Between a bear and a dark place

Chapter 28

Kili twisted and turned in discomfort on the bed, his right arm feeling as though it had been stuck in a forge and left to catch fire in the multitude of flames beneath it. From the corner of his eye the young dwarf could see his brother eyeing his uncle questioningly, pleadingly. The brunette had no doubt the look was about him.

"Isn't there something you can do?"

The desperate voice belonged to his mother, someone who Kili would give anything to be in their embrace. He would even be willing to dreg up the last of his strength and push through the scorching fire that engulfed him in order to seek comfort from perhaps the one being in all of Middle Earth who could hold him and make everything alright. He did not have the capability to perform such a feat however, let alone mutter the words that he needed his brother to hear.

I'll be fine. Even the youth himself didn't believe the words.

A hand came to smooth his forehead, Kili leaning into the familiar strokes. They anchored him where he needed to be, where he wanted to be, puling him out of his crippling pain ever so briefly. The rhythmic strokes continued on convincing Kili to close his eyes for a moment.

And then the young dwarf was being shaken away again by the same hands, hands that belonged to his uncle.

"Stay awake for me lad," came the dwarf's deep voice. Kili merely blinked his bleary eyes, groaning out loud as the pain that had been banished from before came rushing back.

The brunette felt himself being propped up, golden locks waving in front of his face before being flicked back as he was adjusted against a chest. Another, Oin, began to grasp at his arm and the bandages wrapping it. Kili gritted his teeth in pain as the healer removed the cloth from his pained limb, the air a weird sensation against his exposed flesh. Then Oin applied what was the first of a salve and Kili found himself digging his weakened fingers into his brothers arm, the pain from his own arm intensifying to an almost unbearable height.

"It's alright. I've got you. Just hold on."

Kili moaned at the words, his eyes flickering halfway between open and shut before they decided to give up altogether, his face seeking refuge in the warm cloth of his brother's shirt. The voice above him continued to speak, but it was drowned out by the rushing blood in his ears and the feeling of rough fingers deliberately smoothing a grain like paste over the already aching wounds on his arms. Kili grunted in resistance as his face was turned from his brother, chest exposed to receive the same treatment as his arms had.

"Almost done."

The young brunette had no idea who had said those words – Oin, his brother, his uncle – all were possibilities. His sweaty hands were just as confused, unsure whether they were clutching the fabric of his brother's shirt or the sheets on the bed. The times when they were clutching at the bed, other hands – presumably his mother's, for the hands that gripped his were feminine – were kind enough to move and hold them in position. At one point the young boy chose to open his eyes a fraction. He could see his mother's worried face, his uncle close behind her and the top of Oin's head. He could see another larger figure hovering in the doorway, but his mind was too frayed to recongise who it was.

Kili closed his eyes as he cringed back into his brother, a sharp stinging sensation from the deep but sewn up gashes in his chest causing a wetness to obscure the surface of his eyes. The last strange pull of bandages against his skin brought an end to the uncalled for abuse to the youth's wounds. A light tap on his cheek pulled his eyes opened once again.

Oin murmured in thought as he pulled his face away from that of his patient.

"Hey nadadith," Fili whispered in his brother's ear, "You're alright." Kili allowed his head to loll against the blonde's shoulder, the corner of his mouth tweaking wearily. The expression quickly twisted into a frown however, a bout of pain flowing up from his waist and fingertips to his head.

The brunette allowed his eyes to drift shut once more, a small whoosh of air escaping his lips. Something was pressed to his lips and a liquid slid down his throat, among other tastes that of crushed leaves lingering in his mouth. Kili felt himself being lowered by two sets of hands, one more so acting as comfort rather than support. There were footsteps as someone shuffled out the room, more as another moved closer in order to place their lips against his forehead.

The fevered youth writhed where he laid. "Amad?"

"Hush now, my son. All will be fine. You will be better soon, but for now you must rest." Then his mother's presence was gone, fading out of the room like the dwarf before her had.

Kili felt the whiskers of his uncle brush against his cheek next, followed closely by the newly sprouted ones of his brother. Both presences then drew away. The two dwarves spoke and an agreement was made. The last thing Kili heard was his another pair of footsteps move away after one last hand brushed aimlessly at his hair.

Now left to his own devices, the brunette allowed most of himself to still, things beginning to become dull and distant to him, the foremost being his own mind. Kili exhaled another rattled breath through his lips, not wanting to lose control of his mind. Reigning in his focus, the youth allowed the rubbing of his fingertips against the sheet he laid on to take over his path of thinking. For a long while that was all he focused on before moving out to include the pinpricks of pain he still felt along his wounded flesh. Again he waited to broaden his field of focus, this time including his breathing and the up down motion of his expending and retracting chest. The third time Kili took a mental step to further his area of concentration the subtle sounds of movement on either side of him pierced his mind.

It took a much longer period of time until Kili was finally able to focus on the presences either side of him.

The first emitted a sense of deep mourning and loss, loss not so much aimed at his predicament as it was the sheer hopelessness of the entire situation. This presence was silent, taking up only the space it needed for its material figure, but it also spoke volumes in a way Kili knew only one dwarf could.

On his other side the young brunette could sense another presence, this one larger than that of its counterpart. The presence, unlike the other, was not silent and from it emitted a string of words repeated over and over until they began to bore their way into the very core of Kili's mind.

"I'm sorry."

Kili had no idea what the presence was sorry for. The youth took a moment to try and find the answer among his clouded thoughts, yet even in the brief moment he did so he began to lose the grip he had so methodically put into place on his own conciseness. So it was that Kili retreated from the matter, leaving himself in bewilderment in order to continue absorbing whatever it was that was around him, to continue to remain awake despite his lack of vision. His efforts were futile however, the youth's mind slowly beginning to unravel from his moment of lapse in careful focus purely on what was physically real.

Kili's eyelids felt like lead though they were already closed shut. His entire body seemed to have fallen victim to the pull of the oblivion, yet despite his numbed sense of feeling, the brunette could not seem to shake off his final grip on reality. The words from before still echoed around in his mind, keeping the brown haired dwarf where it was that he wanted to be. Reality, however, was able to shake its grip on the youth, and as such sent Kili plummeting into dreams that were more so memories than dreams.


Nadaith – Little brother


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