No Bars can hold me

Disclaimer: I don't own any of Tolkien's works


No prison could hold him. That's what everyone said about Nori. He had escaped from more jail cells than most had seen in their live time. It mattered not if they were in the town of Men or a dwarven mountain. He always found a way to escape. It really wasn't that hard in his opinion. Look for a weakness. Everything had a weakness whether it was the physical structure of the cell or the rotation of the guards. There was always a weakness to be found.

No clink is strong enough to hold me. That was Nori's way of thinking. Look hard enough and you will find a way out. Dori would be so proud of Nori. He couldn't help but scoff at that thought. Dori would never be proud of Nori for this thieving ways. It was his thieving ways that usually caused him to be behind bars and hence, fine tune this skill. Ori could look at Nori in amazement when told of his brother's daring escapes from some of the more dangerous dungeons. How he was able to support himself for hours until the guards' rotation gave him the opportunity to slip away. Dwalin, having been on the receiving end, was less than thrilled with Nori's skill. Whenever Dwalin threw the rascal in a cell, guards would take bets to see if Nori would escape or wait for someone to bail him out. Half the time he escaped, the other half he waited for his brothers, usually Ori, or Bofur to spring him. Bofur always laughed when hearing the tales. His bright eyes twinkling with mirth as his heart raced at the thought of danger that Nori faced. It was those nights, Nori loved after a daring escape. Finding Bofur to recount his tale and have the miner look him over for any sort of wound. Normally, there were none, but it was always a good excuse to start to undress. It was usually followed by Nori insisting on checking Bofur for injuries from working in the mines. He would tell Bofur that one could never be too careful down in the depths. They both laughed at their little game before going under the sheets.

No cell had ever been built that could keep Nori inside. He had found this out early on, even now as he sat in the dank, dark depths of the dungeons of Mirkwood, he knew this to be true. Already his mind and eyes were roaming the cell, looking for any small break. A hair too wide between the bars, discoloration of the stone, scratches on the lock. Of course, he had to watch the guards as well. What was the rotation schedule? Who were the regulars and who was just filling in? What did they look like? Did they have any frailties that could be exposed? He needed to remember that elves possessed acute hearing, so he would have to watch his step. As for their eye sight, they could see a greater distance than man or dwarf. However, he was unsure if their renowned eye sight was any good in darker environments like the dungeon.

No dungeon created that Nori couldn't find his way out of. It was not often he was caught, but when he was, people would try to put him in the deepest, darkest hole they could find. A labyrinth of twists and turns that would, and had, caused dungeon keepers to go mad. But not Nori. Nori reveled in those mazes, the criss-cross and overlying of cells and hallways seemed to excite him. He would make little marks, ones that would blend into the stonework, so the guards would not detect them. Those little marks would help him escape. They would tell him if he had been there, of danger, or even to go left or right. It might take a few days or even a week, but he would find his way out. He always did. Looking down the hallway and through the bar, he noticed he was alone. All alone. None of the others had been jailed near him. Not his brothers, not Bofur.

No jailer was made that knew how to keep Nori in his place. From the time he was young, after their mother had passed, Nori would refer to Dori as a jailer. His over protective, stuffy, older brother wanted to lock him away from all the troubles in the world. All the dangers, all the adventures. But there was nothing Dori could do. Nothing. Not even on cold winter nights.

Dori would scold him insisting he not leave the warmth of the small fire they were able to have. Nori would hear nothing of it, wanting the bracing cold in his lungs and the taste of freedom. A warm knitted scarf was placed around his neck. Not quiet a noose around his neck but more around his heart. "If you insist on being foolish, at least try to stay warm and wear a scarf!" Dori scolded. The noose tighten even more when he fell through ice and into a freezing lake. He had to crawl his way back to his warm home and into bed. Sometime during that night, he began to develop a fever and sweat. Someone changed him out of those sopping, wet clothes and pulled the covers tight around him. As a cold, wet cloth was placed on his forehead, he began to hear a melancholy voice whisper, "Don't leave. Hate me, despise me. But don't leave me. Don't leave Ori. Please."

No shackles had been crafted to insure his stay. Whether they were iron, steel or the one time, mithril, they were useless. He always found the weak link. Even though, when on him, they were tight around his wrists, nothing compared to grip Ori held one night.

