Recipient's name: mahmfic
Title: A New Start
Request: 10. I would love a gift involving the family 'Ur (Bombur, Bofur and Bifur) from the Hobbit. Maybe how Bifur took care of Bombur and Bofur growing up. Or the aftermath of Bifur's injury. Daily struggles (and joys) the family 'Ur go through as your average dwarves. BONUSES: Any Aus, hurt/comfort, angst, humor, dark. DON'S: Genderbending, 1st person pov, 2nd person pov, character hopping, crack. Thanks!
Summary: A moment between the dwarf family after an orc attack.
The stench left by the fire and battle lingered in the air still. All around him was the grim sight of the charred stone and the wood burnt down to cinders.
Black was all he saw. Black had become his home.
They were no where near royalty, but they had lived here comfortably before the orcs had attacked. It was his father’s and mother’s abode, as it was his father’s father’s home. Overnight a house full of dwarven memory, lovingly built over the centuries, was reduced down to ash. But he, Bifur son of Bofar, still stood, wounded but alive.
He found his cousins Bofur and Bombur crouched, rummaging through a pile of cinder for want of salvaging whatever they could. The talk amongst themselves drew to a halt the moment a shadow fell over them. Dropping whatever he was carrying, Bofur turned to face his cousin.
“Bifur! What are you doing out of bed?” he asked. The delighted surprise in seeing Bifur out of bed without aid overshadowed the need to reprimand him for doing exactly that.
The healer had advised a couple more weeks of bed rest, but Bifur was too impatient. He always believed lack of movement was cause for disease, so he kept the cane close by his bed. He had taken walks around whatever remained of their home, kicking his feet back into motion. Often a healer or one of his cousins walked with him lest he lost his balance. He still couldn’t feeling his right arm completely, but it was in a far better shape than it had been when he had woken.
He was declared a lucky dwarf to survive with an axe to the head. The weapon was still lodged in his skull to forever remind him of the battle and the night he lost his home and his treasures. The healers and his cousins had sawn off the handle but would not otherwise remove the axe. They feared doing so could cause further damage, and they counted themselves lucky to have him alive at all.
Bifur was well and expected to return to work once his body rested. However the axe had left him with one tiny peculiar complication.
“You said they brought us a token of some kind?” Bifur asked, his mustache twitching with interest. He was not incredibly fond of the elves, but to disregard them completely after that night would be a dishonorable and foolish act.
Bofur’s eyes lightened up and he motioned excitedly for Bombur to retrieve it. Ash and soot kicked off around him as he went.
Bifur had to shake his head at his cousins’ foolishness for resting the gift among the debris. It had been offered by a Kinn-lai tribe who had been among their rescuers. Dwellers in the forest near the Blue Mountains, they were of an Avari people, separate from the elves of the Grey Havens but not unfriendly to them. The Avari had seen the orcs besiege the gates of the mountains, and a small army had charged out of the forest and after the orcs.
Proud as they were, Bifur had to admit the casualties would have been far greater had the elves not intervened. He had tried to thank them personally, being the eldest of the three dwarves in this household, except when he tried to speak, Bombur’s eyes had widened.
“Use Westron, cousin!” he had hissed, urgent and fearful.
But Bifur had not understood at first, until he became aware, for he had thought he was speaking the proper language. But somehow, but thanks of this axe he had lost all ability to communicate in the common tongue. It left Bofur as the spokesperson for the family. Had Bifur been in a lighter mood he would have laughed and declared them all doomed.
Thanking Bofur and Bombur, Bifur took the Kinn-lai’s token into his hands and dusted it free of any soot. It was a fine long piece of ebony wood, polished to perfect smoothness. Bifur turned it over in his hands, searching for any inscription, perhaps some elvish sentiment on the importance of unity and interracial friendship, or whatever other nonsense the elves constantly advised but rarely followed themselves. He found none.
“Strange that the elves would offer us so rare a gift,” Bofur said. “What do you suppose it means? A token of friendship?”
“Perhaps we are to light our fire with it?” Bombur offered.
“A wood as finely crafted as this?” Bifur shot Bombur an incredulous look. “No, there is nothing that ties this back to the elves.” Bifur tugged on his beard, but he was smiling. “It is no token of friendship or a gift or our wood for tonight’s meal. They saw the damage to our house and knew we needed to build ourselves again. This is charity.”
There wasn’t bitterness in his voice. They had lost everything, and to shun an offering in earnest would only doom them.
“Bofur! Bombur! How are the whittling tools?”
“Some are damaged, but we can still use a few of them,” Bofur said and went searching for the supplies. Bifur nodded and turned back to the wood, his mind calculating how many they could produce out of one piece.
“Here!” Bofur said a few moments later, a little breathless and soot-faced, waving the bag in front of Bifur.
“Watch it, they’re sharp!” Bifur snatched the bag out of Bofur’s hand with a disgruntled snort, but he was glad for a chance to take a better look at their supplies. Two of the knives had been completely damaged. One’s blade was bent at a weird angle, but it would take some careful effort by a blacksmith to straighten it back for them; they could bargain with a friend, offering some of their services in exchange for the tool getting straightened out. The other two suffered little to no damage. Assuming this was all they had to work with, they could make do with these three tools.
“This will be enough,” Bifur mumbled under his breath. Then noticing his cousins’ curious looks, he showed them the wood and motioned with his hands, drawing lines over the surface.
“We can make a few figurines with this: here, a solider; here, a farmer.” Bifur traced around his ideas before them. They were not toymakers by trade, but they had made and sold a few to some of the local young dwarves from neighboring homes. The elves must have heard of their skill and thought this a suitable offer. “We’ll sell them around. Our skill is well enough that it’ll fetch us a good price. Should be enough to get us some food, and possibly a month’s rent.”
“A month’s rent?”
He nodded at their frowns. “We will not be staying here.”
“But…” Bofur pushed past, making for the door. Bombur and Bifur followed, Bifur using his cane while tucking the long piece of wood under one arm. The normal bustling village outside their house was silent, as charred as the Broadbeam dwarven home. Most had already left. Of those who remained, some only did so until their loved ones had grown strong enough to leave the house. Very few were adamant about staying and rebuilding the southern Blue Mountains.
“It could takes years for this place to see business again,” Bifur said. “The mines are closed. The shopkeepers are either dead or had already left. What is there left for us here?”
“But our family’s memories —” Bofur began.
“Our family is strong and will continue to make more memories,” Bifur finished firmly. “But not here.”
Seeing their forlorn looks, he set the cane and the wood against his leg and motioned them both into his arms. He held them into a tight embrace.
“Despair not! We are well and together and have each other! No orc can break that bond, and no orc shall break our spirit! There is another home and another happiness north of here waiting for us! The year is closing, and now it is time for a new start!”