Even though she wanted to go rail at her brother for what had clearly occurred with Fíli, Dís stayed with her children while they finished their food. Only once that was done and they began playing did she go to search for her brother and attempt to learn what his excuse was this time. Making sure that the children were occupied in the main room, she walked down the hall to Thorin's door. She was not the least bit surprised when her knock garnered no response.
"Thorin, I'm coming in," she warned before taking the knob in her hand and opening the door. She was also not surprised to see that he hadn't bothered to light a candle when he had come in. With a sigh, she crossed to his desk and picked up the flint to light the candle that was sitting there. Even if he didn't want it, a bit of light would do him good. It was only with the aid of the light that she realized that the lump on the bed that she had taken for her brother was actually nothing more than rumpled bedding. That did surprise her. She had been certain that he would be hiding here.
With a confused hum she blew out the light and replaced it on his desk before going once more in search of Thorin. When she had looked everywhere that she could think of, there was only one place left—as she hadn't heard the door open—and that was the boys' room. She poked her head around the door, halfway expecting not to find him there and felt herself jump a bit at the sight of him sitting on the edge of their bed staring at nothing.
She nearly wanted to sob as she thought through what might have happened in that room that evening. She knew from experience that Thorin was capable of saying quite cruel things when he was in one of these moods, the turmoil he felt pouring out of him before he could stop it. With Fíli already so delicate and insecure . . . she felt panic stir in her stomach over just what Thorin might have said to him. Her mind was already whirling as she tried to figure out a way to convince him that Thorin hadn't meant any of it without explaining their dark past and just how broken it had left Thorin to her child.
"Thorin?" she said, trying to keep her voice level. "Brother?" He didn't stir at her voice. He showed no sign that he had heard her at all. "No," she muttered. It was rapidly growing clearer to her that this was one of the bad ones. The ones that sometimes took days to bring him back to himself and even then it could take weeks for him to be normal. She felt horrible for thinking it, but the only thought that she had was that this was not an appropriate time for Thorin to do this and she couldn't help but resent him a bit for it. Her only consolation was that, thanks to the large job that had just been completed, Thorin had no need to leave the house for some time.
Pushing back her own feelings of frustration, Dís walked across the room and knelt before her brother, placing her hands on face. Normally, she wouldn't have done it. Startling her brother had never been a good plan and was less of one when he left her like this, but she knew from experience that he was so far gone within himself that a simple touch would never startle him. Not now.
"Thorin, I need you to look at me," she said, her tone firm and leaving no room for negotiation. "Hey, look at me." She wanted to look away as his unfocused gaze met hers but she held her ground. She had his attention, now she just needed to keep it.
"You need to get up," she said simply. He shook his head.
"No," he muttered. "Too tired."
"You have to," she said standing and taking his hands in hers."You can't sleep here. Come. I'll take you to your room. You can sleep there." This time he nodded, allowing her to guide him out the door and down the hall. As she did so, Dís prayed to the Maker that the boys would stay in the main room. This was the last thing Fíli—or Kíli for that matter—needed to see.
Thankfully they made it to his room without being seen. Once inside, she seated him on the bed and began the arduous process of removing the more cumbersome articles of his clothing before she allowed him to lay down. It was a sign of just how bad this turn was when he didn't even protest her handling him like a child or even bother to close his eyes or attempt to get under the blankets that were piled behind him. He didn't even try to arrange himself more comfortably, though she knew that was not how her brother usually slept.
He didn't resist her when she moved his limbs into a more comfortable position. He didn't even look at her. Not wanting him to be cold, Dís covered her brother, tucking him in gently before stroking his hair in an attempt to get him to look at her once more. As disturbing as the emptiness in his eyes was, the passivity and apathy was worse.
"Thorin?" Her smile when he looked at her was genuine, it was a good sign that he still looked at her when spoken to, he didn't always. "I need to check on the boys," she said. "I'll be back later." He didn't respond and his eyes shifted away from hers but she knew that she had been heard.
"I'll be back," she repeated pressing a kiss to his forehead and standing to leave. "Do . . . do you want the candle lit?" There was no response, but then she had expected none. "I'm just going to light it," she said. "If it bothers you, just blow it out." She also knew that he wouldn't even if it did.
As soon as his door closed behind her, she fisted her hands in her hair and drew a shuddering breath. She knew that it was wrong of her to be so frustrated with him over this, it was a common reaction to losing a loved one and they had both lost more than their fair share, but it had been so long since the loss. She felt resentment stir within her that Thorin thought that he got to fall apart over nothing while she had to be the one there to pick up the pieces as well as keep herself intact for her boys. At the thought of her boys she tried to push down her emotions and get back to them before they came looking for her and found her like this. She bit back a curse as she realized that she had taken too long.
"Mother?" Fíli asked walking up to her and taking her hand, his brow wrinkling as his clear blue eyes saw far more than she wanted to.
"I'm fine, Darling," she lied. "I just . . . Fíli, can you tell me what exactly you and your uncle spoke about this evening?"
"Nothing really," he answered. "I was crying and he came in and . . . the only thing that really got said was that I was sorry for breaking the quill."
"And what did your uncle say?" Dís pressed. There was no way that simply talking about a quill would drive Thorin to this. To her knowledge, none of his memories of their late family could have been triggered by a quill. That conversation didn't explain this. But there was no doubt in her mind that Fíli was being truthful.
