Pairings: [Spoilers]Dwalin/Ori, Dori/Bifur, Óin/Bombur/Balin, Glóin/his wife, Fíli/Bofur, Kíli/Bilbo and Nori/Thorin
Warnings: lots of crack pairings
Word Count: 2576
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit it would be seriously ridiculous
Summary: Nori gets bored and decides to do some match-making.
Nori has never been particularly romantic.
Epic love stories and yearning glances are the domain of his older brother because, at heart, this dwarf is all about practicality. He's never seen the point in pining hopelessly when you can simply court your lovers better and Nori finds it strange that this concept is so hard for most to grasp.
Because attraction really isn't very difficult to nudge in the right direction and his dalliances have always been quite successful in the past. Not that these brief encounters were romances in any way, shape or form, but Nori is hardly a eunuch and appreciates a warm lover in his bed. Though from time to time the thief has also used his skills for other's benefit because he finds it depressing when those around him are lost in pining and scheming keeps him from getting bored.
So one bright morning after the group leaves Rivendell, Nori decides that it's the perfect time to pair his companions up. After all, he's run out of other games with which to entertain himself on their long journey and he can only stare at the wind-swept hills for so long without losing his mind. He's really more of a city dwarf, preferring walls and stone to open air and all this greenery is starting to make him sick.
Besides, their journey is turning out to be even more dangerous than Thorin implied when making his offer and everyone fights better with a lover at their back. What warriors cannot do for king and country, they will do for their shield-mates and Nori has no intention of dying on this quest.
With this decision made, it's not particularly difficult to determine where the thief should start his scheming because his little brother has been drooling over Dwalin for a decade and the old warrior hasn't been much better ever since Ori earned his axe. Indeed Nori can't understand how the two have never managed to cross pining glances and he intends to rectify this lapse.
And if Nori is going to help that pair finally admit their feelings, it would hardly be fair to ignore the rest of his companions. He may not know them as well but he has faith in his ability to ferret out their secrets and considering how repressed these Durins are, everyone should benefit.
So the thief spends the first few days in careful observation, watching each of the other dwarves when they think that they're alone and noting the direction of their sighs. Such careful preparation is the most important part of any scheme, particularly when dealing with such a messy thing as love. His fellow dwarves take the emotion far too seriously and brokenhearted pining is even more annoying than the usual kind. Besides, Nori requires at least a small spark of attraction if his endeavors are to be successful because he has never been in the business of granting miracles.
However, while Ori and Dwalin are spoken for and Glóin's wife is terrifying enough that the thief won't mess with her husband, the dwarf is surprised to discover that nearly every member of the company has their eye on someone else.
Indeed most of these attractions line up quite nicely and the dwarf is feeling rather confident. Because he has always been a sneaky bastard and sometimes that's exactly what a good romance needs.
Nori begins slowly, nudging his brother to actually talk to Dwalin instead of just staring at him and blocking Ori whenever he tries to run away. Though at first these encounters are less actual conversations and more cringe-worthy moments of awkwardness strung together between blushing embarrassment.
But the dwarf perseveres until the pair finally manages to discuss more than the weather and if Dwalin finds a pair of gloves in his pack a few mornings later, the thief claims plausible deniability. After all, Nori's fingers may be sticky but the garments wouldn't have fit perfectly if Ori hadn't made them with his love in mind. Truly it was a courting gift in all but name already and the warrior beams at the wool in his hands for several minutes straight before answering in kind.
From then on all Nori has to do is stop his little brother from panicking, which is easy enough for a dwarf with a few tricks up his sleeve. So some well-timed jokes and a bit more subtle nudging later, all of the thief's careful work pays off.
Indeed the dwarf watches smugly when the new couple bumps noses and curls up by the fire, the rest of the company giving a congratulatory cheer. Though Nori does stop his scheming long enough to warn Dwalin of exactly what will happen if the warrior breaks his brother's heart. Months of pining or not, his family's happiness will always come first in Nori's eyes and he doesn't let his new in-law escape until the dwarf seems suitably cowed.
