Author's note: Just a bit of drabble I thought up about the relationship between Dwalin and Nori. This is not a romance, and if anything suggests otherwise it was purely unintentional. Parts are based on the book/movie with some alteration, but most of it is made up. I claim no ownership of the characters, that belongs to Tolkien, but I hope you enjoy my musings all the same.

Shadows played across the face of the slight figure crouched in the alleyway. The young dwarf smiled grimly to himself, glancing around the corner to ensure he was alone before slipping further into the darkness. He felt a surge of confidence, the thrill of accomplishing something unheard of. Reaching into his pocket, he fingered the gems that rested there, unable to resist pulling one out and watching as the pale light of the moon shone off its delicate facets. He had acquired the precious goods from a human caravan come to trade at Ered Luin. The foolish men would likely not notice for hours that any of their goods were even missing. They had posted very few guards, and the ones that were on the job at night were too busy joining in the revelry of their fellows to bother for the safety of their cargo.

Nori froze when he heard a soft sound nearby, his free hand instinctively resting on the hilt of one of his many daggers. Hurriedly tucking the gem back in his pocket he remained unmoving, listening to the night noises of the settlement. Hearing nothing more out of the ordinary, the thief relaxed. He extended one foot after the other, taking care to keep his steps silent as he made his way slowly back to the main street. From there it was his plan to walk casually out into the open and home, making it appear to be nothing but a late night stroll. He stepped around the corner and right into the tight grasp of a pair of all too familiar burly arms.

"Out for a walk are we?" Dwalin asked casually, his tone dangerously calm as he glared at the source of all his trouble of late. The captain of the guard was becoming more and more irritated with the persistent thief, his many visits to the local jail only seeming to make him more crafty instead of discouraging him like all the others. Motioning another guard forward with a nod of his head, he watched as Nori's pockets were emptied, eyes widening slightly at his findings. The dwarf had the audacity to grin at him even as he was divested of his ill gotten prize, though thankfully he chose to remain silent at present.

Marching along purposefully, Dwalin hefted the culprit by the back of his shirt, shaking him when he offered a muted protest against the violent treatment. He was quickly tossed into a cell where he would likely wait until morning for his elder brother to bail him out yet again.

Sure enough, dawn was breaking when the distraught Dori bustled over to the bars with a cry of denial. "Oh Nori, why? Why can't you just stop doing this?"

Nori looked up at him sullenly, his cheerful disposition lost after a sleepless night. "You know why," he said softly. "We need to eat Dori."

The elder scrubbed at his face, seeming to crumple in sadness. "You know I'm doing my best! We do not need to resort to this." He carried on with his stern lecture as he led his brother out of the cell. Dwalin watched them go, feeling unexpectedly sorry for the pair. He knew they had a younger sibling at home, just as he knew their situation was indeed nearly as bad as Nori made it sound. It was for that very reason that he also knew the lecture and the guilt would do nothing. He would likely see Nori again within the week.

It was late when Thorin had called Dwalin into his office to discuss last minute details about the quest for Erebor. They would leave in a few days time and Dwalin was curious as to what his king had to say. Thorin offered him a piece of parchment along with an explanation. "A complete list of all who will be joining us for the journey. We had a couple last minute additions."

Dwalin started to read it, smiling at the sight of Thorin's nephews names, the bold scrawl of their nearly identical signatures standing out from the more refined script of many of the others. He was quite fond of the brothers, and spent a lot of his spare time with them, training and teaching them all manner of things. Lowing his eyes further, he scanned the rest of the names. The Ur brothers had been a rather unexpected surprise. They were the only ones going that were not in any way related to the royal line, and as such he was not sure of their motives for undertaking the dangerous mission. He had no qualms about their capabilities however. He knew that despite the axe in Bifur's head he was still a formidable fighter. Letting his gaze rest on the last group of names, he spat out a curse, slamming the paper down on the table.

"Absolutely not," he snarled. There they had been. Dori's elegant script, Ori's more hesitant but no less practiced, and lastly a single rune representing their troublesome brother Nori. "I will not go anywhere with that, that thief. The very thought is an abomination. He cannot be trusted," the dwarf proclaimed vehemently.

