lynati: (Must. Finish. Fanfic.)
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For want of an arrow...

a Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies AU.

Description: Legolas picked a different target, and we got a whole new world. Kili tries to rebuild his life while dealing with grief and politics; whether surviving the battle is enough to constitute a “happy ending” remains to be seen. (Spoiler warning for the CANON ending of the movie.)



Tauriel is flung into the wall of rock with great force, but the impact is nothing compared to when she sees that Bolg still has Kili by the throat. The armored orc is looking at her, apparently waiting for an audience before going in for the kill. When he sees that she is watching, the huge mace rises again; her heart wrenches as she realizes that the blow Kili took to the head has him too disoriented to save himself.

She tries to push herself up, but her body isn't responding- Tauriel can't even get her knees under her, let alone stand. Everything seems to be happening in slow motion; her breath dragging in and then back out of her throat, the pulses of pain across her body, the widening of Kili's eyes as he realizes she hasn't saved him, only delayed the inevitable: he's going to be speared by the bladed end of the mace.

The arrow catches Bolg in the armpit, causing him to jerk back instead of following through his downswing. The orc's head snaps up, tracking the arrow's source, and ducks in time to avoid taking a second one. Maybe five seconds elapse, but it's enough.

Enough for Kili to get his feet back under him and shove himself sideways so the mace stabs past his chest instead of through it; enough for Tauriel to reclaim her feet and fling herself at the great orc before he can fully recover his balance. She grabs the mace again, and while she lacks the strength to wrest it from him, her hold is enough to impede its use- and this time she knows to watch her center of balance so she doesn't get thrown off, keeping her weight low as her feet dance across his body. This puts them at an impasse; it's taking everything she has to hang on, but as long as Bolg maintains his grip on Kili's throat, his ability to attack her is equally hampered.

Or such is Tauriel's assumption until Bolg decides that Kili himself will make an effective mace, and slams him into her side. It's the first time she finds herself glad neither she nor Kili are wearing plate armor; as it is, she suspects the blow bruised ribs on them both. Bolg's smile grows broad as he realizes that while Tauriel can keep him from bringing his weapon down on Kili, she cannot stop him from bringing the dwarf up to his weapon. Kili's face has taken on a bluish tinge, and she can tell he's fighting just to say conscious. The hand that he's been using to keep Bolg from crushing his throat is growing slack- he's not going to be able to maneuver himself out of the way this time.

Tauriel takes a page from Kili's book and drops her feet from Bolg's back, swinging herself down and the mace up; rather than impaling Kili, the sharp end gouges across Bolg's wrist. He yowls, and either pain or severed tendons cause him to drop the dwarf. Whatever the damage, it's not enough to render his hand completely useless; she takes a punch to the stomach and feels something inside her give with an icy snap. Bolg aims another at her nose and Tauriel opts to let go of the mace and fall away rather than let him break every bone in her face.

She staggers out of the way of his next few blows; that she's drawing him away from Kili is incidental to keeping herself alive.

It's not going to be enough, she realizes. Both she and Kili are already worn down from facing numerous opponents while Bolg is relatively fresh, he's armed and has the advantage of reach while both she and Kili had been divested of their best weapons. She shrieks a curse in her head at Thranduil for the loss of her bow; she could be putting arrow after arrow into Bolg while well out of his reach, distracting him enough for Kili to launch attacks. She doesn't know if help is on its way, or if their allies have already been overrun.

Dodge, feint, roll and fling a fist-sized rock that barely makes her opponent blink, dodge again. Someone calls her name but it's not Kili- a glance shows him clinging to the wall, finding cracks in the rock to pull himself up.

The kick comes out of nowhere; it seems that both she and Bolg had forgotten he had a means of attack beyond his mace. Her legs are scooped out from under her and she lands, hard, on her upper back. Something twists sharply in her gut, the pain magnifying as Bolg places his foot on his midsection and starts to press down.

Tauriel screams; she cannot help it. Bolg isn't looking at her, he's smiling that awful smile at something in the distance. There's a flash of silver that Bolg leans back to avoid, the pressure diminishing but not enough for her to wriggle free. He's still grinning at her inbound ally as he raises the mace over her, intent on making someone watch a comrade die.

