Is it too soon to start shipping this? Couldn't help myself - hope you like. 
x Rune

Kili had hoped to find some measure of comfort beneath the covers but mere blankets could not soothe a body so accustomed to the world’s warm depths. The youth craved the touch of earthen core for the stone here was chilled by wind and scored by rain; it’s wasn’t sacred nor revered, simply tromped and groped by the elements and taken for granted by the beings. 

Though he wished security, the archer’s thoughts only served to maul him deeper into despair for thoughts of home conjured images of his brother. The brother’s whose embrace he’d never feel again, whose voice he’d never hear again, whose face he’d never see again.

And whose blood still stained his clothes.

No mercy for the poor boy’s nerves for even as the blankets began to warm, his form remained frigid from the shock and realization that once stable frame of his life has nothing more than dust. His brother was a bloodied corpse being feasted upon by the legions of the deep. And his face was now known to the guard, insuring that any attempt to return home would end in beheading.

And Thorin? What of his uncle? Would he be punished for the failure of his youngest nephew? If not by the guard then certainly by the Carta who would receive reports of Fili and Kili’s now revealed exploits. 

As good as dead was the youth’s last remaining kin.

“I’m sorry…” the dwarf whimpered, burying his face under the covers to muffle the sobs that were threatening to break the peaceful silence of the camp. His brother’s final moments began to warp through his memory, reminding the boy of every sound Fili had uttered. Every agonized scream, every plea for mercy, every cry for his younger brother to flee. The golden-haired elder’s final words had been those of a selfless sibling even as his entrails were ripped from his gut as his body had yet to cease breath. 

“It should’ve been me,” the dark-haired Duster choked as he tortured himself with all the things he could have done differently. All the things that could have saved Fili’s life.

It should’ve been me,” he repeated with more conviction, convinced in the painful truth he was forcing upon himself, “you should have left me, you should have kept running and never looked back.”

“It should’ve been me…”

The last word died in his mouth as a downpour of tears surged down his cheeks and spirited his voice away as he mourned his shattered world. And perhaps his hushed sobbing would have whisked off to sleep after stealing away his will but the pain never got the chance for the deed for Kili felt a rustle of movement near his feet.

The boy turned his head away from the damp spot on his pillow and lifted his head to seek out the source of the disturbance. It didn’t long for the sight was quite prominent and stood erect in the air.

The rump of a fairly large dog. 

Kili followed the curve of the animal’s spine and lifted the covers to seek out the creature’s head. And there, just inches from the dwarf’s body was the grinning wrinkled face of Hawke’s mabari.

As soon as the beast saw the bowman’s face, his rear began to wiggle happily as his nub of a tail swished about.

Despite his swelling sadness, the archer couldn’t help but chuckle at the hound’s resilient affections. 

“What are you doing, Rider?” the youth asked, recalling the name Hawke had used to address her ever-loyal creature. “Your master’ll miss you, beastie. Off with you then.”

The mabari cocked its head and took Kili’s send off as an invitation to delve deeper into the covers. The a heavy thump, the dog dropped his hindquarters to the ground and wriggled beneath the sheets till his head was beside the dwarf’s and his form was covered by bedding.

The Dwarf opened his mouth to protest the dog’s presence but as the hound gazed at the boy with large eyes and a doggish grin, the boy couldn’t help but melt his resolve. Instead, he settled his hand atop the beast’s muzzle and gently ran his fingers along the velvet hairs, his mind in wonderment for nothing of this kind dwelled within the darkness of his homeland.

Pleased by the marksman’s gesture, the dog’s eyes became half-lidded and his breathing relaxed. And as for the Dwarf, his shiver stopped and the tears only came as a trickle as his grief waned for a familiar feeling was beginning to wash over him; it was the same sensation the bowman experienced when in his brother’s presence. Something that was born by the unconditional and nursed by the mutual.

“A strange beast you are,” Kili whispered amiably, his own gaze growing heavy, “But an amazing friend that makes you.”

With that the Durin was fast asleep, his hand still perched upon the mabari and Rider, content and twitching as he chased coneys in his dreams.

And the world did not seem so cold anymore.


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