied in a loud and clear voice, one that the healer would have no trouble hearing, "I don't know about the fall, but I am sure the pony only got his arm."

"I would agree with that," Oin answered before beginning to unwind the bandages on the arm of the hand he had been holding previously, "Though he has sustained some damage in the fall."

"He was also thrown back by the bear," Dwalin informed, his voice barely masking the worry displayed on his face, a face which usually bore a harsh look if any. Bofur would happily exchange anything to get that look back on the burly dwarf's face if it meant Kili would not be laying so broken on the bed.

"Will he be alright?" the toymaker heard himself ask, a question he had thought would have already been voiced by Thorin, but the dark haired dwarf seemed to shocked to say or do much of anything save stare at the face of his youngest nephew.

"I cannot say for certain," Oin answered, "Not at least, until I have checked all his wounds." The healer then turned to Dwalin. "This is your work, is it not?" he asked, gesturing to stiches in Kili's arm. Dwalin nodded.

"Aye, and I was sure to clean the wound with both water and alcohol first," the bald dwarf answered. Oin grunted in acknowledgement.

"Crude, but it will do," he said as he unwrapped the rest of the makeshift bandages.

It was some time before the healer was finished, and by then Bofur's nerves were more on edge than he had ever remembered them being. Oin's face gave away nothing, a blank mask of concentration as he continued to look over his patient, clicking his tongue every now and then in thought. The grey bearded dwarf had barely finished splinting Kili's two clearly broken fingers when Thorin uttered his first words in a long while.

"How is he?"

Oin sighed at the question, not one to lie, but clearly not wanting to say the truth of the matter. Bofur's heart began to race faster at the look on the healer's face.

"The wounds he received are mostly flesh wounds," Oin said in answer to Thorin's question, "He does have two broken fingers, but the hand where the pony trod is only bruise as are his ribs. That is not to say, however, that the boy is out of the woods."

Bofur swallowed drily at this news, closing his eyes for a moment before reopening them to stare down at the unconscious brunette as he continued to listen to Oin.

"There is a very good chance Kili will succumb to fever; whether it will become high enough to threaten his life I do not know, but it would be best to try to avoid such a situation as much as we can," the healer continued, "Likewise with infection. With luck, his wounds will not become infected, but in a case like this, I would leave nothing to luck. The amount of blood he lost, judging from the table in the next room and both Dwalin and Bofur, is worrying enough and I fear he will not regain consciousness for some time, certainly not tomorrow in any case."

Oin began to rattle off a list of instructions to Thorin, instructions which Bofur listened carefully too. The toymaker wanted to help out all he could, especially since he knew that Thorin had duties other than his nephew to attend to. Oin eventually finished speaking and stepped out of the room to prepare several brews for when Kili did wake. Balin observed the scene with a grim look before nodding his head to Thorin.

"I will return tomorrow or the day after to collect those papers," he said in as kindly a voice as he could manage before bidding goodbye to the occupants of the room and exiting.

"I should return with my brother," Dwalin said soon after, not moving a muscle as he spoke, "It is late and I am sure you want to be alone."

Thorin nodded to his friend and then Dwalin too was gone, but not before leaning down to murmur a few inaudible words to Kili. Bofur found he was the only one left in the room aside from Thorin and his nephew.

"I think I'll remain, if it's all the same to you," the toymaker said, "You and Oin may need an extra pair of hands at some stage, ad my house is located on the other side of town. It is far too dark for my liking to go there now. I'll be in the other room with Oin, I'll clean up a little as well."

"Thank you," Thorin managed to mumble, shooting a grateful glance in the direction of the toymaker. Bofur, in turn, managed a small smile back in the direction of Kili's uncle.

"I'm sure he will be fine," he heard himself saying, "He is strong and stubborn."

"We will have to hope so," Thorin replied softly, stroking the brown hair splayed out on the cushion before him tenderly.

Bofur took his leave at that moment, giving the dark haired dwarf a much needed moment alone with his youngest nephew. Closing the door partially behind him so it was still easy to access, the toymaker sighed before gathering up a bowl of water and a cloth.

"These stains aren't going to clean themselves," Bofur informed himself softly, trying to muster up the motivation to get to work cleaning the blood from earlier on, but soon found he could not.

"Do you think he will be alright?" he asked as Oin drifted past. The old healer merely sighed.

"We can only hope," he replied, "We can only hope."

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