Cowed and embarrassed since he can't resist giving Dwalin a few tips on how to do his little brother right and if Ori's jaunty smirk is any indication the next morning, the warrior listened to his advice.
So with this first pair settled happily, the thief turns his focus upon his older brother, hoping that a bit of fun will take Dori's attention off his plans. The other dwarf has always been a busybody with a sixth sense for Nori causing trouble and there's no way that involving a romantic in his scheming wouldn't ruin everything.
No, Nori's strategy requires brutal honesty instead of fluff and flowers and therefore Dori has to be the next to fall. Though flowers do play a rather large part in setting up his elder brother and when the thief goes to pick them, he's just glad that no one else can see.
This would totally ruin my reputation, Nori grumbles, ready to dive into the bushes if any of his companions happen to wander through. However, the risk is worth it when the thief sees the way that his brother's eyes light up.
Because Dori is completely gone on Bifur and the morning both of them wake with crowns of flowers, neither stops to question why. Each dwarf assumes that the other is responsible and by the time they clear up this misunderstanding, it really doesn't matter anyway.
For by then the toymaker has braided his family sigils into Dori's mustache and proudly wears the Ri pattern in blossoms in his hair.
Which makes four down with very little effort, Nori's closest family taken care of no matter how their quest turns out. It eases his mind to know that his brothers will be happy even as things get far more complicated and the company spends hours running for their lives.
Still, the new lovers do fight twice as fiercely just like the thief had predicted and thus he feels quite justified in keeping on. There's really no reason not to once the company reaches Beorn's hall, not when everyone is loose and relaxed and so easy to influence. Though Nori decides to leave the royal family alone for the moment because while he knows whom the lads have their hearts set on, getting Thorin to allow it will be interesting.
Their fearless leader is another challenge that the thief has no plans to tackle, no matter how dearly the dwarf needs to relax. But Thorin is more likely to kill Nori than to thank him if he finds out about the scheming and self-preservation is always at the forefront of the thief’s mind.
Which leaves Bombur, Óin and Balin and the dwarf spends far too long agonizing over whom to leave out. It's not an easy decision since their healer is rather fond of Balin, the oldest dwarf finds their cook terribly attractive, and Bombur cannot stop ogling them both.
However, while watching the trio one evening, Nori realizes that he's been thinking far too small: he'll just set all three up together and let them sort it out. After this revelation his schemes fall into place quite nicely since the road to Balin's heart is through all things edible, Bombur adores a good storyteller and Óin just loves fantastic beards. These are the simple things upon which a grand romance is built, though the epics never mention that to their listeners.
So by the time Nori has snuck the oldest dwarf some delicacies nicked from Beorn's kitchen – blamed on the other two of course – gotten Óin and Balin drunk enough to tell their raunchiest stories and manipulated the bathing order so that the healer reaches the stream when the others are brushing out their beards, these three are ripe to fall.
That's one of the nice things about older dwarves: experience helps to overcome any insecurities and Nori only has to nudge the sleeping arrangements around a bit to tip the balance how he wants. For despite the close quarters, the dedicated can always find some privacy and as he watches their comfortable sprawl the next morning, the thief checks this trio off his mental list with a smug little grin.
Only four left now and no one else the wiser, though Gandalf has been sending Nori amused looks of late. But whatever the wizard thinks he knows, he hasn't tried to interfere.
So the thief ignores the old man's snide comments, subtle sniping from behind a haze of smoke. He has far more important things to worry about right now because while Thorin's nephews are head over heels already, their uncle's glaring could dampen any relationship.
At first Nori was simply going to avoid the issue and let the royal family sort things out for themselves – even if that might take until the gates of Erebor. However, it seems a shame to stop when he's come this far already and now that he's had a bit of practice, the dwarf has come up with a plan.
For the solution to this problem is obviously distraction since even their stern-faced leader can't deny the lads after they've said their vows. Which means that Nori suddenly discovers a score of things which absolutely require Thorin's private attention, hoping that Fíli and Kíli will make their moves while out from under their uncle's watching eyes.
