Chapter 1: In Which Soulmates Are Not Lovers
Pairings: Gen (this part);[Fic Pairing]Consensual Azog/Fíli, Smaug/Kíli/Bilbo
Word Count: 2971 (3850 total so far)
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit no one would die
Summary: Fíli and Kíli are soul-mates, but have different names over their hearts.
In Which Mahal Makes a Choice
There was great rejoicing and great sorrow within the House of Durin when its youngest heir was born with runes wrapped around his wrist. At the moment of his birth, his name appeared on another's skin as well and the sons of Dís were bound with Mahal's blessing forevermore.
There was joy because dwarf children are a rare and precious treasure, even more so when kin to a much beloved king. Also that both their princes would grow alongside their umùrâdulganaz was the luckiest of omens, and Durin's Folk met this miracle with a joyful celebration that lasted days on end.
However, there was also grief at the knowledge that the truest line of Durin would end upon the princes' deaths, for Thorin's umùradulganaz had been lost when Erebor fell so many years before. It was a wonder that their king still lived with such a scar upon his heart and none of his people begrudged his empty bed. However, now that his heirs were bonded to each other, Thorin's hopes for the future had been dashed and the idea that Dáin would one day rule their people galled at the royal family's pride.
Yet Mahal's blessing could not be questioned and their Maker had never chosen wrong, so Dís took comfort in the fact that her boys would always have each other and eventually the joy won out.
Thus Fíli and Kíli grew up bright and happy children, who indeed were never far apart. Where one went the other was sure to follow and when one found trouble, the other was always there to pull him out.
Dís often wanted to tear out her hair in exasperation at their antics for her sons shared a trickster's soul and a master's skill at flimflam and they were wild terrors when they were young. The brothers soon learned that few could resist two sets of wide and pleading eyes and they perfected their innocent faces after the first time that Thorin caught them playing with his swords and they had to clean the stables for a month.
From that point on whenever Fíli and Kíli caused mischief and mayhem they were careful to have an alibi, and while everyone often knew they were the culprits, no one could prove it beyond a doubt. The terrible duo was always quick to point out that someone else could have tied their guards beards together while they slept or convinced visiting human dignitaries that the proper dwarvish greeting was to spin around three times, though their uncle laughed so much at the last one that he didn't investigate too hard.
As they grew older, their jokes became more elaborate as simple pranks evolved into complicated schemes that required careful planning and perfect synchronicity. However, they were careful to never cause real harm and even as she despaired of reigning them in their mother had to marvel at their skill. With Fíli's gift for scheming and Kíli's reckless daring, the two were truly unstoppable and everyone learned to beware their laughing smiles.
No one was safe from their pranks, which Dwalin learned to his regret the day he took over as their bodyguard and forgot to lock his door. However, he had his revenge and the bright purple of his hair was almost worth it to see the lads still flinch years later whenever someone brought up cabbages.
Yet for all their jokes, Fíli and Kíli had good hearts and they funneled this boundless energy into more serious pursuits as they aged and mellowed slightly. Watching them together, even those who had doubted Mahal's wisdom in depriving them of heirs had to admit that the Valar was right; the brother's were two sides of the same coin and the bond of the umùrâdulganaz obviously ran true.
What Kíli designed, Fíli forged; what Fíli read, Kíli knew and when they fought it was as two bodies with a single mind. In all things they excelled, for each was skilled where the other faltered and together the brothers were far more than the sum of their parts.
However, despite the truth of Mahal's blessing and the approval of their kin, Fíli and Kíli knew that they were different nonetheless. It took them years to realize it because on the surface they seemed like any other pair, gifted with the ability to know each other's thoughts and locations, with skills and interests that fit together perfectly and a love that was as natural as breathing.
So their first inkling that something was off was the day their uncle took them aside and explained the Talk to them together, complete with diagrams and a stick figure couple on which he'd drawn their hair. Fíli could only shrug at his brother's questioning glance and offer hesitantly, 'Maybe it's just more efficient this way?'
But neither of them could believe it and from then on things began to add up, little things that they had never really paid much attention to before. Fíli found that other dwarves would frown at him when his eyes wandered after handsome strangers, looking to his brother as though expecting him to mind. No one ever mentioned the idea that either of them might fall in love and when Kíli asked his mother if she ever wanted grandchildren, Dís stared at him as though he had gone mad.
Yet despite these clues, the light of realization did not ignite in their minds until the brothers were finally nearing their maturity and their parents presented them with a suite of rooms that, while gorgeous, contained only a single double bed.
