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18 May 2013 @ 04:16 pm
LOTR/Hobbit FanFic:  
Title: Stone Dandelion (1/??)
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Kíli, Radagast, Legolas, Thranduil, Tauriel, Thorin, Dís and Fíli.
Notes: WIP
Summary: At a very young age, Kíli becomes bearer of one of the Seven Rings given to the Dwarf Lords, awakening its power and setting the eye of the deceiver on him, but thanks to the Brown Wizard’s intervention and those reluctantly answering his call, the young dwarf’s fate may not be so dark after all.

AO3 Link

This is a self-fill for this prompt at the kinkmeme, because I happen to like complicated stories and this one finally made its way to be written. Please note that this, of course, is an alternative universe and things are going to change though the line of the events will not so drastically be altered as the story progresses, meaning that I will not take you into space of modern age, none of that. I’m just stirring this sandbox to the convince of my story. I hope you enjoy it!

Infinite thanks to my beta Dunicha because without her my stories wouldn’t make half the sense they make. You’re awesome!

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Winter, T.A 2875
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There was a whisper running with the wind across the leaves of the forest, helping the subtle words run to their destined recipient, across the Misty Mountains and over them, until they were heard.

Radagast felt a chill run down his spine as the soft voice reached his ears. He stopped his walk and looked around and up to the sky.

"My Lady?"

The song-like voice of the mother of all things that grow spoke for his ears only and he listened with much attention and intent. The moment was short, but its significance was plenty. It took another moment for Radagast to grasp the mission and the intent before nodding to himself and firmly turning in direction of the Misty Mountains.

Radagast lifted his staff and whistled a tune as he walked. Soon a few small birds were flying around him as he walked across the woodlands.

"Carry my message, my dears," he said gently to the birds as he extended his hand for them to rest on his arm, "Gwaihir."

The birds stirred their wings and took flight as Radagast continued his walk towards his closest dwellings, for he had to be ready.

Tapping his staff against the forest ground a couple of times, Radagast whistled again, this time louder and longer, a tune for a different creature altogether but with the same effectiveness nonetheless. Rosgobel rabbits emerged from their burrows, ears up and whiskers moving as their noses sniffed the air.

"Oh!" Radagast crouched to take one of the youngest rabbit in his arms and nuzzle his nose against the rabbit’s much smaller ears, "You are far too young my dear, are you sure you are ready to run with your siblings?"

The young rabbit nibbled at Radagast's beard in enthusiasm, kicking its feet and moving its ears eagerly. Radagast glanced over the older rabbits, questioning this decision and finding no objection on their side.

"Very well then, we must get ready!"

It didn't take long for Radagast to get his sleigh and the rabbits ready for travel. He packed a few important things he had the feeling he would need and parted, running fast across the woods and grasslands to reach the meeting point where he would encounter Gwaihir.

-----

The Great Eagles heard Radagast's message alongside Gwaihir and it was decided that the Eagle warrior would answer immediately, for the Brown Wizard's call was no doubt important.

Gwaihir flew the skies with great speed and precision, high in the sky to avoid the Woodmen and any unwanted attention, finding the spot where Radagast and the Rosgobel rabbits were waiting.

"Dear friend!" greeted Radagast, "I'm happy to see you."

The wizard ran his hand over Gwaihir's side, arranging the few soft feathers out of place, the Eagle made a pleased sound in return. Radagast smiled fondly at this and stepped back to look up to the eagle, finding his eyes.

"I'm afraid I bring complicated news my friend," he said, worry clear in his voice. "I require your help. There should be a band of orcs crossing the land right now and they carry with them something very dear that we must get back."

Gwaihir extended his wings, releasing a long cry as he confirmed his mission. Radagast nodded to his question, clutching his staff close.

"I will be behind you on the ground, but I'm afraid I cannot get too close to them. I fear they might hurt what they carry if they see me approach."

Gwaihir understood perfectly well; orcs could be very ruthless. The Eagle shuffled his wings and took flight, crying once more to Radagast before going far up in the sky to spot the pack of wandering orcs on the lands.

It took several tries and a few changes in direction, but Gwaihir found his target once the dusk was upon them, casting long shadows across the land. He cried softly, calling a smaller eagle to his side to relay his message to Radagast.

The orc pack was smaller than usual. Gwaihir noticed that several were hurt and some carried more weapons on their person than others, as if they took them from their fallen companions. Gwaihir took a turn to descend, his sharp eyes locating something more among the accursed creatures, something that simply didn't belong.

Gwaihir saw as the Orcs stopped for a moment, pushing something small to the ground while the couple of wargs that still marched with them encircled the little prey. Gwaihir felt rage in his heart and quickly dived against the enemy.

