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Brothers to the Bone, Part II

Kilidoescartwheels
Tol Eressea


Aug 22 2016, 2:05am

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Brothers to the Bone, Part II Can't Post


So, for some reason I'm having trouble with the formatting againMad Hope this works out. In this chapter, we find out how Fili survived falling from the tower at Ravenhill - obviously this is a slightly different ending from the movie, but that's why it's called a FANFIC!

Part 2 - A Friendly Wager


Dori was in charge of finding apartments for all the new residents of Erebor. Previously there were a few dozen guards, three cooks and four medics from the Iron Hills, but now there were twelve more, and half of them were single women. He quickly decided the Dwarf-maids should be housed in a separate corridor on the other side of the hospital wing. Bina, of course, would stay with her husband in his private room.


Fili had followed the Dwarf-maids slowly, keeping a safe distance from the ladies. There was one lady he wanted to talk to before anyone else got the chance, but he didn’t know how to go about it. He leaned against the wall, feeling both useless and cowardly. Fortunately (or unfortunately), his brother came up behind him. “So,” he said just a bit too loudly, “which one caught your eye?”


“Kili!” The ladies looked back at the brothers, hearing some speech but not too clear on what was said. Fili glared at his brother. “Be quiet – they can hear you!”


“Isn’t that what you want?”


“No – I mean, not all of them.” Fili sighed.


“So,” Kili whispered, “which one?” Fili gestured towards the sisters. “Ah, one of them.”


“Jerusa,” Fili whispered. He had scarcely taken his eyes from her.


“Isn’t she one of the nurse-maids?” Fili nodded. “Well, then you’ve got it made. All you have to do is pretend to be sick, and ask her ….”


“No!” Fili shook his head. “I don’t want her to think I’m some weak, sickly dwarf.”


“Right, of course not.” Kili wanted to be helpful. “But you are injured, and the Crown Prince. That should mean something.”


“I don’t want her to know that – not just yet anyway.”


“Are you mad?” Kili almost laughed. “Her father set your leg. How do you suppose she won’t know who you are?”


“Maybe if she thought I was someone else?” Fili turned to his brother. “What if she thought I was just some regular dwarf? We could meet for the first time in the dining hall – if I was already sitting at a table, she wouldn’t see my broken leg. What do you think?”


“I think you must have fallen and smacked your head,” Kili replied.


“Kili, please, I need your help!”


Kili sighed. “Well, I can’t refuse my brother. What do you want me to do?”


*****


After the new residents were settled, they made their way to the dining hall. The Dwarf-maids had changed from their traveling trousers into dresses – not too fancy, but enough to show they were indeed women. Bombur had prepared a fine meal for the new residents of roasted duck, with parsnips and potatoes. He stood near the buffet, dishing up plates. Kili got Fili into the hall before anyone else arrived, getting him settled at a table near the entrance. Then it was simply a matter of asking Jerusa to join him – something that Kili had no trouble doing. Fili was sometimes envious of his younger brother’s easy-going personality. Everyone seemed to love his cheerful smile and infectious laugh. Fili was the quiet, more serious older brother – and that sometimes made it difficult to talk to people. He also hated feeling so helpless; needing others to help him out of bed, bring him food, and he especially hated always having milk with his meals. Jeruk insisted on this, but tonight Fili would have an ale with his meal, just like every other Dwarf in the hall.


The dwarf-maids came to the dining hall as a group, chatting happily with each other. They got their plates and chose a table where they could sit together, away from their fathers and brothers. Bryn sat between Jerusa and Edna, hoping to learn something helpful. “You could start with removing stitches,” Jerusa suggested. “Most of the wounds have already been stitched up, but some are ready to come out. It’s not that different from normal sewing, really.”


“Does it hurt them,” Bryn asked.


“They say it doesn’t,” Jerusa replied, “but I don’t suppose a Dwarf would say so if it did.”


“My uncle told me he stitched up King Thorin’s forehead,” Edna pointed out, “and another fellow who had an axe stuck in his head for years!”


“Years?” Bryn shrieked. “How could he survive such a thing?”


“Our Dwarvish men are tough! Still, Uncle said it was a challenge, and it will leave a great scar. The stitches will have to stay in a lot longer than normal.”


