Disclaimer: I do not own the Hobbit.
This story is a companion to 'Between A Bear And A Dark Place' (between chapters 18 and 19 of the story).
Fili breathed a sigh of relief as the gates of Erid Lurin loomed before him. The blonde dwarf was anxious to see his brother after having been away for so long. Beside him his mother also looked relieved, the female dwarf bending forward to pet her mount on the head as she allowed herself to smile.
"Do you think Kili will be waiting for us?" Fili asked as he pulled his own pony to a halt. The guard in front of him moved forward to rap his knuckles on the gate. As he did so, Dis sighed.
"If he hasn't gotten himself into trouble," she replied. Fili bit his lip and tried not to grin. It would be just like his brother to have somehow managed to injure himself during the time he was away. It would be a cause for worry save for the fact that most of the time the injuries Kili gained were superficial.
"Still, it would have to take Durin himself to keep Kili from being at those gates," Fili said half to himself, smiling broadly at the memory of all the times his words had been proven true by his younger brother.
Before the youth and his three mounted companions, the gates swung open. Several guards appeared at each side, one standing a little aloof from the others with a grim expression dressing his face. Fili strained in his saddle looking for his unruly sibling among the faces that greeted him.
"After you," the dwarf behind the young blonde said. Fili gave him a small nod before urging his steed forward and through the open metal jaws with a kick of the heels. As his pony walked on beneath him, the youth continued to look for Kili's familiar face. Beside him his mother did the same.
Disappointment began to swirl in the pits of Fili's stomach as it became clear that his brother was nowhere to be seen.
"Do not worry. He's probably waiting for you at home," the blonde's mother said as she drew her mount up close enough to pat her eldest son lightly on the shoulder. Fili smiled in appreciation of the gesture.
"Lady Dis?" a voice asked off to the side. Both Fili and his mother turned to find themselves staring at the grim faced dwarf from before.
"Yes?" Dis said, raising her eyebrows slightly as Fili fidgeted with his hands, eager to return home and lay eyes on his brother again.
"Thorin Oakenshield gave me a message to pass onto you upon your arrival."
"And what is this message?" Fili heard his mother ask. The blue eyed dwarf felt a shiver run up his spine as the solemn faced dwarf glanced at him before turning to reply to his mother.
"It is about your son, Kili," he said almost blankly, "He was in a hunting accident several days ago and has not yet recovered."
In a hunting accident….
Fili's face blanched.
"How bad was the accident?" Dis asked beside the blonde, the female dwarf managing to maintain her nerve. The dwarf in front of her seemed to bite his lip.
"Well, it wasn't so much of an accident as an attack."
"Tell me what happened to my son." The iciness in his mother's voice surprised Fili greatly.
"He was attacked by a bear," the dwarf managed to get out. Fili's face turned from white to the ashen grey of colour of a corpse.
"Where is he?" the blonde's mother snapped beside him, a frantic worry now colouring her voice. Fili's knuckles were white around his reins.
"At your house," came the answer, the last word hanging in the dusty air as both Fili and Dis spurred their steeds into a half gallop.
"He was attacked by a bear…by a bear… a bear…."
The words were on a loop in the young dwarf's head, and for all he tried Fili just could not shake them loose.
"…attacked by a bear…."
Was his brother grievously injured? Was he even still alive? Hundreds of possible scenarios of what could have taken place ran through Fili's mind of their own accord, none of them ending well for the Kili in his imagination.
The youth was so caught up in his own thoughts that he almost missed the fact that both he and his mother had arrived at their house. Without further ado Fili swung himself down from his pony, barely pausing to tie its reins to a rail before he crashed through the door with Dis close behind. Thorin's head rose from where he had been leaning it against his hands.
"Kili." It was of no surprise to Fili that his brother's name was the first word his mother spoke. The blonde could see it was of no surprise to his uncle either, Thorin just returning to his previous position.
"He's alive and healing," Fili's uncle informed them, "But he was torn up pretty bad by the bear. Lost a lot of blood before developing a fever. He briefly woke yesterday."
Some of the worry was alleviated in Fili's chest as his uncle's words lifted the dark shadow hovering over him. This was only replaced with further anxiety as Thorin went further into detail about his brother's predicament. Blood loss, fever – Fili had a strong urge to check that Kili was still alive himself.
"What happened?" the youth asked in an almost desperate tone, the youth trying to gain even a remote understanding of what had happed to his brother. The blonde watched as his uncle sighed and rubbed one hand down his face.
"He was hunting with Dwalin three days ago when his horse got spooked and threw him," Thorin began, "He barely had time to get his feet under him when the bear attacked. Dwalin managed to drive it off and get him back before he was killed, but it has been on and off since then. He has only just began to show any real positive signs of-"
"Why didn't I hear about this immediately?" Dis' voice was enraged.
"You were travelling back from the village," Thorin snapped back, "I couldn't send someone to meet you. There was also an incident with orcs two days ago, and between that and trying to assess the situation with Kili-"
Fili didn't hear the rest of his uncle's sentence, nor his mother's response. He was too focused on getting to and through the door to the room he shared with his brother.
"…barely managed…feet back under him…before…killed…on and off…."
Shaking his head clear, the blonde pushed open the door, slowly at first and then with more haste as he laid eyes upon the form of his younger brother.
"Kili…" Fili breathed, the word inaudible even to himself. Brown eyes blinked up at him and teeth flashed a small smile as he crouched beside the bed. "Kili, what have you gone and gotten yourself into now?"