Bofur stared at the sight in front of him, amazed that so much mucus could come out of a tiny child. The little ball of fuzz tried his best at catching the falling fluid with his sleeve. Feeling bad for Ori, Bofur pulled out his favorite handkerchief and handed it to the toddler.
"T'ank you," came the soft response. Little Ori pushed the fabric into his face, trying his best to mimic what his older brothers normally did while wiping their noses. Instead of a simple swipe under his button nose, Ori found himself whacking his own face. "Owwie..."
From the kitchen, Nori could only grimace. He wasn't supposed to be playing babysitter, nevertheless with Bofur tagging along. No, his little brother just had to get sick on the day Bofur was going to show Nori a hidden grove.
"Yeh not supposed 'ta hit yerself," Bofur chuckled as he helped Ori wipe his nose. "Hittin' yerself will get yeh more sick!"
Bofur, on the other hand, enjoyed taking care of the toddler. He faintly reminded Bofur of what happens when a peach is squished with its juices flowing out, and Ori did remind him of the little, fuzzy fruit. The added juices just made it more so.
"Now," he began seriously, straightening himself up, "what's hurtin' yeh?"
Ori glanced down and began to prod his pudgy body. The dwarfling poked himself in the stomach, whimpering from the slight contact. "Tummy hurts."
"Yer Mam said tha'," Bofur explained more to himself than Ori. He placed a cool hand against Ori's burning forehead. "Ah, a fever!"
Nori snorted before stating, "Why are you telling him what we all know? Mum told you everything when you first stepped in. A sick Ori isn't anything new."
"True, but a sick Ori still needs lots of attention, something yer not giving."
"It'll go away eventually," Nori mumbled under his breath, trying to hide his shame. The sick toddler made him more upset, knowing that the tummy bug would have to pass.
Bofur ignored his friend as he tended to the youngest brother. Ori amused himself by playing with the strings of his own tunic, slowly unraveling the fabric in the process. "Oops!"
"Nothin' ter worry about," Bofur said, taking the little dwarf into his arms. "Nori'll just give yeh a bath and new clothes. You are too sticky and icky!"
For a sick child, Ori had the strength to try to worm his way out of Bofur's grip. He tried his best to get to the ground, clawing at Bofur's covered arms and biting him when all else failed. Even Nori couldn't help but smile at his little brother's determination for freedom.
"You get him, Ori!"
Bofur turned around to glare at the whooping dwarf, earning a loud chortle from his best friend. Ori reached out towards Nori for help, but Bofur gave him a kind smile. "A cool bath will make yeh feel better."
With a whine, Ori stopped flailing and grew limp in defeat. True to Bofur's words, Nori had run a bath that made Ori feel much more comfortable. In fresh clothes, Ori ran from Bofur's arms and into his brother's.
"What's wrong now?" Nori asked, quite glad that the fever went down. Snuggling closer with his eyes drooping, Ori sighed.
"I think he's tired."
Nori rolled his eyes at Bofur before carrying his little peach to the nursery. Both dwarves watched as Ori hugged his blanket closer to his body.
"I hope my children are as adorable as yeh brother," Bofur commented as Ori tried to get comfortable in his cot.
"He's normally a little terror; this is all a show," Nori mused, "Compared to the other terrors running 'round here, he is the ideal dwarfling. Mum would die with a son that acted like Thorin's nephews."
Bofur shuddered at the thought of the well-known trouble makers. "Aye, I can't imagine a third one trailing after them. Thank Mahal Ori wasn't born a few years sooner."
"I don't know. I don't think he'd follow the two. He seems more content with books than typical toys."
Nori nodded, remembering a specific event a few weeks prior. "Dori bet that little Ori would crawl over to a stack of books than a pile of wooden swords. You should've seen it, Bofur. He checked out both piles before picking the books. He thought it would be more fun to use the books as blocks. Now he's always in Dori's study, ruining all those old tomes Mum got him."
"Dori's not mad?" Bofur asked with a twinkle in his eyes. The corners of his mouth were pulled up in a slight grin. "He loves everything in that study o' his! He's always throwin' us out!"
"He was at first, but now he purposely leaves children books in reach. I've never seen Ori move so quickly to an object before, well, besides Mum's yarn basket. He's going to be a scholar, he is."
"A knitted scholar."
Nori smiled proudly. "Yes, that as well. Though, I hope he's a better scholar than Dori. I swear, that dwarf loves hearing his own voice. Maybe I can help make Ori a bit more humble..."
Thank you for reading! This is a repost of an old story, and I missed having it on the site. It's short and fluffy, standard of what I do. So thank you again for reading! If you enjoyed it, please review and favorite. Thanks!