A New Life
Disclaimer: This fiction is based on the basic plot of and uses characters found in J.R.R. Tolkien's book "The Hobbit"
Thorin sighed as he sat in the small kitchen that he shared with his sister and tried to ignore Dís' agonized cries as she brought the youngest of their line into the world. He hated it. While he knew that what she gained from it would be worth it in her mind he could not stand to hear his sister in pain and sit there helplessly. But even were he to bust down the door it was not as if he could do anything to aid her. He placed his head in his hands and prayed that it would at least be a short labor.
"Uncle?" a small voice asked and he flinched away from the small hand on his arm. Instead he lifted his head and looked into the crystalline blue eyes of his tiny nephew.
"Is . . . is Mama going to go away like Papa did?" Fíli asked with tears in his eyes. "Is she going to leave us and not come back no more?" Thorin's heart broke for the little lad. He hadn't realized that his nephew would draw parallels between his father's death and his brother's birth. But he supposed that it would make sense. The boy had been sequestered in this same room while Óin fought to save his life in the very room that Dís' cries were coming from now.
"No, lad," Thorin whispered as he gathered his small nephew into his lap. "She isn't going anywhere. She's bringing someone else to us. Your mother is bringing your brother into the world."
"A brother?" Fíli asked with wide eyes.
"Most likely," Thorin said with a smile. "I suppose that it could be a sister but is will most likely be a brother."
"Then why is she . . . " he couldn't seem to find the words to describe what his mother was doing but a pained scream from Dís filled the space and made it unnecessary.
"That is the way these things are," Thorin replied. "It was the same with you. And she survived that."
"It's where I come from?" Fíli asked in the innocent way of a child.
"Yes, lad," Thorin replied sadly as the memories came back to him. "It's where you came from."
He had sat in the same kitchen with Gíli—Dís' late-husband—while Dís labored to bring his son into the world. It had been a nerve-wracking evening but eventually Dís' screams subsided and they heard intead the wailing of a child. Only moments later, a midwife emerged carrying a squirming bundle of blankets that she set into Gíli's waiting arms.
Thorin watched as the blonde dwarf's green eyes widened and his face lit with wonder at the sight of the small dwarfling in his arms. "Thorin," he had breathed, "you have to see him. He's beautiful. Dís . . . she did a wonderful job." Gíli had taken a step towards him and bent to allow his seated brother-in-law to gaze into the bundle. Thorin felt his heart sink. The sleeping babe had a full head of golden hair . . . the same color as Frerin's had been.
With a hand that shook he reached out and gently touched the downy hair. "He's blonde," Thorin breathed.
"Amazing, isn't it?" Gíli beamed, unable to see Thorin's pain through his own elation. "I never thought that he would be blonde, not with you and Dís having such dark hair. I hoped for light brown at the most but . . . he's blonde!"
"My . . . my brother was a blonde," Thorin managed to say. "Nearly the same shade. I wonder what color his eyes will be." He looked at his brother-in-law and felt a sudden vehement desire that the boy would take after his father when it came to his eyes. He wasn't sure that he could endure it if the boy had Frerin and Dís' eyes.
Almost as if the lad had heard his question, his eyes opened and though their gaze was unfocused, Thorin was both shocked and pleased to see crystalline blue eyes staring out from his tiny red face.
"Blue!" Gíli had crowed. "His eyes will be blue."
"It is not guaranteed," Thorin said with a smile. He had forgotten that Gíli was the youngest of his siblings and had never been around children this small before. "Dís' eyes were blue when she was born. They slowly darkened as she grew older. We won't know if they will remain blue for a few months."
"I hope they do," Gíli said smiling down at his newborn son. "They truly are quite striking." Thorin said nothing as Gíli turned and walked into the room his wife was in but he could only hope the same. The lad's eyes had to remain blue. His sanity demanded it.
He was pulled out of his memories by a sharp tug on one of his braids. He looked down in shock to see Fíli was still in his lap. The blue eyes he had looked into five years ago staring into his own as the boy wiped a tear from Thorin's cheek that he hadn't realized was there.
"Uncle," Fíli mumbled holding up the tear for him to see.
"It's nothing, Fíli," Thorin replied looking away. Before the boy could argue there was a high-pitched wail from the other room, a cry too high-pitched to have been made by Dís, followed by the more standard cries of a babe.