“How long is normal?”


Edna shrugged. “Oh, usually a week or so. King Thorin’s stitches came out already.”


Bryn noticed Fili sitting at a table nearby. “Do you see that fellow over there?” She gestured at the Crown Prince. All six ladies turned to look his way. “I noticed him when we came in – I think he has a broken leg.”


“Sorry, Fili,” his brother murmured, “but I think they already know who you are.”


“I think that’s Prince Fili,” Jerusa whispered as she turned away. “Father says it’s a terrible break. Both bones in the lower leg were broken – there were five breaks in all. In fact, a piece of bone broke through the skin, and ….”


“Oh, Jerusa,” Betina wailed.


“Sorry, but she needs to be prepared for what she may see.” All eyes had turned back to Jerusa as she continued. “Anyway, Father had to use pins to put the bones back together. Really, I’m surprised he’s walking around at all, after such a short time.” She glanced back at Fili, adding, “He must be very tough!”


Fili couldn’t imagine anything worse than being gawked at by a bunch of dwarf-maids. “They must think I’m useless,” he muttered.


“Who? Who would dare call my brother useless?” Kili glared as he looked around.


“Shhh! The Dwarf-maids – they’ll hear you!”


“Oh.” Kili looked their way. Three of them glanced at him briefly, then started giggling with embarrassment. Kili chuckled. “I don’t think you have anything to worry about, brother. After all,” he said a bit louder, “you were injured in battle.” He then whispered, “Girls like that sort of thing.”


“And you know so much about girls?”


Before Kili could answer, Dwalin came over to join them. “Fili, you getting around alright? Do you need a hand?”


“No, I’m fine, thank you!”


Dwalin pulled a chair over, saying, “You should put that leg up.” He carefully lifted Fili’s broken leg up on the seat before pulling another chair over to sit in.


“He’s fine,” Kili said as he slapped his brother hard across the back. “He wants an ale – how about you, Dwalin?”


“Aye, always.”


Kili nodded as he walked toward the barrels, glancing at Jerusa as he walked past. The glance didn’t go unnoticed. “He likes you,” Betina teased.


“Really? He looks too young to be interested.” Jerusa stole a glance at Fili, realizing that he was also looking at her. She turned away quickly, blushing.


Bryn noticed the glance. “So, you say his leg will take a long time to heal?”


“What? Oh, yes, Father says it will take at least two months. He will have to be very careful,” she added as she glanced his way again.


“Oh Jerusa, enough of the shop talk. We came to eat,” Betina reminded them as she spread a napkin across her lap.


Dwalin also noticed the exchange of glances. “So, one of the sisters has caught your eye.”


“Must everyone know?” Dwalin looked at the Crown Prince expectantly. “Jerusa,” Fili admitted. “Is she the one you thought was pleasingly plump?”


“I meant the other one,” Dwalin confessed, “although she is quite fair. But chasing after women is a younger man’s game, I’m afraid. I’ll leave it to you and your brother.”


“I just want to talk to her,” Fili lamented.


Dwalin shrugged. “Well, I suppose Kili and I could make ourselves scarce for a bit.” However, before he could leave Bofur and Nori plopped down next to Dwalin. “Well, perhaps after dinner then.”


“Do what after dinner?” Bofur smiled at Fili before turning to Dwalin.


“It would be a private matter,” Dwalin replied.


“Oh, a private matter,” Bofur chuckled. “And that private matter wouldn’t happen to concern a ravishing redhead, would it?” Dwalin snorted and shook his head. “Good, less competition for me.”


“Oh,” Nori interrupted, “you think you’ll be the one?”


“Indeed I do,” Bofur replied before he tipped back his mug. At that time Kili returned, balancing two plates on top of three mugs. “Here, let me help you with that.” Bofur stood and quickly took the plates. “I assume one is for Fili here?”


“Yes,” Fili replied, “and tonight I’m having an ale.” He reached for one of the mugs.


“Here you go, Dwalin.” Kili passed the last mug over before sitting down. “Where is everyone else?”