The orcs cursed and cried as Gwaihir used his talons to claw and slice, taking all the orcs he could and sending a few running scared away from the place. Once the orcs were away he beat his wings to stand against the wargs, only to find they were not attacking at all. Intrigued by this, Gwaihir flew low but out of reach of the wargs as he encircled them and their charge.

There was a strong feeling of fear lingering in the air. Gwaihir felt its sudden assault and it almost made him descend immediately in his need to stop it, and by their strange reaction Gwaihir concluded the wargs experienced the same feeling too.

Something drove Gwaihir to descend, placing firm talons on the ground and beating his wings in a sign of opposition, making the wargs back off and leaving the small bundle trembling on the ground for Gwaihir to see.

A child lay on the ground on his knees, curled up in a ball and sobbing violently. Gwaihir could see cuts and scratches all over his little body. He moved slowly, softly touching his beak against the small head. The child placed his arms over his head, mumbling words in the tongue of those who inhabit the mountains, a soft plea to stop hurting.

Gwaihir felt rage and his cry against the wargs was clear sign of it. The two beasts growled in return before turning on their paws and running in the direction of their discarded masters. Satisfied with this, Gwaihir returned his attention to the little one before him.

It took a long time for the Eagle Warrior to coax the child to uncurl and even more so to convince him not to be afraid as he took him in his talons as carefully as possible and flew in Radagast's direction.

The child held on Gwaihir's talon for dear life, tears running down his bloody face. Gwaihir was concerned for the bleeding gash on his temple and what looked like a sprained wrist, still he could do little for such things right now. Let the brown wizard tend the babe. He could, at least, properly talk to the little one.

It didn't take long for the little one to start drowsing off. Little hands slowly loosened their hold and Gwaihir curled his talon a little more to keep the babe in his grasp. As the night fell over the valley, the eagle warrior arrived at Radagast with his precious cargo.

"Oh dear, oh dear!" Radagast moved quickly to take the child in his arms, making soothing noises as the child squirmed in his sleep. "Such a small child, taken away from home..."

Gwaihir made a low sound of concern and Radagast sighed in return, eyes fixed in his small charge.

"Dwarves are very protective of their young, he must have been taken from them by force," Ragadast muttered. "I thank you, my friend, for helping me to get him from that orc pack."

The eagle warrior beat his wings, bowing his head in reply. He observed as Radagast carefully placed the child on the sleigh, surrounded by blankets. The smaller of the rabbits jumped over, inspecting the child curiously, nuzzling his face with his noseand making the child wake up.

"Ma?" Blurry eyes looked around for someone who wasn't there. "Fee?"

"Hello there," Radagast called out. Huge eyes looked him up and down in a mixture of fear and wonder and the wizard encouraged the rest of the rabbits to get closer to the child to calm him down. This had the desired effect, as the tiny nose of the youngest rabbit nuzzled over the little face again and prompted the young dwarf to giggle. "Now, that's much better."

Radagast knelt beside the child, checking over his injuries while the little one was distracted. Using the supplies he brought, the wizard cleaned up the gash on his temple and cleaned his face as much as he could. Gwaihir observed the process, satisfied.

"That should do for now. Little one, can I know your name? I'm Radagast."

The wizard smiled and the child eyed him curiously.

"Kíli," he said, pointing at himself, then looking around. "Not home."

"I know," Radagast said sadly. "But you will be fine."

It was getting darker. Night was upon them and the wizard wanted to get to his house as soon as possible. "I must go, my friend, thank you for your assistance."

Gwaihir took flight while Kíli waved goodbye, babbling something in his mother tongue.

It was a strange situation, for Radagast to rush in aid of a young dwarf. The brown wizard had a reason that went beyond helping one in need, a cause that ultimately will be part of a bigger picture, though that didn't mean he wasn't glad to help a dwarfling.

The journey back to Radagast's house was mostly uneventful. The wizard let Kíli keep the youngest rabbit in his arms while the others pulled the sleigh with Radagast and Kíli on it. The rabbit seemed to keep the dwarfling distracted. Radagast counted this as a blessing, thinking he was sure to encounter the young one's distress soon enough.

By the time they reached the house, Kíli was looking nervous, searching for someone who wasn't there, and calling for a family that had no idea where he was. It made Radagast angry that those orcs had dared to separate Kíli from his family, though he fully knew the reason.

Radagast held the dwarfling in his arms and entered the house.

"So much conflict, hidden in such a small object..." The wizard eyed the chain hidden under Kíli's clothing, confirming his suspicions.

"Ma here?" Kíli asked while looking around, asking something else in khuzdul, accompanied by a series of hand signals that made Radagast chuckle.

