Title: Rest Well My Lads

Disclaimer: I don't own any of it I'm just borrowing

Summary: After the BOFA Balin and the others search frantically for missing comrades and are forced to face the bitter end of their quest…

Author's Note: Hello fellow readers and writers! This is my first excursion into the brilliant world of J.R.R Tolkien, I've been reading his stuff for ages and some of the fanfiction as well but I have never written for this fandom. I love the books and I love the movies so I figured I'd give it a go. I was inspired to write this story by a wonderfully heart-breaking drawing I saw on tumbler. I don't remember the artists name but I'd still like to give credit where credit is due. From that beautiful drawing this story sprung, I'm not sure if I will keep it an oneshot or add to it…I hope you enjoy and reviews, critiques, and comments are always welcome!

TA 2941

As Balin continued to survey the carnage about him someone called to him as they approached. As he turned to see who it was he could still make out the familiar shape of the floppy hat even in the fading light.

When Bofur finally reached him he seemed slightly out of breath, but Balin couldn't blame him. It had been a long day, and the night would be even longer.

"Balin, they found Bilbo. They're taking him to see Thorin. We've also found Ori and Bifur, they're banged up alright but they'll recover." He reported to the elderly dwarf when he finally caught his breath.

Balin gave him a small smile. "I'm glad to hear it, it gives me hope…"

At his response Bofur's answering smile fell.

"So you haven't seen or heard from them yet? Thorin keeps asking after them and we don't know what to tell him."

Balin shook his head, "I don't want to tell him anything until we know for certain ourselves. Beorn said he last saw them in this area when he bore back Thorin and that they still stood. How is Thorin?"

Bofur sighed and removed his hat. He fiddled with it for a moment before he replied; "Gandalf and the Elven healers have done all they can. They managed to make him as comfortable as possible but they say he will no… not last the night." He cleared his throat as he averted his eyes.

Balin closed his eyes and lowered his head, he had known all along but having his worst fears confirmed was not easy to hear. He suddenly felt every one of his 178 years weighing down on him. He would be there with him before the end he promised himself, but first he had to do this for his friend. He needed to find his boys.

Before he could reply to Bofur he heard a cry go up, the voice was as familiar as his own and the raw emotion within it was enough to send his heart plummeting to the ground with the dead. Looking around in the direction he heard the cry he finally spotted his brother's familiar form kneeling over something.

Without a word he ran as fast as his weary legs would carry him towards his brother. He could hear Bofur running behind him.

Just before he reached Dwalin he stopped so suddenly that Bofur almost ran into him. He watched as the robust form of his brother shook with silent sobs. If he had any doubts as to what Dwalin had discovered that sight alone was enough to put them to rest.

Dwalin had cared for and helped train the boys since they had been wee dwarflings, loved them as much as he did and Mahal knew how much he loved those boys. Dwalin would react in this manner for one reason and one reason alone.

He started slightly when he felt Bofur's hand land lightly on his shoulder. He nodded his thanks at the small comfort and gathering what was left of his composure he began to move forward once more. When he finally reached Dwalin he saw what had reduced his ever strong brother to such a state. To put it simply it broke him as well.

There at his feet were the two Princes of Erebor, the hope and future of their people, his reckless, wild, joyous lads lay cold and motionless upon the ground. He felt the terrible grief he had been keeping at bay begin to bubble up from somewhere deep within him. He soon found himself kneeling by his brother their shared anguish streaming down their faces as they leaned into one another seeking solace and strength.

Balin noted that even in death the brothers would not be parted. They lay side by side Fili curled protectively around his little brother, one hand tangled in the brown locks that reminded them so much of Thorins' and the other resting limply in his brothers.

Had it not been for Kili's sightless gaze fixed on the heavens or the sinister arrows that protruded from the youth's chest Balin could almost pretend that he had come to check on the lads when he would take care of them as children to insure they slept only to find them in similar positions.

But this brought back a myriad of memories too painful to deal with for the old dwarf, a time of scraped knees and frolicking games, bedtime stories and soothing songs to chase away nighttime terrors.

A choked sob from behind him drew his attention and he watched as Bofur made his way around the two grieving brothers and knelt down by Kili. With a shaking hand he reached out and gently drew his hand down upon the boy's eyes. He let his touch linger before withdrawing it once more, having done what he had intended.

Drawing his hand across his own face in an attempt to wipe away his tears Bofur looked up at them.

"We should get them back, it is getting late… I do not wish to leave them… among this filth." He said in a quiet broken whisper.

Dwalin cleared his throat and mimicked Bofur earlier movement. "Ay, you are right we have lingered here too long. Let us bear them back." He replied gruffly, his voice still choked with emotion.

Bofur looked uncertainly at the brothers than at Kili.

"Should we remove the arrows first…?"

Balin shook his head in reply, "Nay leave them be, it sounds foolish but I wish not to cause him more damage. We shall let Oin or one of the healers see to them."

At this both dwarves nodded in agreement.

Without another word Dwalin reached down and carefully disentangled Fili's hand from his brother's hair. As he gently lifted Fili into his embrace Balin heard his brother's quiet sob as the boy's head shifted and came to rest on his shoulder. That sight too much to bear he turned to look as Bofur bent down to retrieve his charge.

That image was no easier to take than the last. As Bofur and Dwalin came to stand before him he reached out and placed one hand on Kili's brow and the other on Fili's. Closing his eyes briefly and offering up a silent prayer he let his hands fall slowly from their resting place. Feeling as if his heart had been replaced by all the stone in Erebor he turned and lead the slow procession back. His sorrows it seemed to him were only beginning, how was he to tell Thorin?