Movement, behind Bolg. Kili has both hands wrapped around the pommel of a dagger, and he buries the short blade in Bolg's side before darting out of the way of the orc's retaliatory strike.

He doesn't move quickly enough.

One of the flanges on Bolg's mace catches him across the neck, and blood dances in the air; the force of the blow sends Kili spinning away. Tauriel's mouth opens but no sound emerges. At least, she cannot hear herself; the only sound in her ears is a high-pitched ringing. Bolg is knocked off of her, past her, practically to the cliff edge before Tauriel processes that Legolas has arrived. From his movements she thinks he is fighting with his twin blades; he's too fast for even her eyes to tell. Bolg changes tactics and his new offensive has him gaining ground against the elf instead of being pushed back. Legolas shifts his style as well and manages to help an over-reaching Bolg right off the cliff with a well-timed kick to the blade Kili left in his side.

He spares a glance in her direction, inhales deeply, and then leaps after the orc.

All is still. All is quiet.

All is...not quiet.

Behind her, Kili is gasping in the snow. Tauriel clambers to his side.

The cut is shallow where it trails across his collarbone, growing deeper as it slants towards the join of neck and shoulder, where Kili is clutching. Blood throbs out from between his fingers- but the major vessels must have been missed or he'd have already bled out. The knowledge gives little comfort.

She presses one hand over his to try to help stem the flow, the other numbly reaching for her belt pouch, where she has a handful of Athelas stashed. The plant's healing properties are primarily spiritual in nature; the most it will likely do for Kili's injury is minimize the pain. She knows this in the back of her mind, but every other part of her is screaming for her to try anything that might help. Athelas, strips of cloth ripped from her tunic, snow, all packed against the wound. Prayers to any god that might be listening. She pours herself into him, like at the fisherman's house; unlike that time, there is no shadow to repulse, no infection to rally his system against. Just torn flesh, far more stubborn than an elf's. Mending has never been a strength of hers- she's always been better at taking things apart. But if she can just convince his heart to calm its frantic pounding, convince the blood to stay inside his body...

She doesn't register that she's crying until her tears begin landing on his face. He has tears of his own, leaking from the corners of his pain-struck eyes.

“Tauriel,” Kili mumbles between harsh breaths. It breaks her heart to hear him speak her name, for all the wrong reasons. She is desperate for, and terrified of, whatever he may say next. “You must...find Thorin. Aid him.”

Of all the things she expected, this was not among them. Tauriel mutely shakes her head, unable to voice the torrent of reasons why she will not, cannot, leave him.

“He has to live. Or my death. Won't mean anything.” His eyes flutter closed every time he pauses for breath. The fingers of his injured arm twitch against her knee.

“You are not going to die,” she chokes out, but it's not a promise she can make and they both know it.

“Please,” Kili begs. “He is my king. And I cannot go to him. I've already lost too much.” Blood, she assumes he means, but then he winces violently and gasps, “My brother is dead.” And oh, oh, she hadn't known. She should have; she'd seen the way Fili watched out for him during their brief acquaintance. For Fili not to even be in sight...

His grief is a palpable thing, and it strikes her with near the same force as a orc-borne mace.

“If given a choice. My life, or that of Thorin Oakenshield...I'd be honored to, to lay mine down. And you may have...already saved it. Please, Tauriel,” he pleads again. “If you l...”

His speech falls to coughing, but she knows the words that would have come, and they break her.

“Yes,” she tells him, “Yes, I will go.”

It eases him to hear it, and something akin to a smile twists his features. Tauriel leans forward and presses a desperate kiss to his mouth; he tastes of copper and salt. She wants to linger, to stay by his side until the snow melts away.

She does not.

Tauriel has a handful of arrows but no bow; she looks for Kili's but does not see it, and she again curses Thranduil's name. Weapons, I need a weapon. Tauriel frantically scans the area for one dropped by her or Kili. Metal in the snow. Her hand locks around the grip, and she lifts it. It's not her blade, but one she recognizes; Legolas took it from Thorin Oakenshield back in Mirkwood. She remembers the flash that distracted Bolg just before Legolas's arrival, and knows now what it was he threw.

She can't look back. She cannot go back. There is only forward, sight and motion.

Tauriel runs.



*

That's just the scene, not the whole first chapter. But progress, hey?
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