"I'm sorry little one, your mother is not here." That made Kílis face fall. "But I do have food for you."

Kíli's iglishmek was still developing, but Radagast was able to read the signs well enough. He knew this sign language was what young dwarves learned firsthand, even before speech, and often enough complemented what they could not fully express with words.

"No Ma?" he asked sadly, the prospect of food not being enough to cheer him up, "Ma..."

"Shh, shh, I know... I'm sorry."

The tears finally fell and silent sobs made Kíli's little body tremble. He buried his face in Radagast's beard and the wizard patted his back, trying to comfort him. At his feet, many small animals came closer, wanting to reach for Kíli and offer their company and support.

"You can feel his distress." He was addressing the different creatures around them and his words were not a question but a statement. Radagast observed the many small animals that entered his cottage seeking to help the one that they felt needed it.

Radagast sat on the bed with Kíli in his arms and gently tugged the chain from under his clothes, revealing a ring hanging from it.

"One of the seven," Radagast mustered, "What a cruel fate that it chose such a very young bearer to finally show its power..."

-----

The ring had been in his family for a long time, as it should be. It was natural that the line of Durin was destined to hold one of the seven, even if no one had actually made the strange treasure show its true power.

Thrór believed the ring gave protection, for those who had carried it with them had faced unimaginable danger and by an apparent stroke of luck came out with their lives. Thrór held the ring for many years and its strange yet subtle power was proven to be believable, and the ring gave its bearer a token against dark odds, placing fate in their favor when confronted with menace.

It was a dream that held pain and destruction that made Thrór decide that he should pass on the ring, that it was time for another to have it. He gave it to his son, Thráin, with a word of why it was important and a warning of why it should be treated with respect, for it was no common ring after all.

Thráin wasn't so sure about the protection granted by the ring, but he couldn't deny that there was power in it, so Thráin became its new bearer, yet didn't tempt his own fate to prove its power.

Life in Erebor was peaceful, and the ring slept in it.

The thick silver band engraved and topped with the blue gem looked completely in place among dwarves and Thráin would often wear it on his right ring finger. When he didn't, the ring was on a mithril chain, hidden under his clothes. Always close, always safe, though the irony didn't escape Thráin's mind. Wasn't the ring supposed to keep him safe and not the other way around? The dwraf prince felt uneasy about the object yet didn't want to let go of it, until something with far more relevance came along: the security of his family.

Erebor fell and the dragon's wrath consumed not only the kingdom but the stability of a whole nation. There were too many deaths and much to grieve, but the dwarves of Durin's folk and their allies didn't give up. Not as long as there was a single thread of hope and the tiniest possibility of prosperity available.

Thráin wasn’t as strong as the others, he had strength, yes, but not that which would have required him to lead. He wouldn’t voice such sentiment of course, but it was lurking and consuming him whole each day of exile.

When they marched to try and reclaim Moria, Thráin had almost given up. He supposed that maybe there wasn't enough of Durin's strength in him, but was grateful that his sons and daughter showed far more courage than him. At least he could feel proud of that.

Thrór was marching to battle and Thráin would follow. He was taking his sons Thorin and Frerin with him and leaving his daughter Dís to look for their people.

It wasn't easy to let go of the ring - he was too used to having it already, but this was the right thing to do before he let himself leave.

He placed the ring in his daughter’s hand and told her it would protect her. He told her he loved her and Dís felt her heart break a little, because her father's words felt like a valediction. She clutched the ring in her hands and prayed, her face not showing the anguish in her heart.

She had a dream that night. There was loss and sorrow and a cry that flew with the wind, but there were no tears, for there were many to mourn and the souls of the warriors were beyond shattered.

Thorin came back, not victorious but alive; that alone was enough for Dís. She lost too much on the battle of Azanulbizar... a grandfather... a father... a brother... a husband. Now she had a little one that was waiting for a father that would not return and a yet-to-be-born ray of hope, one who would know not the father that just left this world trying to find them a home.

She didn't like the ring, but she wouldn't give it away either, not because it was considered a treasure, but because it had become a memento of her father. She never wore it on any of her fingers, but on a the chain under her clothes. When the day she was due came, she hid it under the pillow, feeling it glow with a strange light that for some reason gave her the reassurance her little one was going to be fine.

She had baby boy and named him Kíli and his older brother, Fíli, giggled in glee about how similar their names sounded. It was the first time she heard him so happy since his father's death and Dís thanked her little Kíli for bringing the so much needed light to their lives simply by being born.

They had a few quiet and almost calm years in exile. Thorin made sure the basics were never absent, even when it was so difficult, and both he and Dís not only cared for their children - for Thorin became a father to them, or as much as he could be one for them - but for all those who followed them, their people.

