Alternate Ending to Chapter 33 of Trust Me But Don't Thank Me Yet
Disclaimer: This fiction is based on the basic plot of and uses characters found in J.R.R. Tolkien's book "The Hobbit"
Suddenly, Bilbo's voice carried over the rest of the din, a simple word; "Thorin!" Though they both looked that direction, they could not see the others, just more smoke.
The sound was immediately followed by a sharp cry of pain from his uncle that was silenced nearly as quickly. Fíli closed his eyes at the sound. He knew what it meant. The time had come. Thorin had done his part and now the rest of it fell to him. Thorin was dead by his own hand or the blade of orcs. The how of it really didn't matter because if Thorin had fallen, the line had failed and the end was here.
"Kíli," Fíli whispered, the tears he was forcing back making his voice abnormally hoarse. He hoped that his brother thought it was a reaction to the smoke that was surrounding them. It was everything that he could do to not to sob as Kíli turned his wide brown eyes on him at the sound of his name. He was disgusted with what he was about to do, and with Kíli staring at him there was no way that he was ever going to be able to accomplish it. His eyes clearly begging Fíli to make it better, to tell him that their uncle was fine and that everything was going to be fine; the very things that Fíli could not do at this time. Fíli's only consolation was that it would all be over soon.
"Cl . . . close your eyes," Fíli ordered shakily, attempting to smile as he did. Though they narrowed, it wasn't in accordance with the order, but rather in suspicion. Kíli had seen how pathetic his brother's smile was and knew from experience that Fíli was up to something.
"Why?" Kíli asked slowly, with a gesture at the battle that they could still hear even if they could no longer see it. "There's a battle out there, Fíli! I can't close my eyes so that you can . . . I don't even know what you're wanting to do, but I can't . . . no. I won't."
"It's not like you can see anything anyway," Fíli snapped back his disgust for what he was about to do making his temper sharp before he forced it back down. This wasn't the time for fighting. They were both about to die. He didn't want his last words to his brother to be an argument. Especially as he would never make it to the afterlife to make up with Kíli. He wanted to be remembered fondly, if nothing else. Even if no one would mourn him, he couldn't stand the thought that Kíli would hate him or hate himself for what Fíli had been willing to sacrifice for his sake.
"Please, Kee," Fíli whispered, the tone fragile. "Just . . . just close them. For me. Just trust me. Please. Just trust me this one last time." Something about the desperation in his brother's tone spoke to him and Kíli found that he couldn't resist Fíli. Not over something so silly as this. Not when there was still a possibility that they were to die.
Instead of arguing, he nodded, his suspicion over his brother's recent melancholy and conversation with their uncle still strong but not strong enough to prevent it. He jumped at the feeling of Fíli's fingers in his hair and his brother's lips against his forehead and his eyes flew open of their own accord. Though this wasn't the first time that Fíli had kissed his forehead, there was something about it that he didn't like. It was almost as if there had been a sense of finality to that action.
"Fíli?" he breathed, his voice shaky and apprehension beginning to fill his gut as he realized why that kiss had felt so familiar. That was the same way their mother had said goodbye to them. Just like Fíli, she had spoken no words, she had just pressed a kiss to their brows and sent them on their way. Surely Fíli wasn't giving up and . . . Kíli shut that thought off. His brother would never commit suicide and leave him to face the orcs alone. Fíli wasn't a coward.
"Hush," Fíli whispered, stroking through his brother's wild hair for the last time. It seemed silly the sheer number of times that Fíli had been jealous of it in the last couple of days. Of just how many times he had wished for that dark mop of hair rather than his own blonde strands. It almost seemed petty now. When he pulled back, his baby brother's panicked eyes hit him like a physical blow.
"Eyes closed, Kee," he reminded gently, carefully placing his right hand over them, the pressure just enough that he could feel that he was touching Kíli but not enough to make his broken hand scream in protest. As quietly as he could, he drew one of his longest daggers in his left hand. It will be quick, he promised himself. Right between his ribs and into his heart. He won't feel it. The weapon's so sharp he won't feel it. He took a deep shuddering breath to steady himself, his own eyes closed. He knew that if he waited any longer he would never be able to do it.
"Kíli, always remember that I loved you," he whispered, his voice lost in the screams of panic surrounding them. He took one final deep breath before he moved, plunging the dagger into Kíli's flesh. He felt a sob tear its way up his throat as he felt the dagger slide along one of his brother's ribs, the position just a bit too high. At Kíli's startled cry and attempt to move away from the stabbing pain, Fíli uncovered his eyes and wrapped his arm around behind his brother to hold Kíli still and keep him from making it hurt more than it had to by squirming.
"I'm sorry, Kíli," Fíli sobbed into his brother's hair as Kíli fought against him. "I'm so sorry, Brother. I just . . . I can't let them hurt you. I swore I would never let them touch you and this is the only way I-I can k-keep that p-promise." His only reply was a sob and a gurgling breath and he knew in that moment that not only had he been a bit too high, he hadn't even managed to hit his target. The dagger hadn't been long enough. All it had managed to do was puncture his brother's lung, not his heart. This wasn't the quick death he had promised himself that he would give Kíli. If he didn't do something about it, Kíli was going to die slowly as he drowned in his own blood.
With a sob he pulled the dagger free, trying to ignore the way Kíli jerked in pain at the removal and pulled back to place it against his brother's throat. Before he could do it, Kíli's eyes captured his own, pain and betrayal making the usually bright orbs dull and yet piercing.