"That it wasn't important and he wasn't mad," Fíli said. "Then he told me to go eat and that he wasn't hungry. Why?"
"I was just curious, Darling," Dís promised, petting his cheek in an attempt to wipe the confusion off his face. "Why don't you run along and play with Kíli? I'll be along shortly." Fíli nodded and did as she had instructed.
Dís stood beside Thorin's door until she was certain that Fíli was gone. Only then did she allow herself to sink to the floor with her head in her hands fighting back tears of her own. Not for the first time in her life she wished that fate had been kinder to her and her family. Also not for the first time, she wondered just what her ancestors had done to offend Mahal to the point that he would curse the line of Durin so.
The sound of something breaking in the main room and the resulting squabble broke her from her dark thoughts. With a smirk she stood, wiping a hand across her face to remove the stray tears that had fallen before schooling her features into something resembling disapproval, even when all she wanted to do was smile. When she came around the corner it was to Fíli pinning his brother on the rug lecturing him about throwing things in the house. Though, as she looked around the room and saw the chaos her sons had wrought she wondered if being told no to throwing things indoors was the only lecture they needed.
"What happened here?" she asked, once more hiding a smirk as they both jumped at her unexpected arrival.
"We were playing and broke the dishes, " Fíli said just as Kíli squeaked, "nothing," and tried to squeeze out of his brother's grip once more.
"So it was a group effort, was it?" she asked, knowing from just how desperate her youngest was to escape that the answer would be a no. Kíli had done it and Fíli was just trying to take some of the blame. Fíli's gaze shifted, unwilling to lie to his mother and unwilling to tell on his brother. Kíli refused to look at her.
"Kíli," she said, kneeling down and gesturing at him with one finger to encourage him to come to her. He squeaked a bit but when Fíli released him he walked towards her, stopping just out of reach and looking up at her with repentant brown eyes through his messy bangs.
"Kíli, who broke the dishes?" Dís asked. "Did Fíli do it?" He said nothing, but shook his head, his embarrassment clear. "Did you?" He nodded.
"Didn't mean to," he muttered. "I was just playing and . . . they broke."
"And you did nothing to cause them to break?" she asked. He shifted uncomfortably and looked towards the dishes, where a ball was clearly visible amidst the wreckage.
"Are you supposed to throw things indoors, Kíli?"
He shook his head, his eyes never leaving her face as he tried to gage just how much trouble he was actually in. She didn't seem particularly mad, but she also wasn't smiling.
"Can you tell me why you are not allowed to throw things in the house?" Dís asked, knowing that Kíli knew the answer as he had heard it perhaps a million times, though this was the first time that er predictions had actually come true.
"'cause things get broked," Kíli muttered. "But I've done it before and nothing ever broke before."
"That's not the point, Kíli," she sighed. Trust Kíli to be the one to tell her that it was fine for him to break the rules as he had done it before and nothing bad had happened. "Something broke this time. Can you tell me why that's bad?"
"Because things cost money," Kíli said, looking at her sadly.
"Yes, things cost money," Dís agreed. "Now, go get ready for your bath. I'll clean up the mess and be along shortly."
"I . . . I can do it," Kíli offered. "I broked it. I'll clean it."
"No," she replied. "Just do as I said." While she was touched that Kíli was offering to clean up his mess, she didn't want to let him. The last thing she needed was him cutting himself, even if it would teach him a lesson. No, it would be better if she cleaned up the shards this time. Nodding sadly, Kíli began moving towards the door, Fíli right on his heels.
"Fíli," she called. "Stay with me, please." When Fíli stopped, Kíli stopped as well. "Not you," Dís said. "You go get ready for your bath." She felt a bit guilty at just how confused Kíli looked at being separated from Fíli but then she glanced at the broken dishes and felt her guilt evaporate. Alone time was just what her youngest needed. If Fíli went she knew that he would lecture Kíli and that would make him defensive but alone, perhaps his own conscience would do it for her.
"Go on, out with you," she said sharply. "When I get there, you'd better be ready to go into the tub." She left the threat hanging, knowing that his own imagination would come up with more interesting punishments than she ever could. She couldn't help the laugh that bubbled up her throat as he squeaked again and sprinted down the hall to the bathroom. Not bothering to hide her smirk she turned to clean up the broken crockery.
"I'm sorry, Mother," Fíli muttered once his brother was gone.
"Why?" she asked. "Did you throw the ball?"
"Then I don't need your apology," Dís replied, turning to smile at him. "Kíli is old enough to be responsible for his own actions. If he chose to disobey that is not your fault. You can't be held responsible for everything Kíli does, Darling." Fíli nodded, looking unconvinced before coming over and trying to help her clean up.
"I have this under control, Fíli," she said brushing his hands aside. "It's just a little mess. I can clean it."
"I wanted you to keep me company," Dís said. "I missed you and your brother today and would have kept Kíli as well but—"
"But he's in trouble," Fíli completed.
"Exactly," Dís replied with a smile. "However, neither you or I am so why should we be punished?" Fíli hummed and leaned against her side, still feeling a bit shaken over the way the day had played out and seeking comfort. Still smiling, she reached down and stroked his hair. It always amazed her just how perceptive her eldest was to what she actually needed from him. As he leaned into the touch, she realized that perhaps he had needed this closeness just as much as she had.