'They expect us to do it!'
'What, with you? Why would I want to do that?'
'Don't ask me, your breath is terrible. Just smile and thank them for now, we'll figure this out later.'
The pair had always known that all the other umùrâdulganaz were lovers, at least once they were old enough to recognize such things, but it had simply never occurred to them that everyone expected this from them as well. It was not the thought of having a male lover that bothered the brothers or even the incest, because with Mahal's blessing no love could be taboo. They simply didn't want to and they had no idea why.
A lack of love was not the problem because Fíli adored his little brother; he cared for him deeply and would have died for him without a thought. Kíli was his best friend and his eternal companion, the first one he turned to to share his joys and the one he knew would be there to ease his pain. However, despite this, Fíli was not in love with him, and his brother felt exactly the same.
Kíli knew that his older sibling would always be there for him, to support him through his failures and help to reach his dreams, just as he would stand with Fíli and catch him when he fell. Yet that was as far as it went because there was no desire for the other bound beneath his skin and the thought of laying with him seemed as distant the moon.
So the brothers lay sprawled upon the single bed their parents granted them and they wondered why they never felt it. Why they took comfort in each other's warmth and presence but never felt what everyone else obviously expected: the need to stroke and kiss and fuck. But they had no answer and eventually Kíli tucked his head under his brother's chin and asked the question that lingered in the back of both their minds.
'Do you think there's something wrong with us? Because we're not in love?'
Fíli could feel the worry rolling off of Kíli and was quick to reassure his brother just like he always did. 'Don't be stupid. We may be different but that doesn't make us wrong. There's no reason all umùrâdulganaz have to be lovers, is there?'
'I don't know. Everyone just seems to think that's the only option. It certainly explains uncle's talk though, remember?' He grinned when Fíli winced in old embarrassment before his mood sobered once again. 'But all the others are, except for us and the lack of desire can't be because we're related or they would have expected it; I mean I walked in on Balin and Dwalin once and they certainly didn't have a problem with the brother thing.'
'Thanks so much for that mental image,' Fíli poked Kíli in the head softly before continuing. 'And don't worry so much about it. We know Mahal blessed our souls truly and the other will come in time or not as he wills. Though maybe we shouldn't mention the issue to anyone else in case we're just late bloomers and I wake up tomorrow wanting to ravish you.'
'Eww, you better not.' Kíli laughed, his cheerful mood restored by his brother's teasing reassurance, and he settled down more comfortably as he finally drifted off to sleep.
His brother followed him down soon after, drawn to slumber by the simply joy of his umùradulganaz's dreams. However, as the years passed and their relationship remained unchanged, strong as ever but still platonic, they couldn't help but wonder what exactly Mahal had in store.
Yet it was not until the day that the elder brother reached his majority that they received a sign, and even that created as many questions as it answered.
It began with a burning centered over Fíli's heart at the exact anniversary of the young dwarf's birth. Though there was no pain, the sensation left him breathless and when his knees grew weak he staggered and clutched at the wall. Kíli sensed his distress and was at his side in moments, sliding under his brother's shoulder to support him to their room.
Once there Kíli sat him on the bed and hovered, his hands waving helplessly as Fíli gasped for breath. However, eventually the fire eased and the elder dwarf recovered enough to pull open his shirt and reveal a new mark slowly coming into view upon his chest.
Black and grey, the image shimmered like a river on a moonlit night as it resolved into a great three-pronged claw that was ringed with a jagged foreign script. The brothers stared at the mark branded on Fíli's heart in shock until a look passed between them and Kíli brought his wrist up to compare.
“It's the same,” he whispered. “Different script, but it's the same.” 'What could this mean?'
'I don't know.' Fíli answered before trying to explain what had happened to him. 'It feels like the bond of the umùradulganaz except that it's pulling on my heart instead of on our spirit. Like there's someone out there calling me and I'll know them when we meet.'
Kíli reached out and traced the claws gently with a finger. 'Well I guess this finally explains why we've never been attracted to each other. Mahal must have someone else in mind for you then, a kurdulganaz to be your love, though this is no script I recognize.'
Indeed it was not a language that either of the pair had ever seen before and although they searched through all the common sources they found no answers there. With each failed attempt, Fíli's worry grew because how was he supposed to find his kurdulganaz with a name he could not read as his only guide?
Finally after several months, Kíli copied the writing onto a piece of paper and took it to Balin, for the old dwarf was a master of many rarer tongues and if anyone could shed some light upon Fíli's predicament it would be him.