Nori thought he had been so careful. He thought he left no trace behind, but he was wrong. Someone had seen him and naturally Dwalin took the other dwarf's word over Nori's. The shackles that were put on his wrists were nothing compared to a very young Ori throwing his arms around Nori trying to stop the guards from taking him. "My brother is not a thief!" He cried. Nori couldn't even look at Ori as Dori tried to detangle the young dwarfling. Ori refused to let go, trying to bury his head deep into Nori's stomach. Surprisingly, it was Dwalin who was able to get Ori to release him. "Ye can pick him up at the guardhouse in a few days." He promised. Secure in the knowledge, he could have is big brother back, Ori let go. But still, Nori felt the arms. Years later, Ori would crawl into bed with Nori. He would look sheepishly at his braver brother and whisper, "Can I stay with you?" Never one to refuse Ori, he allowed it. Those same arms ensnared him again. When asked what happened, Ori replied, "I bad a terrible dream that you went away and never returned."

No lock was apt enough to prevent his escape. A hairpin was all he would need to fix a lock problem. Make sure it hit all the right pins, in the right order at the right time. Might take a little work, put nothing he couldn't handle. If the lock was cheap or rusty, even better. All he would need to do is twist and break. Of course, a lever didn't hurt either. Get leverage had never been a problem for Nori in the past. He always knew how to play both things and people, until the time he couldn't. There were times when he couldn't no matter how hard he wanted to.

Alarms went off all through the town. Normally, when Nori heard an alarm, he was the cause of it. But not today. His heart dropped as he saw people run towards the mine shaft. People were screaming as they ran past him. For the first time in his life, Nori was frozen, unable to act. Only when he saw Bomber and Bifur run by did his legs start to work. His heart on the other hand, could not. It felt immobile, trapped, as if it just stopped working. As he ran to the cave in, he saw Dwalin, along with other guards and miners trying to excavate the damage. Family and friends surround the area wanting to help and search for loved ones. While he had no experience with mining, all Nori wanted to do was dig his hands in the rubble. Dwalin barked orders to the guards to keep people away and for everyone to go home. If too many people were in the area, things might become worse. Nori wasn't sure if it was Bombur's or Bifur's hand that rested on his shoulder to guide him away, but soon he found himself in their home, waiting for news.

He couldn't stand being in the same room as them. No, he didn't hate them, but he couldn't stand seeing the unshed tears in Bifur's eyes or Bombur's wet, red face as he tried to cook for his family. Still, he couldn't leave the house.

His feet lead him to Bofur's bedroom. One some nights, he would hide out here to avoid going home or to jail. Sleeping under the bed was not so bad. He waited in that room not wanting to leave for fear he might miss something. He waited all afternoon and into the evening. Reaching over, he lit a candle and waited. He would wait all night if he had to. It had to be around midnight when the door finally opened. In walked a disheveled, tired, but whole Bofur. Seeing his friend caused a tired smile to form. "Oi, Nori. Didn't expect to find ya here."

All of the weight that was on his heart seemed to melt away. "You took your sweet time getting here." He tried to smile but it was weak at best.

"That's what happens when you're in a cave in. They are still digging, but I think they managed to get everyone out." Bofur let his body slump against Nori's as he sat on his bed. A hand reached up to play with one of Bofur's braids. Turning his head, he faced Nori. Their foreheads leaned together before their lips met for the first time.

A sound from down the hall brought Nori back to the present. Mirkwood was many things and unpredictable was one of them. He might be in the dungeon but that did not mean he could be careless. He watched as an elven guard, most likely the dungeon keeper, stopped in front of his cell. "Well, well. Look who I have here. Your reputation precedes you, Master Nori. I was sure you would have escaped by now. Or has Mirkwood done what no one else in all of Middle Earth could?" He gloated.

Nori stared that elf with little interest in his existents and simply said, "No bars can hold me."

Hope you liked this fic please feel free to review. Some of the flashbacks were inspired by fan art I saw on Deviant Art. Please feel free to check some of them out. I have them saved to my favorites. Honest, I wish I could draw as well as these folks! favourites/