Dwarves and Elves
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When You Are With Me: 4. Guarded
Undeniable, unimaginable stupidity! How could he dare such a thing?
Gimli flushed, mortally ashamed, and would have thrown himself off a high
tower, had one been handy. He cursed himself silently and prayed to be
mercifully struck dead right then and there to spare him the embarrassment
of facing what he had done.
But it seemed that whatever gods were listening, they were entertained by
this turn of events and had decided to leave him to his discomfort. He
winced and risked a glance at his companion, feeling his face burn hotter
than a forge's fire. He opened his mouth to say something, anything,
though he knew not what he could say to excuse himself.
To his complete wonderment, Legolas was not looking at him with the
loathing he fully expected to see.
Those eyes, those eyes, were instead gently curious, pleading, and Gimli
found himself bewildered and sinking into their depths. He sought the
elf's mouth with his once more, harder this time, and with more feeling.
Legolas returned the kiss with trembling lips.
The elf had been taken off-guard, most certainly, but caution and reticence
gave way to desperate need. For a moment he was lost, caught up in the
life and fire he felt in that kiss, and he craved it. Gimli's caress was a
tangible anchor and he clung to it, unwilling to let go of it, feeling the
bitter chill that had settled into his body diminish at the contact. The
dwarf's touch banished the cold pain and filled him with blessed warmth.
Gimli pulled away, flushed and disbelieving.
"Legolas... Legolas, this should not be," he stammered. "You are weakened
and hurt, and I'm forcing.... I am sorry. I...."
Legolas took in a deep draught of air, feeling his mind grow a little
clearer. He silenced Gimli with one arched eyebrow. "My dear dwarf," he
breathed, "It is unlike your kind... to be so timid, and I... find it most
amusing." He smiled at the dwarf's indignant expression. "I am not so
stricken that I am delirious, Gloin's son. I desired it, Gimli. I only
fear... that you were the one taken by surprise, and I apologize for that."
Gimli sat very still for a moment. Then he chuckled roughly. "A fine pair
we make. Apologies and whispered sentiments while a battle rages on
"Even in the midst of war, love and light seek to prevail," Legolas said
Gimli snorted. "How very elvish. It still remains that I chose an
remarkably inopportune time for such an action."
Legolas sighed, then ran a hand over his face and tried to sit up a little.
The dwarf took him by the arm and supported him, helping him to rest his
back against the wall of the guard house. Legolas was looking at him in
puzzlement, and Gimli felt blood rise to his cheeks once more. It was one
thing to ponder the elf as he slept. It was quite another facing him awake
and aware and staring with those intense, bright eyes.
"Well? I feel already quite foolish, if that is what you are thinking,
Legolas shook his head slightly. "Nay, Gimli. Not foolishness," he said
slowly, laying slender fingers upon the dwarf's shoulder. "Something...
much more... so much stronger than all of it." He thoughtfully regarded
Gimli for a long moment, studying him. Then he blinked and seemed to come
back to himself. He saw the confusion in Gimli's eyes and the elf lowered
his head, his hair falling forward over his face.
"Foolishness indeed, my friend. We are both hopelessly foolish." His hand
slipped from Gimli's shoulder. The room seemed colder again to Legolas,
and shadows clouded his sight once more. He felt himself falling, falling
far from the place he was into absolute nothingness. He fought it, but the
cold seared his flesh and stripped him to the bone.
The dwarf reached for him quickly when Legolas stiffened and cried out,
suffering another pang of agony. Legolas slid back and curled defensively
upon his side, the stalwart elven prince reduced to whimpering softly in
torment as that icy void threatened to claim him yet again. Gimli drew
Legolas to him, any awkwardness he felt giving way to concern. The spasm
did not seem as intense or as long as the last, the dwarf noted, and he
stroked the elf's dark hair, muttering reassuring words. Legolas held fast
to him as if he were afraid to be torn away. Finally, spent and shaking,
without speaking, the elf instinctively settled against him to rest with an
unquestioning trust that touched Gimli's heart to the quick.
Soldiers in the battlefield, Gimli thought. I would guard his back in a
fight. I will guard him now in his sleep.
But exhaustion lay heavily upon the dwarf as well and despite his
intentions, he was lulled by the soft breathing of the elf gathered in his
arms. Before long his eyes closed. He must have soundly nodded off, for
it was several hours later deep into the the night that he awoke to find
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