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I am in the middle of writing an extremely long angsty hurt/comfort story. To compensate for that I'm also writing several short silly fluffy stories. This is the first one.

Title: What We Carry With Us
Characters: Ori, Dori, Nori (in this part)
Rating/Warnings: G
Genre: Humour, Fluff, Family
Word Count: 1358
Spoilers: None
Summary: Five stories concerning the advantages and disadvantages of traveling with family.


Part 1: Ori, Dori, and Nori

“Do you want your mittens?”

Ori looked up from his writing to see his oldest brother, Dori, waving a pair of beige knitted mittens at him.

“No, thank you,” he said turning back to his work.

He wasn’t too fond of those mittens. They were too large and too bulky and made his fingers itch. In fact, he recalled deliberately leaving them behind when they’d left the Blue Mountains, but it seemed Dori had helpfully packed them for him.

Dipping his pen into his inkpot perched on a nearby rock and shaking off the excess ink, Ori once more put pen to paper. He was using the time the others were spending packing up the camp to update the chronicle he was keeping about their adventures. He was keeping a meticulous and precise record of everything that happened during their journey. Nothing much had actually happened so far, but he was keeping a meticulous and precise record of it.

“What about your scarf?” asked Dori. “Do you want your scarf?”

“No.”

The scarf wasn’t any better than the mittens, twice as long as it needed to be and equally itchy. He had once considered tying it to the top of a tree and leaving it there, but he had a feeling Dori would still somehow manage to retrieve it and bring it back to him.

“Maybe you should keep them with you just in case. It might get colder later, and there won’t be time to stop and unpack them while we’re riding.”

“I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

Ori let out a long exasperated sigh. “Yes, I’m sure.”

“You know how susceptible you are to the cold. We don’t want you getting sick.”

“I’m not going to get sick.”

He was well aware of how susceptible to the cold he was. He was always getting sick as a child. Dori used to blame it, and Ori’s slight, somewhat undwarfish physique, on the fact there hadn’t been much food at hand when he was a baby. Ori had never minded. He thought he had a perfectly good constitution for the sort of pursuits he was interested in as a scribe and a scholar. Of course, now they were out here in the wilderness ridding off into danger as they tried to show their loyalty to their king by helping him take back their homeland, and his overly protective older brother, who had nursed him through many an illness, seemed convinced that even breathing in the fresh air would bring a pox upon him.

For a couple of minutes, there was silence. Ori was able to continue writing, pen scratching against parchment with the belief the subject had been dropped, but then Dori spoke again.

“How about putting on your winter sweater? I know how much you like it. That should help keep you warm.”

“I said no,” Ori snapped petulantly. He did, in fact, really like that sweater. It was soft and cozy and warm, and he wouldn’t have minded putting it on, but he was tired of Dori badgering him.

“Fine,” Dori replied scowling. “If that’s the way it’s going to be, I’ll leave you to freeze your little nose off. Just don’t come complaining to me when it does.”

Dori stomped away and Ori gazed down at his book. He hadn’t been paying attention to what he’d been doing and a black blob of ink now marred the page he’d been working on. A familiar pair of boots entering his periphery vision made him look back up.

Nori stood there with a wide grin on his face. “How ‘bout a nice wooly blanket? That’ll help keep you toasty warm. We can swaddle you up just like a little dwarfling baby.”

Ori put away his pen, put the top back on his ink bottle, and closed his book, and then he took the large tome and swung it at his brother.

Nori dodged out of the way and left laughing.

Ori took a moment to scowl at his brother’s retreating back; then he packed the rest of his things and joined the others.

It was another dull, quiet day for the thirteen dwarfs plus one hobbit and one wizard riding towards the Lonely Mountain. Except for a minor drama where Kíli managed to accidentally knock Fíli off his pony, nothing actually happened. There were no discoveries, no attacks, no disasters. Stories and jokes were told and retold until they grew sick of each other’s voices.

It became quite warm around midday and Ori felt vindicated in his refusal to take any of Dori proffered garments, but in the afternoon, the sun disappeared behind the clouds and a wicked wind began to whip up around them, an icy wind which seemed to have come right off the tops of the Misty Mountains. The dwarfs raised their hoods and huddled down on their ponies as it grew colder.

Ori’s cloak kept most of the wind off him. Between it, his cardigan, and the rest of his clothing, he wasn’t too chilled though he couldn’t really say he was warm. The only real problem was his hands. He stared down at his little white fingers peaking out of the sleeves of his cloak as he gripped tightly to the reins. It might be his imagination, but they seemed to be turning blue.

His hands were freezing. He tried to pull them further up into his cloak but all he succeeded in doing was jerking the reins which caused his pony to take a couple of faltering steps and whinny in confusion.

“Sorry, Pumpkin,” Ori whispered to the pony.

His fingers were quickly becoming numb until he could barely feel the reins anymore. Looking up ahead, he saw Thorin ridding at the head of the line sitting straight and tall seemingly unaffected by the cold wind. Ori wondered what their great king would say if he asked him to stop just so he could fetch his mittens from the packs. Truthfully, he wasn’t even sure what pack they were in or even on which pony. Dori had put them away for him. Ori opened his mouth to call for a halt and then quickly changed his mind. It would be much too embarrassing. Besides he was already very low in terms of assets to this group and didn’t want to become more of a burden. He planned to dive into battle without any hesitation just like the rest of them, but though he could probably out shoot any of the other dwarfs with his slingshot, he didn’t have the battle training or experience the others did.

Just as he was resigning himself to the inevitability of frostbite, Nori brought his pony up beside his.

“Hey, Ori,” he whispered leaning towards him.

Ori gazed at him feeling somewhat suspicious. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust his brother. He trusted Nori to have his back through thick and thin, but Nori was also known to tease and play a prank or two, and then there was all the less than legal activities he seemed to get involved in.

“Here,” Nori said quickly handing something across the gap between their ponies.

Ori’s numb, fumbling fingers almost dropped it. Gazing down at the small bundle he now held, he found himself looking at his beige mittens. He stared at Nori in surprise.

Nori just smiled at him, a knowing twinkle in his eyes, and then without saying anything, rode back to his place in the line of ponies.

Not wasting time wondering how his brother had known what he needed, Ori quickly put the mittens on. It took a while for his fingers to warm up and they itched and ached as they did so, but Ori didn’t care. He was just glad to be able to feel them again.

Eventually, they stopped for the night, somewhere thankfully sheltered from the cold wind, and began to set up camp. If Dori noticed that Ori was wearing his mittens, he didn’t say anything, but Ori saw him pat Nori on the back and give him a grateful smile before the three of them settled down to sleep.

Part 2: Balin and Dwalin
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