The dwarf gives them a whole week before deciding that the lack of progress is simply disgraceful and his last couples will need a firmer hand.
Because Bofur is too insecure about his position to believe Fíli's overtures are intentional and while their burglar has actually been courting Kíli for some time, the archer has never been one to notice subtlety. Bilbo will need something far stronger than soft words and kind glances to get through that dwarf's thick head and Fíli requires an intervention of his own to make Bofur see the truth. But luckily for his young companions, Nori is on their side.
And if his earlier efforts have taught him anything, it's that the conversations of his company are very easy for a clever thief to bend.
So Nori elbows Bofur in the side one evening when he's looking down, whispering conspiratorially, “Cheer up, friend. This quest may be unpleasant but if we succeed we'll all be nobility. Can you imagine? Thieves and miners and toy-makers suddenly as important as any of those snobby courtiers and I plan to court their daughters just to make them scowl. It's not as though anyone will be able to reject one of the heroes of Erebor.”
With this foundation laid, the dwarf draws Thorin into conversation the next morning, making sure that Bofur is listening as their leader declares courage the most important aspect of a mate. Courage and loyalty over gold and riches and the miner perks up with every majestic word.
Of course, he still refuses to say anything about his feelings, but Nori was expecting that and so he spends the rest of the morning waxing poetic to Fíli about the miner's many charms.
Only once the elder prince is good and jealous does Nori call his uncle away to scout the route ahead and he sees the young dwarf lunge toward Bofur as they leave the company behind. The thief manages to keep Thorin distracted for almost an hour, taking advantage of the dwarf's poor sense of direction to lead him in circles around the forest until he can't stand it anymore.
Though all of his effort is nearly ruined when they return to find Fíli wrapped around the miner possessively, a sign that even his uncle would recognize. However, some quick sleight of hand saves the day, Nori sending Thorin back into the woods after his favorite boot knife as he meets the prince's jealous stare with a congratulatory grin. His clear disinterest in Fíli's new lover allows the dwarf to relax his vigilance and the company dynamic should be more or less back to normal by the time Thorin returns.
So easy to manipulate, the thief thinks with a sigh, knowing that he'll need to give Fíli some lessons when their quest is through. But first Nori needs to make Kíli understand that his chosen actually returns his feelings and after another week of scheming, the dwarf is almost ready to tear his beard right off.
Because none of Bilbo's overtures can overcome the archer's oblivious nature and all of Kíli's compliments are somehow insults in Hobbiton. Indeed giving the pair time alone only seems to lead to arguments despite their attraction and that is just not acceptable.
Which means that it's time for truly drastic measures and Nori starts shoving their burglar off his feet whenever Thorin looks away. It takes a few tries to find the perfect angle but once he does, Bilbo's “tripping” always leaves him face down in Kíli's lap.
Soon these “accidents” start to occur even when the thief is several feet away and he has to laugh when he catches sight of their hobbit's crooked smirk. But where subtlety had failed, endless groping seems to be getting Bilbo's point across and after Nori catches the pair in flagrante six times over, he decides his work is through.
Though the thief decides to continue running interference between the dwarf lord and his nephews for a few more weeks because they don't need that headache and it's actually kind of fun. Nori has been trying to see how ridiculous he can make his excuses before their leader tells him off but so far even, “I think I heard a dragon in the bushes over there,” hasn't made the other balk.
Therefore when the dwarf lord finally pulls him aside and growls, “I know what you've been doing,” the thief assumes the jig is up. He begins thinking of excuses to deflect Thorin's anger away from his own fragile person, so he's rather startled by the strong fingers tangling in his hair.
The other dwarf pulls Nori forward and kisses him thoroughly, an action that wasn't in any of the thief's plans. But he's always been one to roll with the punches and their fearless leader is surprisingly skillful with his tongue. So instead of protesting, Nori simply wraps an arm around Thorin's waist and kisses back. I guess I'm an even better match-maker than I thought, he muses, smiling against the other's lips. But I can definitely work with this.