Nori shrugged. “Dori’s busy setting up rooms for the new masons, and Ori’s still with Balin and Thorin, taking notes. Not sure about anyone else.” Nori’s attention turned sharply as Revan stood and carried her empty plate to the kitchen. “Maybe she’ll sing now.” Sure enough, she returned carrying her mandolin. She tapped her father’s shoulder – he was reluctant to leave such a good meal, but he did eventually rise and fetch his own instrument. By this time the dining hall was close to full with soldiers who weren’t on duty, along with the stone masons, Oin, Jeruk and Bina. Revan asked one of the soldiers what he would like to hear, then she and her father began to play a lively jig.


“Perfect,” Kili said as he stood quickly. He went straight to Jerusa, who glanced nervously at the younger Prince. “Would my lady care to dance?”


“I’d be honored,” she replied.


Betina looked ready to explode with excitement; Bryn looked a bit envious. Kili spun her around and danced in the direction of his brother. Bofur chuckled as he elbowed Nori. “Looks like Kili’s making his move all right.”


“Well, can’t ask Revan to dance when she’s doing the singing and playing. What a lovely voice she has,” Nori sighed.


Dwalin snorted. “So, you two are after the same lass. And what makes you think she’ll want either of you.”


“Oh, them’s fighting words,” Bofur declared.


“How ‘bout a friendly wager, then?” Nori leaned forward to address Dwalin. “I’ll bet 10 gold coins that I’ll sweep her off her feet, what say you?”


“I’d say it’s a fool’s bet,” Dwalin replied, “but I accept.”


“What about me,” Bofur asked, “I’m as charming as they come!”


“Very well,” Dwalin chuckled, “I’ll pay 10 coins to whichever one of ye charms the lady. Of course, if she rejects you both, then you’ll both pay me 10 coins.”


“Done!” Bofur slapped Dwalin on the back, then turned to Nori and extended his hand. “And may the best Dwarf win!”


As soon as the song was over Kili invited Jerusa over to his table. “Sit here,” he said as he pulled a chair over. “This is my brother Fili,” he added as he seated her next to Fili, “finest Dwarf you could hope to meet. Oh, and these are our friends, Dwalin, Bofur and Nori.” All three stood and bowed politely.


“It is good to meet you,” Jerusa acknowledged. Fili was embarrassed that he didn’t stand and do the proper honors. He reached for a crutch and started to lower his broken leg, but Jerusa stopped him. “Oh please, there is no need to stand on my account. I can see that you are injured – I am not offended.”


“That’s not the point,” Fili grumbled. Kili looked at his brother in shock – he’d never seen Fili act this way before. Fili caught his disapproving look. “I’m sorry, that was rude of me.” He looked at the floor, feeling shame.


Bofur and Nori were also surprised, and tried to think of something to distract Jerusa. “So,” Nori began, “you came in with Revan.”


“Oh yes,” she replied, “we traveled together.”


“Do you know her well?”


Jerusa shrugged. “Not very well – although she seems very nice.”


Bofur smiled and nodded. “Is she attached to anyone?”


“I don’t think so.” Before she could say another word, Bofur and Nori bid a quick “Good night” as they rushed to introduce themselves to the lovely singer. “Well, I ….”


“Please excuse their manners,” Dwalin said apologetically.


“What’s that all about?” Kili asked.


“Well, they have a bet with me,” Dwalin explained.


“Concerning Revan?” Jerusa arched her brow disapprovingly. “Dwarf-maids are not so easily swayed.”


“No, I’m sure they aren’t.” Dwalin smiled. “This should be the easiest 20 coins I’ve ever won.”


Kili laughed as Bofur and Nori babbled in front of Revan, whose eyes darted back and forth between them. “This should be fun to watch.”


“Or it could be painful,” Fili added dryly.


Jerusa glanced at Fili, wanting so much to ask how it happened. “So,” she finally started, “Father said you broke your leg when you fell from a tower?” Fili nodded but didn’t say anything.


“Thorin sent us to scout the tower,” Kili explained. “Fili must have fought a dozen Orcs that day, perhaps more. But then he was captured.” For a moment the mirth left Kili’s eyes. “I didn’t think I would ever see him alive again.”