The ring seemed to glow when Kíli was around. It was strange and Dís didn’t know what to make of it. She also noticed other strange occurrences that happened around her little boy mostly when she was with him, carrying the ring. Animals seemed tamer, friendlier and Kíli would babble away in delight to have them near and they would obey Kíli’s silly requests.

With her growing suspicion, Dís decided to make a test. She placed the ring on the chain around Kíli’s neck and carried him near the pens were a particularly difficult foal, angry at being away from its mother, was being held.

It shouldn’t amaze her how the foal nuzzled Kíli’s face or how happy it seemed to be around her little boy, but it still did. When she took the ring away, the foal seemed bored, but still was close, if not as much as before; it was hostile towards her but not Kíli. Dís now knew something was definitely happening and she left the place without being noticed, Kíli asleep in her arms, and a newfound knowledge.

She confirmed something that afternoon, but what she was not sure yet.

Still, the shadow of despair was upon them and shaking it off had proven to be far more difficult than anything they had confronted before.

The night she lost her little ray of light had been dark in itself. Dís remember a great fight among their own people and a fire. She still wondered if that had been nothing more than a distraction, for the real threat came in the form of a raid of orcs that followed the chaos of the fight.

She didn't think twice, she placed the ring on its chain around her little Kíli's neck and kissed Fíli's forehead and told him to be strong, that she would come back for them soon. When she came back, Fíli was so hurt she feared for his life and Kíli was nowhere to be found.

She refused to cry, for she didn’t believe everything lost, not yet. But as Fíli cried in his nightmares for them to leave his little brother, to not take him away, the tears ran down her face, even if her expression remained the same.

Her family had been shattered again and this time the pieces had been so discarded there was little chance of picking them up and putting them back together. Still, Thorin held her hand and Dís nodded a silent agreement not to give up, even if the uncertainty of such tiniest chances was rotting their insides with misery.

----------

The forest was stirring, foreshadowing something that didn't belong, something dark in nature and foul in intentions. Legolas closed his eyes and heard the forest whisper, the shadow was present but it was not overwhelming the forest, not yet. It was still a whisper, but the young Prince paid the attention it deserved. He had a bad feeling about it.

He stood on the branches of the old, thick tree. Legolas could see better at a distance, even if the shadows and lights of the forest danced as if they were alive. The birds around him stirred and chirped, calling, and one even tugged at his hair.

"Ah, do please stop that," Legolas waved the little bird off, but paid close attention and followed them nonetheless, knowing only one certain wizard could command the passive creatures to approach him with such urgency. With light and quick steps, Legolas followed the birds flight across the paths towards the western eaves until he reached his destination.

The house looked as Legolas remembered; if anything the tree in the middle had gotten a little bigger and strangely enough, it suited both the place and the wizard living in it. He approached the door and knocked twice, politely waiting for an answer when a soft thud was heard followed by Radagast muffled voice.

"Oh dear, don't run off...!" the wizard sounded a little breathless, "Much running this day, such energy, oh goodness."

The door opened as a little but determined figure tugged and then pushed it open. A child with a mop of chestnut colored hair and big brown eyes appeared and gave him strange look which then turned a little bit judgmental.

"Khathuzh," the child grunted, Legolas raised an eyebrow in response, amused.

"Naugrim," he answered in a light tone, making the child tilt his head to a side, unsure of the strange word he had been called.

"Ah, there you are Legolas!" Radagast's voice brought both the dwarfling and Legolas' attention back.

"Baranmavar, it's good to see you."

Legolas mentally scolded himself. He looked as if he had been picking a fight with a dwarfling, which would be poor behavior of him; he offered the child a smile, and in response the dwarfling ran to hide behind Radagast, occasionally peeking his little head out shyly.

"I see you already met Kíli," Radagast petted the little head and encouraged Kíli to come out. "He's a guest."

Legolas looked at Kíli with curious eyes, wondering how he had come to be in the brown wizard's company.

"I didn't know there was a dwarven caravan near, do they plan to cross the forest?" If so, Legolas would have to tell the scouts to be alert for any disturbances. Crossing Greenwood was becoming dangerous for everyone.

"No, Kíli is here by himself I'm afraid," Radagast voice was even and there was a twinkle in his eyes that clearly told Legolas there was a story behind that event.

The Elven Prince tilted his head to one side, his eyes drifting from Radagast to Kíli, who was currently twisting the sleeves of a tunic that was too big for him. Legolas noted the bandages under the tunic's collar as well as how the child was moving slowly, favoring his left foot. Legolas crouched to Kíli's eye level and brushed a straw of hair of his face. Kíli eyed him suspiciously, but his firm grip on Radagast's robes seemed to give the little one enough courage to pout at Legolas, who in return offered him a smile before turning his attention to the Brown Wizard.

