The fear of an older brother
Disclaimer: I do not own the Hobbit or anything related to it.
"Something on your mind young laddie?" asked a voice from above him. Fili glanced up and sighed before turning his head back towards his brother who was joking around with Bofur.
"I suppose you could say that," the blonde answered, right hand moving up and down as he sharpened one of his blades. It had been around a day since the ponies had run off and a while since Thorin's private lecture. Fili's ears were still burning but he still reran one line his uncle had mentioned though his head over and over.
You could both die.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Fili turned both his blue eyes back to Balin who was resting his head on his arms which were positioned on part of a rock that looked something like one of the trolls who had caught them. The similarity was remarkable.
"How do you do it?" he asked finally, regarding his own brother again. The white-bearded dwarf looked at him with an expression akin to that of confusion.
"Do what?" he inquired.
The golden-haired prince shot him a glance as he switched the sword he had been working on for is other one."Manage to be the oldest out of two brothers and not go mad with worry or frustration."
Balin contemplated this for a moment and for a short while Fili wondered if the older dwarf was actually going to answer.
"I take it this is about Kili then," Balin finally said, sitting down next to Fili as he said this.
The blonde dwarf nodded. "It's just that, as the older brother, I'm supposed to look after him which is hard when he's so-"
"Reckless?" Balin asked, butting in. Fili nodded again and the old dwarf beside him sighed. "I know the feeling," he said with a meaningful glance at his brother.
"Dwalin?" Fili asked in disbelief, unable to imagine the gruff dwarf as reckless. Stubborn maybe, but not reckless. Balin smiled as he acknowledged this question.
"Yes, Dwalin," he answered, "You wouldn't know it but he is about as reckless as they come."
Fili frowned at this, his brow creasing further as he tried to imagine Dwalin doing what Kili had done the previous night. The image failed to present itself to him, however, and the blonde was reduced to staring at the old dwarf beside him with confusion.
"If he is," he finally said. "Then I have never seen that side of him."
Balin laughed. "You have but you just didn't realise it. When him, Thorin and Thorin's younger brother, Frerin, got into trouble when they were younger and had to be rescued from it by and adult, he was usually made it worse. Not because he was a thrill seeker but because he would put himself on the line to save his friends. He has done the same for you and your brother many times over. He has a good heart, but when it comes to these situations, he lets it rule his head." Balin's tone had grown sad and somewhat frustrated with these last words, words which reminded Fili of his own heedless brother.
"But what can you do about it?" Fili asked, pausing in the sharpening of the blade in his hands for a moment. "Because Kili does the same thing. He doesn't think through what consequences his actions might have. When he ran out to face the three trolls after I went back to get the rest of the company he could have been killed! If we had of been any slower…" Fili shuddered to think what might of happened.
"But we weren't," Balin said gently, trying to calm the agitated dwarf. "And he is still here with us, alive and well. You're right in saying that he should have waited until the rest of us got there, but he thought he was doing what was best for Bilbo. In that, he was probably right as well - by the time we got there, we could have been a second too late and they could have killed him or worse and then we would have had to find another burglar."
"But look at him," Fili said, his voice a little louder than it been before but not yet loud enough to draw the attention of the others. "It's like he doesn't even realise something's wrong!"
Balin offered a small smile of reassurance before reply to the blonde.
"He probably doesn't," he told the youth before him, imparting wisdom that stemmed from a vast experience with his own younger sibling. "Dwalin is the same. I believe they think what they are doing is for the best, and afterwards they are too stubborn to see any consequences out of their actions that could impact them in particular."
"The word stubborn describes my brother accurately," Fili growled.
Balin did not lose his smile though it now bore more humour than reassurance. "He is a dwarf and stubbornness is a dwarfish trait. It has caused problems for all of us over the years." This last part was accompanied with a meaningful glance shot in Fili's general direction. The blonde ignored what his elder was implying and opened his mouth to continue speaking.
"The problem is that when he acts so recklessly it gets harder for me to protect him from any danger that might come his way."
Fili could not imagine a life without his brother, and if he could, he knew it would be empty. If his brother died, he would crash and burn in this life, unable to go on for the grief that would surely overtake him. He would be a mere shell of himself, not to mention the guilt he would feel for failing his brother in such a way.
You could both die.
"Just be thankful he knows how to defend himself fairly well and he is exceptional with a bow," he could hear Balin saying but Fili took no comfort in this.
"What if he misses a shot? I don't think fate would be kind enough to allow him a second go if an orc had a sword bared at his throat." The blonde's pessimistic attitude did not seem as if it was going to lighten up any further. Balin sighed as he saw this and waited a few moments before speaking again.
'You'll just have to believe that he can manage whatever this journey throws at him and hope that circumstance will not remove you from his side," the old dwarf said, knowing that nothing else he could say would reassure the young dwarf beside him.
"It's just that he never seems to think," the young dwarf managed to get out, pausing for a moment after this as he contemplated Kili. "I'm just worried my brother's going to get himself killed somewhere along the way," Fili admitted, lowering his head as he continued with the task of sharpening his sword, "If he could just think things through, then I would feel more at ease." Balin sighed and looked over to where his own younger sibling was sparing with Gloin.
"Truth be told," he said, "I'm worried about the same thing.