“Kili!” Thorin approached the table quickly, with Ori running behind. “There you are. I need you to take this dispatch to Dale. Dain is meeting with Bard tonight. They need this report right away.”


Kili downed his mug quickly, took the dispatch and left. Jerusa came quickly to her feet before dropping into a deep curtsy. “Your Majesty,” she exclaimed.


Thorin looked at her critically. “You are one of the nurse-maids?”


“Yes, my Lord.”


“Good. You can see to my nephew, then. Make sure he gets back to his room safely.”


“Thorin,” Fili cringed in embarrassment, “I am fine, I can get back without ….”


“I insist,” Thorin cut him off. “I will not risk any further harm coming to you.”


“So I am to just sit around and be coddled?”


“I understand this is difficult for you, but you must fully recover before you resume your work.” He nodded curtly to Jerusa before walking away.


Jerusa sat back down. “Fili, he’s right. It will take time for your leg to mend. And you should be drinking milk,” she added as she tilted his mug.


“I don’t care for milk.” He looked down, regretting the way he spoke to her. “I’m sorry.”


“I can talk to my father,” she offered. “If he approves a walking routine, or some sitting tasks, perhaps King Thorin will allow it?”


Fili smiled. “That sounds splendid. But I would still like to have an ale with my dinner.”


“Well, I suppose if you also have cheese with your dinner that would be acceptable.” She gathered her courage to ask, “So, however did you escape the Orcs?”


Fili pulled a knife from his boot. “With this. When I was captured they took my sword, but they missed my knife. Azog held me over the edge of a tower, meaning to kill me in front of Thorin – in front of Kili and Dwalin here as well.” He looked over at Dwalin, who grimaced at the memory. “So I thought, if I am to die today, I will take a piece of him with me. I got the knife from my boot and cut his thumb off. He dropped me, of course.”



Jerusa had a hand on her heart. “That’s terrifying! And that is when you broke your leg?”


“Well, actually I was caught on a dislodged stone. So I was hanging there, wondering if I’d survive falling the rest of the way. Kili was screaming at me – I told him to run, but he wouldn’t. Then some Orcs came out and attacked him. So I pushed off and fell on one of the Orcs. I broke his back, but ….”


“Also your leg,” she finished.


Fili nodded. “Yes, Kili and Dwalin had to carry me down from Ravenhill. I’ve kept this knife with me ever since – my saving blade.” He looked at her face, and saw a look of compassion mixed with admiration.” He couldn’t think of anything else to say.

*****



After dinner was over Bina, Betina, Rom and Revan went to the kitchen for clean-up and to get tomorrow’s assignments from Lord Bombur. Jerusa insisted on getting Fili back to his room as Thorin commanded, leaving Dwalin sitting by himself, a half-empty mug of beer clutched tightly in his hand. He couldn’t dislodge the memory of Fili dangling from the tower, or falling from the tower; with Dwalin unable to do anything besides watch in horror. Thank Durin Fili still had that knife, his saving blade indeed! Had Fili died that day, part of Thorin would have died with him. Indeed, part of Dwalin would have died as well.


“My Lord?” He felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. He heard the voice, but didn’t at first realize the voice spoke to him. Turning his head he saw Tami, looking at him with concern. “My Lord, is everything all right? Are you ill?”


Dwalin shook himself back to the present. “I am fine, my lady.” She pulled her hand away as Dwalin stood. “Forgive me, I am not used to being called ‘Lord.’ I am Dwalin, at your service.” He bowed as he spoke.


“Tami,” she identified herself as she curtsied. “I have heard of you – Dwalin, the warrior who fought by King Thorin’s side. Lord Bifur speaks highly of you.”


“Does he now?” He chuckled a bit. “Well, that’s good to know. So, you’ll be working with Bifur then?”


“Yes, my father and I are to start repairs on the throne tomorrow.”


He nodded. “I see, very good then. So where are you off to now?”


“I suppose I shall retire for the night.”


“Then please, let me escort you to your room.” Tami walked beside him quietly. Dwalin could hear the rustling of her dress, and caught the light scent of her hair. For a brief moment he forgot where he was going. Again he had to shake himself back to the present. “Have you seen much of Erebor?”