"What happened, Baranmavar?"

Radagast sighed, his eyes suddenly tired and far too deep in thought. Kíli didn't seem to notice; he was looking curiously at the braids at the sides of Legolas face while slowly taking small steps towards the Elf, as if he didn't want Legolas to notice.

"Orcs," was Radagast short answer, "and something else."

Radagast took Kíli in his arms, securing the dwarfling on his hip and gently taking the chain of the silver ring with the blue gem. Kíli's small hand immediately took the ring, happily inspecting the gem. Legolas stood still, his eyes observing the ring and Kíli.

"The whisper in the forest?"

"Something is stirring in the darkness," Radagast's tone was serious and even somber; Legolas was unused to hearing such a tone in him. "And it might be after this child."

Legolas' eyes shifted from the ring in Kili's hands to the child himself slowly, comprehension dawning into his understanding. He was no stranger to the events of the era before himself and what a ring could mean if it was among those forgotten by the Elves of Eregion. Legolas moved closer, his hand hovering tentatively over Kili's head.

"He is but a child." There was confusion in his eyes, an inner conflict that he could not put a name to yet. "His parents?"

Kíli made a low, unhappy sound, startling Legolas in the process. The dwrafling's lower lip was quivering and the glassy eyes were staring at the confused Elf with such intensity that Legolas shifted on his feet, unsure of what to do next.

"Ah, I'm afraid I cannot answer that." Radagast made a shh-ing noise and moved around the house to place Kíli on the bed, where the young rabbit quickly reached him in hopes of consoling the child. Kíli giggled at the tiny little nose nuzzling his face, even if a few tears managed to make their way down his cheeks and a startled sob shook his little body every now and then.

Legolas knelt by the bed, his keen eyes searching something beyond the ring of the blue gemstone and finding it in the disarranged little braids hidden in a mop of brown hair. There was a small silver bead in the end of a disheveled braid; it was the engraving that caught Legolas’ eyes. Seven stars, the anvil, the hammer and the crown. Legolas made an effort to remember, for he had seen the emblem before.

"Durin's folk." He wasn't entirely sure, but Kíli's eyes brightened by the name, giving a clue to the Elven prince. "Who takes care of you, little one?"

Kíli gave him a long stare and Legolas was patient waiting for the answer, hoping Kíli knew enough Westron to get his words.

"Ma!" he said happily and Legolas heard Radagast chuckle, "Fee! Unca Tho'in!"

The chopped names and disarranged pronunciation that only toddler could muster were followed by a series of hand gestures that told Legolas nothing. Radagast on the other hand was nodding to himself, arms crossed over his chest and muttering in a low voice, thinking out loud.

"Yes, yes, your mother of course," Radagast mumbled. "Hum... and older brother... oh, uncle?"

"Aye!" Kíli clapped his hands, "Tho'in!"

"Tho-in?" Legolas tilted his head to the side and Kíli shook his head.

"Tho'in!" Kíli repeated, leaving Legolas lost once again. The elf frowned, mentally recalling the important names he knew of Durin's folk.

"Thorin?" he tried again and this time he got a happy sound from Kíli, "Son of Thráin, son of Thrór..."

Kíli squealed contentedly, hugging the young rabbit against his chest, which didn't seem to mind the toddler’s affection. Legolas sighed, the implications of Kíli's linage were heavier than he thought and the situation even more so. He looked over his shoulder at Radagast, who now was holding his pipe and smoking thoughtfully.

"I need to speak with your father."

He gave Legolas a small smile and the Elven prince nodded in understanding, awkwardly holding Kíli in his lap when the dwarfling climbed up to get a hold of one of Legolas' thin braids, deciding that the blonde elf wasn't so bad after all.

"Yes, of course."

----------

Contrary of Rivendell and Lothlórien, the Woodland Realm's Halls were underground. The cave system was built in resemblance to the caves of Menegroth, where Thranduil and his father Oropher once lived. The Halls resembled a forest hidden underground, with its share amount of proper green life along rock and stone, light crystals along the natural light that bounced from above and an underground river running through it. There were houses on the ground and Sentinel posts in the tree tops outside too, but this was Greenwood’s Stronghold, home of the Elevenking Thranduil and his court.

Legolas suspected that the Halls’ resemblance to a cave was one of the key factors that allowed Kíli to not be so nervous around them. Being underground - even if it was just partially - was something the young dwarf knew and therefore didn’t scare him. It was a great point in their favor.

Kíli clapped the warm water with a giggle bubbling from his chest; sending drops all around and making his amused hosts chuckle.

