Taking a break from the Durins to write a story for the Brothers Ri :) This was a prompt request from Scarlet Pimpernel00 It turned out to be more of a hurt/comfort than a fluff fic, but it still has fluff in it. I hope you like it!

I had a good time trying out some different characters and I've been wanting to write a Dori, Nori, Ori story (try saying that three times fast!) for a while. This one was really inspired by Tenshi-Inverse's lovely fanart. You can look her up on Deviantart. If you haven't seen her art yet, go look at it, because there's so many beautiful Hobbit things :)

Still My Brother

A Hobbit Fanfic

Ori knew that he shouldn't really be afraid. Nori had taught him that, and he really wanted to show his big brother that he was not scared, but he was. He couldn't help it. Nori had come home all bloody and bruised, and Dori had yelled at him and sent Ori to his room before he could even greet his other brother. He knew it was hard for Dori having too look out for both of them; Mr. Bofur had explained it to him once, even though he was still a little too young to understand. He only barely remembered his mother, but she had never been as loving as either Dori or Nori, and while he was grateful that Dori cared for him and looked after him instead of leaving him in an orphanage as he would be completely justified in doing, he did so wish that he was not so mean to Nori all the time.

"Why do you continue to do this to me?" Ori could hear them arguing now, Dori grieving in his indignant screech, and he pictured Nori standing there silent, arms folded over his chest and his eyes cast down. "You could die, you know! You could end up dead in a gutter for all that you do, Nori, and what would I do then?"

Ori was still scared; he didn't want Nori to die. He crept out of his room and slipped down the hallway, but stopped when Dori started speaking again.

"You know how much Ori looks up to you; is that not enough of an incentive to make a change for the better? What do you think he'll grow up to be? A thief, a cheat and a liar who comes home broken and bloody after scrapping in the gutters?"

"Dori, stop. It's not that bad," Nori mumbled as Ori pressed his knees up to his chest, even more scared now.

"Not that bad?!" Dori screeched. "Nori, your face is a mess, and your knuckles are bruised and bleeding—and this, is this a rip in your coat where someone tried to knife you in the ribs? Oh brother, please, why must you continue to do this?"

Nori never replied. Ori felt tears prick his eyes as he heard the anguish in Dori's voice.

"Just please stop," the older dwarf whispered. "For me, for Ori."

Ori crept forward and looked around the corner to see Dori kneeling beside the chair Nori sat in, one of the younger's hands clutched tight in his and their foreheads resting together. Then Dori washed Nori's hurts and left him sitting there alone. Ori watched Nori lean over with a deep sigh and rest his head in his hands. Ori had never seen him like that before, and he was sad and worried about his brother. He wasn't sure he should make himself known, but Nori looked like he needed something to help him, so he got to his feet and crept over to the chair.

Nori heard him coming before he got there and looked up with a start, seeming somewhat surprised to see Ori there.

"Ori," he said quietly. "You should be in bed."

Ori gently put a hand on Nori's knee and shook his head. "I was—I was scared."

Nori looked at him, shaking his head slightly. "I told you not to be afraid, Ori. There's nothing to be scared about."

Ori tried to keep a straight face, he so wished he had that ability like Nori to do so, but he felt it crumple and he buried his face on Nori's lap. "I—I just don't want to l-lose you, N-Nori!" he sobbed.

Nori looked down at the dwarfling in shock and then reached down to pull him into his lap, pulling his face upward to look him in the eye as he wiped the tears away with his thumb. He didn't want to admit it, but he felt guilt rise in him. Guilt at what Dori had said, something Ori obviously had overheard. Maybe he really should try to go straight. True, he did what he had to to survive, so they could put food on the table, but maybe there were other ways. Things that weren't quite so dangerous. He would give it all up just to save him having to watch his little brother cry again.

"Ori, you're not going to lose me," he said gently, cuddling him close to his chest and trying to console him. "You do know that I do everything for you and Dori, right? So that you can eat and have a place to sleep at night?"

"I don't care," Ori said, shaking his head. "I don't care if we sleep on the ground outside, I just don't want you to get killed!" He buried his face in Nori's shoulder and gripped his tunic as if he would never let go. Never let Nori leave again. Nori sighed and rocked him slightly.

"Hey, you know how I got these bruises?" he asked gently. Ori shook his head and sniffed some more, trembling. "Well, I got 'em, because some…silly dwarf…thought he would insult my family. And he wanted to take you to work in his forge, and he's not a nice dwarf, Ori. I couldn't let him have you. Dori thinks I was hustling for money, but I wasn't. Not this time." He smiled slightly and looked down at the top of Ori's head, hearing his sniffing subside. He carded his fingers through the short hair. "I just wanted to protect you, Ori. Will you hate me for that?"

Ori shook his head firmly and sat up to look at Nori again. "I love you, Nori," he said. "And you'll still be my brother, no matter what you do, no matter what Dori, or anyone else says. Just—be careful!"
Nori smiled at him. "I will be, because I know someone has to look after you and Dori. Now smile, little one, and get some rest. I'll not go anywhere else tonight."

Ori forced a smile, and lay back down against Nori's chest, feeling safe and content in his big brother's arms. Nori watched as he fell asleep, and was so tired and sore from his day's escapades, that he soon slipped off himself.

Dori came out a while later and saw his two younger brothers sleeping in the chair by the fire. He could not help the fond smile that came to his lips. For all his faults, he did love Nori so dearly, and little Ori was his sunshine in an otherwise dour life. If he never had a son of his own, he would not feel too at a loss, for he had one in his much younger brother. He went to his room to fetch a blanket and brought it back out, draping it over both of them. Nori started awake as he usually did when someone got too close to him while sleeping, his hand darting out to wrap warningly around Dori's wrist, but as soon as he saw it was his older brother, he relaxed and Dori put a gentle hand on his bruised cheek.

"Sleep, brother," he whispered and bent to kiss the top of Ori's head before he headed off back to his own bed.

Nori settled back, glad for the warm weight of Ori against his chest and fell asleep, really content for the first time in a long while.