“No, I haven’t had much of a chance to.” She looked up at the many levels overhead. “It’s so huge! It’s a wonder folks don’t get lost.”


“Some do.” He hesitated for a moment. “If you would like, I can show you around the place.”


She smiled at him. “I would like that – but perhaps tomorrow? Right now I’m looking forward to a hot bath and soft mattress, after all our traveling.” Dwalin found her wish a tad bit embarrassing. He nodded, but said nothing. She continued, “But I suppose you are used to that sort of rough living.”


“Well, yes – but there’s nothing like having a roof over your head.” He looked around the mountain as he added, “A place to call home.”


Tami watched him as he spoke. Despite his warrior appearance she could see he held genuine affection for Erebor, and for Lord Bifur as well. A fine quality in a Dwarf, she said to herself. They continued walking to the room she shared with five other Dwarf-maids. “Well, we are here.” She paused for a moment. “Hopefully I’ll have some time tomorrow, for you to show me around?”


“It would be my pleasure, my lady.” He bowed again.


“Well, goodnight my Lord, er, Dwalin.” She smiled back at him before closing the door. She was alone in the room, as Edna had taken Bryn to the hospital wing. The large room had six beds in a row, and a washroom at the other end. A fire and warm water was available. She filled a tub and stripped off her clothes, sliding into the tub before she pulled the clip out of her hair. She took her time, and was nearly dozing when the door opened suddenly. Jerusa came in, hoping to get a bath herself. “I’m almost finished,” Tami offered, “can you hand me a towel?”


“Certainly.” After fetching a towel, Jerusa refilled a large kettle and hung it over the fire. “I am glad we have this spicket,” she remarked, “I’m sure all of us will want to bathe.” Jerusa washed quickly, while Tami huddled by the fire and combed out her hair. “You have such lovely curls,” Jerusa said as she stepped out of the tub. “My hair is so straight.”


“Oh, but you can braid yours,” Tami pointed out. “I can’t really do anything with mine.”


“I have to use pomade, else the braid won’t stay. Here, let me help you.” She took the comb and worked through Tami’s hair.


While she worked, Betina and Revan came in. “And I could scarcely keep up with either Dwarf, they both talked so. Their names are Bofur and Nori, but honestly I’m not sure which is which!”


“I’m pretty sure Bofur is the one with the floppy hat,” Betina chuckled. “He’s Lord Bombur’s brother.”


“And you seem rather fond of Lord Bombur,” Revan teased.


“Oh, yes! Now there’s a Dwarf that enjoys a good meal. I likes me a big, fat Dwarf.”


“Already looking for a mate, sister dear?” Jerusa giggled.


“Oh, and you can talk!” Betina kicked off her shoes as she added, “You had both the Princes at your beck and call – mother was absolutely thrilled!”


“Yes, I’m sure she was.”


“So,” Revan asked as she scooted next to Jerusa, “what do you think of the Princes?”


Jerusa shrugged. “Kili’s nice, but I think he’s too young to be courting. And Fili, I’m not sure what to think. He’s so quiet, and a bit angry, but maybe it’s just his injury.”


“So, how did it happen?”


“He was fighting the Orcs, but was captured. He broke his leg escaping! He’s probably lucky to be alive.” All of the Dwarf-maids were impressed by this tale. Jerusa smiled, remembering Thorin’s command. “The King ordered me to watch out for him. I’m going to talk to Father about it tomorrow, see if Fili can start walking around or something. I think he’s terribly bored.”


“And I’m terribly tired.” Betina stifled a yawn.


“Do you want to take a quick bath,” Jerusa asked. “I can get some water going for you.”


“No thank you. I’m to report to the kitchen early, to get breakfast going. I’ll wash after that.” Betina slipped into a bed, then turned to her sister. “Do you think you could ask one of the Princes what Bombur likes to eat?”


“Of course,” Jerusa giggled as she settled into a bed. “But can it wait until tomorrow? I think I’d like to get some rest myself.”


“Me, too.” Tami pulled the bedding back on another bed. “What about you, Revan?”

“I think I’ll have a wash first,” she answered. “Go on, get some rest. I’ll be along shortly.”

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