The trip to woodland realm’s Halls had been thankfully uneventful and Legolas left his father to council with the brown wizard alone, while he and Tauriel took care of their young guest. The first task had been a bath and then a visit to their healer, as Radagast suggested for the dwarfling's wellbeing. Kíli so far had accepted his bath with visible enjoyment, he did not protest when Tauriel undid the disheveled braids to wash his hair, as long as the silver beads remain in his line of vision. Legolas placed them on a plate at the edge of the tub along the chain with the ring of the blue gemstone, and observed Tauriel undertake the task of taking twigs and leaves out of Kíli's hair.

"You're good at this," Legolas commented while handing her another clean rag soaked with a light smelling salve she was to use to clean the cuts over Kíli's little body. Most of the damage had already received a first line treatment thanks to Radagast, now they were looking to his injuries more thoroughly.

"I do have siblings, remember?" Tauriel waited for Kíli to make another splash before taking his hands and running the rag over them, "And this little one is very well behaved so far, considering we're strangers. I was expecting this to be much more difficult."

"It might have something to do with the education his mother has provided." After confirming that Thorin was Kíli's uncle, Legolas was able to get more information on his own regarding Kíli's parentage. "Princess Dís."

"King Thrór's granddaughter?" Tauriel stopped for a moment, only for Kíli to tug at her hand, calling for her attention. The elven warrior smiled and gently poured a cup of water over Kíli's head.

Legolas nodded while reaching to Kíli with another soaked rag to clean his back and torso, making him giggle. Tauriel frowned, "She didn't come with you."

"She's not here," Legolas confirmed, "According to Baranmavar, he was taken from her because of that ring."

He motioned to the ring on the plate and an uneasy silence followed. Kíli didn't mind, he was having too much fun in the big bath of warm soapy water and herb smelling salves.

Once out of the bath, Legolas covered Kíli in a towel that was way too big for him and put him over the nearest counter. The dwarfling shook his head, sending droplets of water around and ran his fingers over it, making a face when he was unable to run them freely over the strands. Tauriel gently took Kíli's hand way from his hair and startled to untangle it with a comb while Kíli hummed to himself.

"Any word from them?" Tauriel dried Kíli's hair before combing it again; trying to mimic the braids he had been wearing before to get the beads on them.

"No, but they must be looking for him, no doubt." Legolas switched to Sindarin, "If they had not given him up for dead already."

Tauriel stopped, worry written all over her face. "They wouldn't give up on their young so easily."

If there was one thing Elves and Dwarves had in common, was their high degree of protection towards their young. She had seen it amongst the caravans and back in the day, when Erebor stood high under King Thráin's ruling.

"He was taken from them," Legolas pointed out, "not without a fight I'm sure... but the fight that was lost."

Kíli seemed annoyed that they were talking in a language he couldn't understand and made his displeasure known by tugging on Tauriel's sleeve, babbling in Khuzdul.

"We're sorry," said Legolas with a bemused smile, once again using Common Speech. "Ah, let me make it up to you, would you like something to eat?"

Kíli eyed him with suspicion, but the glare was broken with Tauriel ran delicate fingers over the back of his neck. Kíli giggled and twisted to return the favor, curious hands looking to tickle Tauriel in return. It was easier that way to get Kíli dressed in a clean set of clothes. Dark trousers, a blue embroidered tunic that fitted him very well and a pair of white flat shoes; Kíli ran his fingers over the embroidery of his new tunic with a deep frown on his face and tested his new shoes with uneasy steps.

"I'm not sure if he likes them," Tauriel was doing her best to not giggle.

"Well, they are his size at least, I'm afraid the tailor couldn't prove us with something more dwarf-like on such short notice."

Kíli took the ring from where Legolas left it and placed around his neck again before declaring he was ready. He took a liking to his new clothes and shoes within the hour; he didn't seem to mind their unfamiliarity as he dangled his feet in the air while sitting in chair, eating bread with honey and fruit slices.

Many curious elves found one reason or another to come to the kitchen to see their unusual guest. Only a couple of young elves, children of the kitchen personnel, were sincere and straight forward and told Legolas they wanted to meet the child they had never seen in the palace before. A little girl lingered, wanting to know more and meet the little dwarf better.

"His ears are round," The little elven girl pointed out as she handed Kíli a sweet pastry, "Is he a child of men?"

"Khazad!" Kíli corrected her with a glare. The little girl just blinked, confused.

"Don't bother the babe Orelsel, he's a guest," The child's mother brought another plate of fruits for Legolas and Tauriel.

"Thank you, Gilwen."

"No need my prince, I'm happy to help."

"He's cute." Orelsel sat besides Kíli, "He's not a child of men, though."

"Khazad," Kíli repeated, rolling his eyes at Orelsel.