This time he went without his brother to the surprise of all who saw him pass, but the pair had agreed to keep Mahal's new blessing a secret from their people until they learned more of what it meant. However, when Balin looked down at the paper Kíli held and scowled, the young dwarf knew that the news would not be good.
Not good at all because the steward's eyes hardened and his fists clenched tight as he asked the prince, “Where did you find this evil, lad? In what foul corner was it hidden?”
At these words, Kíli felt his blood freeze in his veins and he knew that Fíli would feel his distress but he managed to keep his voice from trembling when he replied. “We were searching through some of the older archives and it fell from one of the books. What is the matter with it? Can you not read it?”
“Nay lad and that is as it should be. None of the fair folk of Middle Earth would speak such a dangerous tongue, for that is orcish and no fouler speech has ever been transcribed.”
Kíli made his excuses quickly and practically ran back to his brother, Balin's words rattling in his brain. He almost wished that he could hide them and spare Fíli the pain, but there had never been secrets between them. Indeed there could be no secrets between them and when he returned to their rooms, Kíli could see the knowledge of what he had learned staring out from behind his brother's eyes.
So he held Fíli as he raged against their Maker and wept bitter, anguished tears. What kind of blessing could it be when Mahal tied his heart to one of their enemy? What kind of blessing when he tied him to a monster and for the first time the dwarf cursed the Valar's name.
However, eventually Kíli felt his brother's rage ease and his tears stopped as the dwarf started thinking truly about what such a choice could mean. Surely Mahal would not do such a thing without a reason? Surely there must be a purpose behind this yearning that he felt?
Finally Fíli raised his head to look up at his brother and Kíli could see the question in his eyes, the question he was terrified to ask.
'Don't be stupid, brother. It's me and you always and forever, no matter what you choose. I will support you even if you decide to never speak of this again. You should know that because you'd do the same for me.'
'And if I chose to answer my kurdulganaz's call and see where it might lead?'
'Even then, Fíli, I'm with you even then. Just think, if this works out it could change our people's lives forever. Or get us banished, but we're not going to contemplate that, are we? There's no point in worrying about it before we ever find them and I know if I left you to your own devices you'd never manage that. Besides...'
He clapped his brother on the shoulder and grinned that irrepressible grin. 'You're going to need me if we're going to find a way to learn orcish, Balin seems to think that it simply can't be done.'
At that Fíli laughed, the foundations of his world settling back into place at Kíli eternal optimism. 'I guess we'll just have to show him that nothing's impossible when we put our minds to it, won't we?'
So they plotted and they planned and over time they found ways to reach their goal. Fíli searched through the oldest books to discover snippets of orcish writing here and there, while Kíli took the more direct route and started accosting travelers instead.
The most useful were the rangers who passed through Ered Luin from time to time for in their long history of battle they had picked up enough of the language to teach the dwarves the basics. If those basics mostly had to do with blood and war as opposed to matters of the heart, then that was the price they had to pay.
However, their best resource appeared through sheer dumb luck and perhaps that was a sign that Mahal approved their quest. For it was rare that an orc or goblin would be taken captive, neither side was in the habit of showing mercy in their wars, but this time someone thought that information was more important than revenge.
The new prisoner was a truly grotesque example of its kind both in mind and body and Fíli nearly quailed at the thought that the one he searched for could be just the same. However, while he was busy panicking, Kíli quietly made a deal and then smacked his brother out of his hysteria. Soon enough the princes were taking lessons whenever they could, expanding on their orcish in exchange for supplying food and other luxuries. While the orc was frustratingly illiterate and obviously thought that they were mad, under his tutelage their grasp of the spoken language grew in leaps and bounds.
Thus they were well on their way to preparing for the future by the time five years passed and it was Kíli's turn. This time they recognized the signs, so when a mark bloomed upon his heart in a painted splash of flame and flowers Fíli was there to hold his brother tight and support him through the change. He helped him come to terms with the new ache that filled his being and comforted Kíli when the dwarf looked down upon his chest and cried out in frustration.
“Oh come on! That's not even a language this time!”
But Fíli was there to remind his brother that Mahal seemed to have a sense of humor when it came down to their lives, and he promised that they'd weather this challenge together just as they had tackled all the rest.
In Which Flowers Are a Language
umùrad/umùrâd - soul/souls
kurdu/karûd - heart/hearts
umùradulganaz - soul of god's origin
karûdulganaz - hearts of god's origin