Sometimes Kili hated his brother. He really did.

Like now, for instance.

Fili was sparring with Uncle Thorin, with their mother’s blessing! And Kili- poor, young, defenseless Kili- could not even watch. He was to stay home and help Mother. “I need my Kili-boy,” she’d said.

It wasn’t fair! Kili fumed, scrubbing a pot particularly vigorously. Fili was only 5 years older! And he got to help Uncle Thorin at the smithy and go hunting and talk about grown-up things. It just wasn’t fair! Kili was practically grown, but to Mother and Thorin and especially Fili, he was still just Kili-boy.

“Kili-boy,” his mother, Dis, said, interrupting his thoughts. “You’ve been scrubbing that pot an awfully long time. Is it not clean, or are you thinking about something?”

Kili flung the soapy pot to the floor. It made a nice CLANG! but unfortunately did not break. Kili felt like breaking something.

“What’s the matter, Kili-boy?” Dis asked, concerned about her son’s uncharacteristic outburst.

Kili lost it at the sound of that once-beloved nickname.

“EVERYTHING is the matter, Mother! Or can’t you see? Fili is treated like an adult, and I’m not! He gets to spar with Thorin and go hunting! I’m a better shot with the bow than Fili will ever be! He’s only five years older than me, but-”

Kili was cut short by his mother’s embrace.

“I’m sorry, my son,” Dis said quietly. “I had no idea you were so unhappy. After your father and grandfather and great-grandfather died, I just wanted to protect my boys.”

Kili said nothing. His mother was sorry. She understood him. It would be all right.

Several weeks later, Thorin knocked on his sister’s door. Dis opened it and smiled, happy to see her older brother.

“I’ve come to talk to Fili and Kili,” Thorin explained.

Dis frowned. “About taking back Erebor?” Word of Thorin’s quest had spread.

Thorin nodded.

“Oh, no you don’t, Thorin Oakenshield! If you think you are going to take my boys on a wild goose chase-”

“Dis, they aren’t boys anymore. They’re fine young men. They’re ready to leave, to have an adventure.” He put a hand on Dis’s shoulder. “You can’t protect them forever, sister. They need to spread their wings.”

“You don’t have children, Thorin! You don’t know what it’s like to lose-”

“You’ll never lose us, Mother,” Kili said. Fili stood behind him in the doorway to the kitchen. Kili strode across the room and took his mother’s hands. “We’ll never be lost. We’ll always be-” Kili tapped the left side of his chest- “in your heart.”

Dis sighed, defeated. “Fine. Go with your uncle on some Aule-forsaken adventure. See the world. On one condition.”

“What?” Both her sons leaned forwards eagerly.

“You come home to me.”

Fili and Kili smiled and embraced their mother.

Fili and Kili stood in the blue traveling cloaks Dis had sewn, ready to depart. They were going to meet the expedition’s burglar before setting forth towards the Lonely Mountain.

Fili had kissed his mother goodbye and headed out the door. Kili was about to follow, when he suddenly turned and enveloped Dis in a bear hug.

“I’ll make you proud, mother,” he whispered.

Dis hugged her son back. “You already have, Kili my son. I could not be prouder of the fine young man you have become.” Dis let go and nudged her youngest son towards the door. “Home is behind, and the road is ahead. Go on, son. Your brother is waiting.”

With a final goodbye, Kili dashed out the door.

A half-mile away, Kili turned towards home a final time. “Goodbye, Mother. I will go the Mountain, and I will come back again,” Kili swore. He waved and then continued on his way. His mother was proud of him. It would be all right.

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