"Just . . . just tell me . . . tell me why," Kíli demanded, his breathing shallow and his tone barely audible over the din. "Do you ha-hate me so . . . much, then?"
"No! I. . . I don't hate you. I love you but they . . . they're going to . . . they'll kill you, Kee," Fíli said, pleading with his eyes for his brother to understand. Kíli's eyes closed as a shudder of pain wracked his body. "I couldn't let that happen."
"So . . . so you're going to do it for them?" Kíli panted out, his voice smaller and more broken that Fíli had ever heard it. Where he had been pushing against Fíli only moments before, now his shaking hands were clinging to his brother as he began to weaken from the blood pouring from the wound in his chest. He was already feeling dizzy from lack of air. No matter how he tried, he couldn't seem to catch his breath.
"You have to understand," Fíli whispered, his voice thick with tears as he cradled his brother against his chest so that he didn't have to see the accusation or pain in Kíli's eyes. "I . . . I couldn't let them hurt you. Not again. I . . . I'm sorry." He could feel Kíli beginning to go limp against him and lowered them both to the ground so that his brother's shaking legs no longer had to attempt to support him.
"What about you?" Kíli muttered, his speech beginning to garble. It was only then that Fíli looked down and realized just how much blood they were kneeling in and wearing. He had been wrong. He had punctured Kíli's heart, just as he had broken it.
"Don't worry about me," Fíli replied nuzzling Kíli's beardless cheek feeling sadness wash through him that Kíli would never have the chance to grow a true beard. Or find love. He had taken that from his brother. While it was better than the alternative, it was still cruel.
"Th-they'll hurt you . . . too," Kíli panted, his head lulling unto Fíli's shoulder. "Don't . . . don't want that." He could feel himself beginning to go cold. He'd heard that happened when you died. He'd also heard that you quit feeling pain, but that wasn't true. His chest ached. It felt like someone was squeezing his heart and sitting on his ribs all at the same time. And Fíli had done this to him. Even with his brother's reasoning, he couldn't help but feel betrayed.
"I'll take care of it," Fíli promised. "Don't worry. They won't hurt me."
"No," Kíli sobbed, realizing at last what Thorin and Fíli had agreed to. What Thorin's cry of pain had meant. "No." He was already facing an eternity without his uncle but the idea of an eternity without his brother didn't bear considering. Not even after what Fíli had done. Not when there was another way for this to end.
"G-give . . . let me . . . " Kíli paused, both to try to get enough air to say what he wanted to and to try to think through how to do it, but he didn't need to finish. Fíli knew what his brother wanted and he was horrified.
"No," Fíli said, scandalized at what Kíli was suggesting. He couldn't let Kíli have that on his conscience. He wasn't worth it. He wasn't worth Kíli having to forever have the memory of feeling his brother's blood coat his hands.
"Give me the knife," Kíli repeated more firmly, opening eyes that refused to focus properly and attempting to stare down his brother. It was clear to him that Fíli wanted to die and if it had to happen, he would not let his brother be banned from the afterlife. Seeing the determination in Kíli's too pale face, Fíli laid his brother gently on the ground and tore at the ties holding Thorin's armor against him. Setting it aside, he lifted Kíli back into his arms before closing his brother's nerveless fingers around the hilt and placing the tip on the same place that he had pierced Kíli.
"Not . . . not there," Kíli breathed before moving the knife forward along Fíli's chest with a grunt of pain. "It'll . . . quicker here." Fíli waited until he felt Kíli increase the pressure and break the skin. Only then did he take his brother's wrist in his own and exert the pressure that Kíli was unable to.
His body tensed as the knife passed through muscle and ligament. He couldn't believe just how much it actually hurt, but he didn't stop. It was only when he felt his heart spasm as the blade pierced it and his own blood flowed out to cover his hand that he gave into the urge to pull the metal from his flesh. Though he knew that it was useless, he couldn't stop himself from placing a hand over the wound and trying to staunch the warm fluid pouring from the gash. Knowing he wasn't long for this world, he laid himself on the ground, using his remaining strength to position his brother against him, just as they had always slept. If he ignored the way his brother shivered and the way his own body convulsed in pain he could almost pretend that this was any normal night.
"Fee . . . can-can't . . . breathe," Kíli sobbed.
"Shh," he whispered in reply, raising a blood coated hand stroke Kíli's sweaty hair from his face, leaving bloody streaks across the too pale skin in his wake. "Do . . . don't . . . talk."
"Fíli," the brunette said, ignoring his brother's order. "There . . . there was s-still h-hope. Di-didn't have to come to . . . this." Fíli said nothing but tried to pretend that Kíli's labored breathing was anything other than what it was. It took less time than he had believed it would, but he lost the ability to stroke Kíli's hair or offer him any kind of comfort. It was only seconds later that he heard his brother gasp and felt Kíli go limp against him.
"Kee?" he whispered, trying to will his heavy lids open and see if Kíli was still alive, even thought he knew the truth. His brother was dead.
Just as he had expected there was no reply from his brother. Even so, his last words echoed in Fíli's mind. There was still hope. He couldn't understand how Kíli could still believe that. so much was going wrong. They were trapped. This had been the only way. Just before his vision faded, he thought he saw a giant bird through the smoke. A small smile crossed his face as he realized just how ridiculous such a notion was. A giant bird. Even so, the last sound Fíli heard in this world was the screech of an eagle and he felt the strange sensation of flying.