Thorin groaned, holding his hands up in a gesture of helpless pleading. "Dwalin I cannot turn him away. We need all the help we can get, and he has answered the call. Despite his past his loyalty to his brothers is unquestionable."

Sighing in resignation, Dwalin lowered his gaze in surrender. "Fine, but I'm going to be keeping a close eye on him."

They were packing up their gear in the entry hall of Bag End as their newly signed on burglar made last minute preparations for their departure. The hobbit scuttled around his home, picking up this and that and placing unwanted items back on shelves. Bilbo was just straightening a dish when he noticed with a frown that his silverware was shifted from its usual orderly rows nearby. He immediately worked to remedy the situation, hurrying as he felt the impatient glances of the company falling on his back. About to announce his readiness as he finished the task, he was presented with a disturbing situation.

"Has anyone seen my spoons?" he called out in embarrassment, thinking they had simply not been put back after being washed. "I appear to be missing two." His back was still to the group so he was not witness to the tense scene that followed.

Nori secured the drawstring of his pack with a practiced hand before straightening to the sight of Dwalin standing almost nose to nose with him. The imposing dwarf said nothing, merely crossing his arms and raising a brow expectantly. Smiling sheepishly, Nori quietly drew out the two silver spoons from his pocket and handed them over. At the sight of their brother up to his old tricks Dori and Ori dragged him out the door, scolding him softly for his actions while trying to avoid the attention of their host.

"I cannot believe you just did that," Dori hissed. "What if Bilbo had seen and decided not to come?"

"Sorry brother," Nori muttered, avoiding their eyes and feeling genuinely guilty for the first time in his life.

The goblin king sneered at them as he poured a sackful of pilfered items out onto the floor of the cave. Candlesticks and other assorted metalwork, all emblazoned with the mark of Rivendell, bounced across the dirt. "It was just a couple of keepsakes," Nori protested when Dwalin gave him an irritated shove that nearly sent him sprawling. The dwarf snorted, not nearly as angry as he would have been. He reasoned internally that it was because the irrepressible dwarf had stolen from elves, deciding to keep that thought to himself.

The group had been thrown into a large dungeon soon after, where they all worked out their frustration at being captured so neatly. Ori sat quietly, eyes wide and frightened, Dori paced and bemoaned their fate, and Dwalin threw himself against the bars with some of the others. After watching them for several moments as they fruitlessly tried to force their way out, Nori slid forward, spitting a small piece of metal into his hands as he did.

"What are you doing?" Dwalin snarled when he felt the thief nudging him aside.

"Getting us out of course," Nori said with his familiar cheeky grin. He expertly twirled the slim metal rod around in the lock, smirking in satisfaction when it opened with a soft click. Turning to the group with a sarcastic bow, he was forced to let out a surprised squeak when Dwalin crushed him into a hug. The large warrior was sporting a reluctant smile.

"I guess not all your tricks are unwanted after all," he admitted, before letting his eyes narrow. "Don't let it get to yer head."

Battle raged around the company, orcs fighting against the united forces of dwarves, elves, and men for a claim to the newly freed kingdom of Erebor. Dwalin had lost count of the filth he had slaughtered, relying on instinct to keep his battle-weary body going. Endless waves of enemies surrounded the group. He spotted Nori struggling nearby with a large foe, and without thought moved to the smaller dwarfs defense. The thief glanced at him in shock and appreciation, hurrying to return the gesture when it was Dwalin's turn to be overwhelmed. They turned as one to offer their aid to Thorin when they saw the king falter, absentmindedly noting that they made a rather good team.

When the battle had ended they came to the realization that they finally had something in common. Loyalty to a cause, or more importantly to a person. So it was that Dwalin agreed wholeheartedly with Thorin's decision to appoint Nori the position of spymaster and secret royal guard.

The company was at rest, reveling in the reclaiming of their mountain. A feast had been laid out, ale was flowing and pipes sent elaborate smoke rings drifting through the halls. Dwalin sat back with a sigh of contentment, patting his stomach and enjoying the sound of the merry company around him. He gazed around at the faces that surrounded him before directing his sight back to the table and reaching for his ale. His grasp came back empty, and he cast puzzled eyes over the space in front of him before lurching to his feet with an amused growl.