What Could Have Been – Safe Amongst Kin

Author Note: This is just one of the probably many chunks of story I couldn’t fit into The Unexpected. The chapters will probably range from Drabble style to full small chapter lengths.

Chapter Title – Safe Amongst Kin

Third POV

Bella’s body ached, ached in a dreadful way that left her groaning when she moved. Grief was a harsh thing, the fading of all.

“I’m going to sleep.” She murmured to whoever was on watch, her eyes burning with the frigid wind that came from the mountains. She cast a look around the others, a smile tugging on her face as she saw their peaceful sleeping faces.

Somehow, somewhere all of them became her family, even if she never told them they will be treated and announced as such forever more. Though, she knew that their passing would near kill her if she survived somehow… maybe she could offer them a place in the Undying Lands, but she would not rip them from Mahal’s halls because she was selfish in wanting to keep them with her forever…

“You know, to sleep means you close your eyes.” Bifur grunted his voice deep and harsh.

Bella hummed and nodded. “I couldn’t help it. I was taking in the view, committing it all to memory before we make way to the misty mountains.”

“…Sleep Lady Elf.”

With a deep sigh she pressed her back against the tree trunk and let her eyes close shut. Really, she should have known better than to fall asleep at this stage, she was surrounded by open spaces and darkness. She was not home, she was not safe and yet she was for as she said, she thought of the Dwarrow around her as kin and she felt safe with them.

So really, she should have known better than to fall asleep at this time.

It was Dwalin who woke first his body lurching up as a scream pierced the air, one that sent a pang of fear into his heart as he held the axes in his hand, sleep haze gone as another scream pierced the night.

“Namad!” Dwalin yelled, axes dropping and rushed to her side, weaving in and out of the rousing company. He knelt by her side, trying to shake her awake as she screamed and screamed, eyes wide and unseeing.

“Dwalin! What happened?” He heard someone yell but he couldn’t answer them as he had no clue.

Bifur jerked out of his shock. “She is asleep, it is a nightmare.”

Both Balin and Dwalin jerked, their heads shooting up to look at the dwarf who spoke. “She doesn’t sleep! Elves rest but are aware of their surroundings; they only rest fully when they know they’re safe…” Balin trailed off, his eyes flickering over the placement of where Moriel was resting and the others. She was near Bifur, he at her back. The Ur brothers on one side, Ri brothers in the direction of her feet. He and Dwalin were on her left and then the rest seemed to complete the circle.

Oh… oh… “She’s safe.” Balin whispered softly but it carried over the muffled screams of his sister, as Dwalin covered her mouth and tried to wake her.

“What was that?” Óin asked confused, raising his horn once more to his ear.

“She’s safe… with us.” Balin supplied the words heavy on his tongue. He knew she considered he and Dwalin kin but he never knew she felt safe within the company to the degree she would sleep in open.

He remembered a time of war, of flushed skin and delirious eyes as he watched Moriel struggle to heal amongst the Dwarrow healers after her attack. Watched as she fought against them with bare hands and random tools, only relaxing as her eyes landed on Dwalin or himself. This was two years after the battle mind you, two years of her looking after them.

“An elf does not rest fully unless they feel safe, even when sick or injured.” Dwalin muttered, casting a glassy look up at his brother, the memories too on his mind.

“So… she feels safe enough to relax around us? Th-that’s good right?” Ori stammered out.

Dwalin sighed in relief as Moriel stopped screaming, but she still thrashed and silently did so. “Yes and no. Yes because this means she trusts us to protect her but not because… because Lady Bella is old Ori, she has seen much death and bloodshed than we ever have.”

Moriel cast a hazy glance up at him, her eyes pained. “Sorry for frightening you Dwal.”

“What causes you ill thoughts Moriel, is it the attack still?” He asked softly, brushing back the hair from her face.

“I have been on this earth since the first Age Dwal, many wars and deaths I have seen. Battles against beasts and even the darkness himself long ago… death and ruin on visions of those.” She murmured sighing as he placed a cool rag upon her head. He was furious that the healers had refused to summon her kin’s help.

“Dwal?” Bella murmured blearily, old screams echoing in the dark. “There was a dragon of brilliant green, my flesh burning… then there were many, so many orcs. I lost Elrond in the battle and came face to face with the Monster himself; he held my Sisters head in his hand, had all of your heads in his grasp.”

No one spoke as they watched and listened to the murmurs with horror. Watched as the toughest and roughest of the group held Lady Bella in his arms tightly, guiding her head under his chin and on his shoulder.

“Yer safe Namad. The War of Last Alliance is over… It is the year 2941 in the third age.” Dwalin stated firmly, holding her to reality now but his eyes were on the company as they took in what he just said. Slowly and surely each of the elder Dwarrow’s blanched and cast a look down at the elf that was once again asleep.

“Bless my beard!” Glóin sputtered out, practically dropping down in shock. “I know the lass is old but… really?”

Óin snorted and glanced down at his brother. “Lord Elrond said she was one of the five left, all elves were in the Last Alliance against him. Many of their kin and kith died on that battlefield.”

“It was brutal; they could not recover all the dead from the marshes, their souls resting in the water.” Bombur whispered.

Kili and Fili frowned. “We don’t get it.”

Thorin said nothing as he looked down at the elf before him, his brows pulled down in a frown. He knew the battle that they spoke of, the War of the Last Alliance was the last stand men and elves made to protect the free people from Sauron. In fact there were not many elves left from before that war as they sailed to the Undying Lands to escape the horrors of that battle.

Balin and Dwalin ignored the others as they spoke, the elders filling in the information for the younger ones quietly. With a gentle care, both of the Fundin brothers eased their Namad into a more comfortable position, taking up the roles as her protectors and pillows of warmth while she rested.

Tomorrow was another day but tonight, tonight they will give their sister a night of rest even if they didn’t get any. Slowly and surely the others moved their bedrolls closer, each with a weapon in hand. No one mentioned it but they all stood watch that night.

Author Note: Okay, so this has been on my mind and well, yeah… It didn’t fit in with The Unexpected. This was based in the days they left Lord Elronds and before the Misty Mountains.



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