11. Chapter Eleven
This part brought to you by the Australian cultural icon that is Hugo Weaving's ass. May great asses always be appreciated. I know I do my best ;)
The mind only knows
what lies near the heart,
that alone is conscious of our affections.
No disease is worse
to a sensible man
than not to be content with himself.
Gimli was alive.
Perhaps it was a little thing in the eyes of the world, where mortals died every day. But it was enough to fill Legolas with hope and something a lump so warm in his chest it was nearly painful.
Gimli was alive and complaining.
"I am not made of glass!" the dwarf exclaimed as Legolas offered a supporting arm. The elf suppressed a smile, watching the dwarf walk on stubbornly on his own through the soft grass. It was a beautiful morning, even more beautiful given the night that had been.
"No, you were most assuredly made of sour attitude," Legolas replied lightly. "Let me look at your wound."
"It is nothing."
"Do you not trust the keen eyes of an elf to determine that for you, Master Gimli?"
The dwarf sent him a look, half mock annoyance, half something entirely different. The sun was falling on his dark hair, exposing the spots of blood. A reminder of the battle that could so easily have taken him away. A reminder Legolas wished gone.
"You need a bath," he said gently. "There is a stream beyond the trees. We do not leave for a few hours yet."
The dwarf nodded and began walking, pausing after a few steps.
"Are you not coming, Master Legolas?"
The elf hesitated for just a moment. It was as if the battle had made them both bolder, although doing exactly what he was not sure. He just knew that his head was light with joy and glory at being alive and walking next to Gimli.
The trees soon shielded them from the reminders of battle, closing them into a world of their own. The stream was bubbling along quietly, swirling in places and rushing in others. It did not run smoothly, but it found its path.
Gimli filled his hands with clear water; clear water that reflected them both – the dwarf and the elf a mere foot apart. A foot and a world.
Legolas looked away, unable to stare at the image. It mirrored too closely an image in his head, only there it had no space separating them then.
"I feared you dead," Gimli suddenly said in a low voice.
Light banter could not shield him from this, Legolas realised. And Valar help him, he desired to say the words here in the bright sunlight of the morning. He kneeled down, staring into the eyes of Gimli the Dwarf where doom waited.
"As did I, morn gîl," the elf whispered, a hand reaching out to touch the bloodstained band on its own accord. Gimli did not look away or move. He simply waited, water tickling out between his hands and onto the soft grass.
"My heart went cold at the thought of your death. I… I…" the elf struggled to find the words, not even sure if there were words for the pain he had felt.
"I live yet, and felled more orcs than you," Gimli replied.
"Do you desire a prize?"
"Name it," Legolas whispered, lifting off the band. The wound made him shudder even though it was not deep.
They stared long at each other, the last of the water falling away from Gimli's hand. The elf cupped his hand, bringing fresh water up to wash away the blood. Washing away the pain too, he wished.
The touch soon turned into a caress, his hands stroking along the sides of the dwarf's face, combing away hair and rubbing off dirt. It struck him as odd that never had Gimli seemed more beautiful despite blood and dirt. Perhaps it was the sunlight. Perhaps his own eyes had changed over the night, seeing differently from what he once had.
Gimli's eyes were not rejecting. They were inviting; an invitation to Legolas and none other.
How had he failed to see so before?
Gimli's hand caught the elf's as he went for more water, strong fingers closing around his slender wrist.
The air was still. Somewhere distantly shouts could be heard and the clatter of weapons. The stream swirled on as if it was not aware of what hung in the air.
Legolas felt distant, almost flying high above. He could not feel the ground under his knees or leaves that had fallen in his hair. He barely even felt Gimli's fingers hesitantly stroking his wrist and palm.
Here the choice lay. Pain and life or the path of his kindred to the sea with a light heart.
"Legolas?" Gimli whispered. "If you wish to leave, leave now."
"I am staying," Legolas replied softly. "Unless you wish to chase me away."
With hands locked they stared at each other. Slowly, giving Gimli every opportunity to back away, Legolas leaned in. He could not deny this, for it would be to deny his own heart. The choice had been made, if he indeed had ever had it. The dwarf made no move to back away, rather parting his lips and allowing the elf a taste of pleasure beyond imagination.
Legolas was gentle this time, even though his body cried out for more contact. Lips and lips and palms against palms were not enough. Beard scratched against his skin, leaving the skin tickling.
Deepening the kiss with each heartbeat, Legolas explored the unfamiliar territory, slowly increasing the pace. The dwarf did not rush him, hands busy with patterns of caresses on the elf's arms and palms, as if making a mental map to follow later. Slowly, always slowly. A part of Legolas feared that if he rushed it, the moment would end and never come back.
And how could he turn back now, even knowing the pain?
The greatest pleasures brought the greatest pains.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.