"Dwarf," Legolas supplied. "He's a child of dwarves."

"But I thought they were not in the mountain anymore, Ada told me the dragon made them leave," Orelsel said sadly. "Bad dragon."

"A very bad dragon indeed," Gilwen petted her daughter's head and sighed. "Come on dear, help me out with the dinner."

"Yes, Ammë!"

Kíli looked as if he wanted to follow Orelsel but changed his mind at the last minute, looking over his shoulder at Legolas and Tauriel, unsure if walking away from them would be a good idea.

"Kíli," Tauriel called softly, "Would you like to go up and see the gardens?"

Legolas offered his hand and Kíli took it without protest, lacing his fingers on Tauriel's tunic to have a hold on both of them. Both elves exchanged concerned looks. Kíli so far had been acting calm and curious with certain things, but he was starting to show distress over the course of time and getting himself attached to the closest thing to something familiar he could have.

They spend the rest of the afternoon in the gardens, where many animals gathered around to take a closer look at the young dwarf.

"It's a bit odd," Tauriel pointed out, "They are being very friendly."

"Baranmavar said it might be the ring's effect... that it amplifies Kíli's empathy towards animals."

"That seems to be the case," the newcomer's voice was all too familiar to both. Legolas saw his father approach in Radagast's company.

"Adar," Thranduil acknowledged his son with a small smile and a nod, then his attention drifted to the dwarfling a few feet from him. When Thranduil took a step forward, Kíli took a couple of steps back.

"I'm not going to hurt you, child."

Kíli ran pass Thranduil towards Radagast. The wizard lifted Kíli from the ground and carried him, saying a few words in a language Kíli understood very well. Thranduil rolled his eyes, behind him Legolas was smirking and Tauriel covered her mouth with her hand to disguise her amused expression.

"Kíli this is the Elevenking Thranduil," Radagast introduced with a much lighter tone. "Lord Thranduil, this is Kíli, son of..."

"Dís!"

"Yes, yes and she's daughter of—"

"Th'áin!"

"Thráin of course, and he's son of—"

"Th'ol!"

"That would be Thrór, how could I forget? Thanks for reminding me so, Kíli."

Radagast's method to get Kíli to talk also lifted his mood and soon he was not scared of Thranduil anymore. The Elvenking ran his fingers over Kíli's hair to look at the bead with Durin's emblem and then the ring.

"He looks a lot like Thorin," the comment was made almost absentmindedly and was followed by a deep sigh. "Very well Baranmavar, we shall do as you suggest."

"Adar?"

Legolas stepped closer and Radagast took the chance to place Kíli in his arms. Both young elf and dwarfling exchanged puzzled looks, not understanding Thranduil's words and it had nothing to do with the language barrier.

"The young ring-bearer falls under our protection until his kin is to retrieve him," Thranduil's even words only raised Legolas confusion but he nodded anyway. "Captain Tauriel?"

"Yes my Lord?"

"Assist Prince Legolas to see for prince Kíli's safety and alert the sentinels to the possibility of danger. I'm afraid whatever was hunting this young dwarf might be able to make its way into the woodland realm."

"Yes sir, I will see it done."

Tauriel gave a light bow and excused herself to tend to her duties. Legolas noted Kíli's disappointed face at seeing her go and quietly reassured him she will come back later.

"He's staying here." Legolas said as matter of fact and Kíli looked at him tilting his head to a side.

"Yes." Thranduil acknowledged with short reply. "Erebor fell, but our alliance with its people did not."

Legolas adjusted his hold on Kíli so the young dwarf was comfortable in his arms. Kíli was starting to doze off, fighting to keep his eyes open.

The fall of Erebor under Smaug's attack was a sore subject to Thranduil. Greenwood answered Erebor's call for assistance, but the dragon proved to be too strong and by the time the elven forces reached Erebor, the dragon was already sealed inside and the dwarves cast away from their home.

Thranduil had to refuse Thrór's rage filled request to charge against the dragon. the Elvenking had to do so in favor of his people safety, offering other kinds of assistance to the Dwarves of Erebor instead. Prince Thorin spoke for his grandfather and accepted the help Greenwood had to offer to Erebor and Dale, for the king refused to cross words with Thranduil.

Thorin's voice was firm but his eyes were filled with the same rage of his father and grandfather; still the young Prince thought only of his people and not the mountain that was almost impossible to take back in the current situation they were in. Justice and retribution were cast aside for the moment in favor of healing, but this did not change the fact that Erebor was lost and Thorin's people had been left homeless.