"Come," Thorin said shifting Fíli to the floor, "You have a brother to meet." While they would not go into the birthing room until they were invited, Thorin and Fíli moved into the hallway that led to Dís' room to wait for the midwife to bring out the newest member of their family. She soon emerged, a bundle of blankets in her arms. It was the same woman that had delivered Fíli and Thorin held his breath as he took the child from her.
"A boy," she said with a smile. "Another strong lad for the line of Durin, my King." Thorin nodded to her as he gently uncovered the child's head. He breathed a sigh of relief as he was met with a head of chestnut hair the same shade as Dís'.
"What is his name?" Thorin asked. "I am sure that Dís had one chosen."
"Kíli," the midwife replied. "She named him Kíli."
"May we . . . "
"It might be best to let her rest," the midwife said slowly. "I am sorry, my King. I just fear that you and the lad . . ."
"Do not worry," Thorin assured her. "I will just introduce Kíli to his brother and you can take him back to his mother." She nodded and Thorin knelt to allow his five-year-old nephew to peer into the bundle in his arms. Fíli looked at the baby and then up at Thorin.
"He doesn't look like me," Fíli said simply. "He's all . . . red."
Thorin had to laugh. That was nearly what he had said about his own brother. "He is," The king agreed. "But that will fade. He may never look like you, however. You took more after your father"—and my brother, Thorin though—"and from the looks of it, Kíli will take after your mother. He may have your eyes. Our eyes."
"I hope so," Fíli said with a small frown. "If he's mine I want people to be able to know it."
"They'll know it, lad," Thorin replied with a smile. "It won't matter if you match. They'll know. Would you like to hold him?" Fíli nodded and Thorin gently placed the baby into his nephew's arms, keeping his own hands on Fíli's small arms to aid him in supporting the weight and insure that he would not drop his brother. As soon as Fíli touched him, Kíli's eyes flew open. They were a deep blue and Thorin knew at that moment that they would darken to brown before he was grown. He only hoped that Fíli would not be too disappointed.
Seconds after they had opened, Kíli's eyes closed once more and his face screwed up. Thorin flinched knowing what was coming before it happened. Suddenly Kíli's piercing wail filled the air and Fíli rapidly pulled his arms free to cover his ears.
"He's loud!" Fíli complained as Thorin handed Kíli back to the midwife to be returned to Dís.
"Aye," Thorin agreed. "And he will only get louder. You'd best get used to it, lad." He didn't miss the way his nephew's lips twisted in thought as he watched the midwife leave with his brother. Though Thorin didn't ask, he wondered what it was that Fíli was thinking. He only hoped that his nephew would not be overly jealous of his baby brother.
Thorin needn't have worried. While Fíli was a bit jealous in the first few days when it seemed that the entirety of Ered Luin filed through their little home to get a glimpse of Thorin's second heir, it soon faded. All of their visitors took time to speak kind words to Fíli, or to ruffle his hair or to tell of their memories of the births of their own siblings. Fíli was soon beaming under the praise and sitting on the bed next to his mother and Kíli and petting his baby brother gently. It was then that Thorin knew that they would be fine.
It was a certainty that was only solidified when Kíli began to grow and focus on things. His favorite thing in the world to look at was Fíli's golden hair. While he would look at the bits of sliver holding his mother's braids or Thorin's, it was Fíli's hair that he reached for. When Kíli began to totter around, it was not his mother's skirts that he clung to, but rather his brother's arm. If Fíli went somewhere, Kíli was behind him, first on legs that wobbled and then on more steady feet.
By the time Kíli was a year old, Thorin knew that he had been correct: Kíli had Dís' eyes. It saddened him to see how little of Gíli was in his youngest nephew. He knew that it hurt Dís, but he couldn't help but be thankful. Seeing Kíli was like looking into a window to the past and seeing Dís at that age. Just as watching Fíli was like seeing Frerin as a child again. He hadn't realized just how much they looked alike until Fíli began to grow. As a baby, the similarities could be overlooked. All babies looked similar up to a point … but the larger he grew, the more Thorin saw it. And while Fíli still looked at him with love and devotion, he knew how quickly that could change.