Though he never really voiced it, the Elvenking would have liked to do more at the time. His limited aid had restrained their already fragile relationship with the line of Durin. A shame really, he had held Thorin in high esteem back in the day, as the Prince gave him the notion that the grudges of ages past among their races could be overcome in time by renewed actions of cooperation and support between their kingdoms. Thranduil disliked Thrór's arrogance, but saw a future in Thráin and even more so in Thorin. He would have liked to see the kingdom prosper under the young dwarf prince's ruling.

Maybe this was a beacon of hope for the birth of changes anew.

Thranduil looked over his shoulder. Legolas was walking a few steps behind him with a nearly asleep Kíli in his arms. Radagast, who was walking beside the Elvenking was pleased with the results of his intervention. Thranduil didn't miss his son's fond smile towards the dwarfling and sighed. He could rely on his son to look after Kíli; in the meantime he had other matters to attend to, such as the ring with the blue gem and the shadow chasing its bearer.

He also had to contact Thorin somehow, which could prove to be difficult, considering he had no idea where the King under the Mountain was.

Thranduil pinched the bridge of his nose, wondering why the brown wizard always ended up convincing him of one thing or another and wondered if Elrod had this same problem with a certain Grey Wizard.

----------

Radagast had left the young Rhosgobel rabbit with Kíli, who had taken a liking to the young rabbit very quickly and named it Roo. The rabbit was responding to the name and generally being very kind and affectionate with Kíli, calming the young dwarf in his moments of distress most of the time. The brown wizard considered this a small victory.

Kíli was glad to have a companion near him. Roo was warm and fluffy and he made a quiet purring noise when Kíli gently stroked his ears. Kíli gathered the blankets around them and lay on his side, with Roo huddled next to him.

The room Legolas brought him to didn't have many things, but it was nice and Kíli liked the patterns on the ceiling. The bed was large and covered in blankets and cushions with a nightstand next to it. Kíli liked the nightstand and the ornament on it that resembled a small three with tiny crystals that served to light the room. Kíli didn't mind the dark - most of the time anyway - he could see very well in it, but he was fine with having the small light crystal making the room less dark too, because this darkness was foreign to him. This was not his home, this was not his room.

He missed his mother and Fíli, he also missed his uncle Thorin and the room the shared with his brother. He closed his eyes and tried to sleep again, but as soon as he did he could see the orcs pushing and barking things at him. He opened his eyes and bit his lip; it had been a nightmare and he was safe, but he couldn't help it, he was scared.

"Kíli?"

He whimpered and pulled the covers over his head, until someone picked under the blankets to look for him. Kíli opened his eyes slowly; Legolas was sitting on the bed, holding the blanket up to uncover Kíli of his hiding place.

"Can't sleep?" Kíli nodded and Roo jumped to his lap. Kíli pet his ears but his mood didn't improve. Legolas looked at him for a long moment before closing his eyes and starting to sing. The words in Sindarin had no meaning for Kíli, but the melody and the way Legolas sang was enough. The child calmed down and sleep found him once more, this time with no shadows chasing him.

Legolas recalled the conversation he had with his father regarding Kíli's stay in their Halls. The young dwarf was in danger, that much was not only stated but confirmed. Thranduil had concerns about the effects of Durin's ring and how it manifested in Kíli's possession. Durin's ring was a two edged sword at the moment, for it could bring protection to Kíli but also brought the shadow that was chasing him. Whatever wanted the ring, it also wanted its bearer for some reason and Thranduil had stated his apprehension on the matter.

The Elvenking was making plans to locate Kíli's relatives a soon as possible. A simple message to the Blue Mountains wouldn't do. Kíli was not lost, he had been stolen, and whatever his hosts did to help in returning him to his people had to be done with caution.

But Kíli was just a child, little more than a babe in dwarven standards and he had no idea the danger he was in, apparently because an heirloom of the ages before his time had awakened in his hands. He just knew that a group of evil creatures took him from his home and now he missed his family.

Still, the young dwarf was being very strong and Legolas recognized and valued such strength, especially in someone so young.

He kept on humming the lullaby, chasing away the shadows from Kíli's sleep.

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A/N:

Kíli is eleven at the beggining of the story but because dwarves live longer I think they take longer to grow up too, at least in the first stages of life. Don't mind my strange way to convert dwarven-age and elven-age to transitional stages, just roll with it.
Baranmavar – Brown Shepherd / baran - "brown, swart, dark brown",[1] "golden brown",[2] and "brown, yellow-brown".[3] /mavar – “shepherd”
Both in Sindarin. I put together this name for Radagast because Gandalf is the one with all the canon fun of having several names while Radagast officially is only known for two, so if I was going to make Radagast to Thranduil what Gandalf is to Elrond, I might as well come up with a nice Sindarin name for him.
kelvar & olvar: flora and fauna


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