“Hmm. Strange behaviour.” Gimli settled himself carefully next to the Elf, trying not to spill any of the truly excellent beer with which he had filled his glass to the brim. “Still, we’re quite comfortable here aren’t we?” The Dwarf leant back against Legolas, who draped an arm affectionately over Gimli’s shoulder.
“Aye, but we were perfectly comfortable in Ithilien, thank you very much.”
“Mmmm.” Gimli was too sleepy to argue the point. Aragorn, as always, had given them a splendid supper, over which Gimli had exhibited some adept knife and fork work, and now he was content to sit in front of the fire with his pint of beer to drink and his beloved Elf to lean against. The only thing that could make the evening any better would be if he could smoke his pipe. He glanced upwards at his friend’s face and decided that he would wait until the Elf relaxed a little before venturing to have a smoke. It would be better to delay until Aragorn joined them – then Legolas would be outnumbered by tobacco addicts and would have to acquiesce.
“Perhaps Aragorn has heard some rumour of war and seeks our help,” said Legolas.
“Could be.” Gimli wriggled back at little until his head rested more comfortably against the Elf’s shoulder.
“Maybe there are trade negotiations with which he needs assistance.”
Gimli took a swig of beer and wiped his top lip with the back of his hand. “Probably.”
“He has grave news from Rohan perchance,” Legolas continued.
“Aye, that will be it.” Gimli closed his eyes.
“Perhaps he wants advice on how to quieten perpetually chattering Elves!”
Legolas moved his arm from around Gimli’s shoulders to around the Dwarf’s throat.
“You, Master Dwarf, need to be taught a lesson in manners!”
“Mind my beer!” croaked Gimli.
The door opened. King Elessar walked in and was brought up short by the sight of Gimli trying to free his chin from the crook of Legolas’ elbow without spilling his drink.
“Sorry to have kept you waiting,” said Aragorn.
“Oh think nothing of it, Aragorn,” Legolas reassured him as he released the Dwarf, and he and Gimli settled back. “Gimli and I were having an interesting intellectual discussion about the nature of Dwarvish courtesy. We were speculating upon its existence.”
Gimli, in settling down next to Legolas, inadvertently managed to send his elbow into the Elf’s ribs. Legolas somehow managed to clip Gimli’s ear as he put his arm back round the Dwarf’s shoulders. If Aragorn hadn’t been sitting opposite them, this would have escalated into an all-out wrestling match within seconds and probably something even more physical within minutes, but the presence of the King prompted them to exercise restraint. Finally Elf and Dwarf settled themselves comfortably and turned expectantly to Aragorn, who, being long familiar with their boisterousness, was waiting patiently.
“I suppose that you are both wondering why I asked you to come to Minas Tirith at such short notice.”
“Not at all,” said Legolas. Gimli turned his head to send a withering glance at the Elf.
“Well, the truth of the matter is that I am seeking your advice.” Aragorn was perched on the edge of his chair, his fingers intertwined, knuckles white.
“Fire away!” encouraged Gimli, his former sleepiness forgotten. “More than happy to help, I am sure.”
“Good, good.” Aragorn nodded. He stared down at his hands. “Yes. Er…the advice I need is…” he began slowly, “is somewhat…awkward. Erm, if I could explain…it’s a matter of…er, I…you know…what with you two being…and after so long, things…er…the Queen and I…since the children came along…” Aragorn continued to stare fixedly at his hands as if they were of tremendous interest to him. He began to fiddle with his wedding ring. “What I am trying to say is that, after this length of time…things…between…Arwen and myself…are not…” The King winced, stood up suddenly and began to pace backwards and forwards in front of the fireplace.
Legolas and Gimli exchanged amused glances.
“Would I be correct in assuming, Aragorn, that the advice that you seek is of a personal rather than political nature?” Legolas asked, struggling to keep his face suitably composed.
“And the advice pertains to yourself and the Queen?”
“Yourself in relation to the Queen, in fact.”
“Relations between yourself and the Queen to be precise.”
“I see.” Legolas could feel suppressed laughter shaking Gimli’s sturdy frame. The Elf continued in an even voice, “And these aforesaid relations are…regrettably infrequent?”
Another nod. Aragorn stopped pacing and stood with his back to his friends, studying the flames that were as red as his face.
“Lamentably passionless?” prompted Legolas.
There was a groan from the direction of the mantelpiece.
“And you seek the advice of myself and Gimli because…?” Legolas squeezed the shaking Dwarf’s shoulder.
“Well,” said Aragorn, still addressing the fireplace, “you and Gimli always seem to have a very good…a very good…physical, erm… relationship.”
“Oh, aye!” said Gimli, “Our physical, erm…relationship goes from strength to strength, doesn’t it, Legolas?”
Legolas nodded enthusiastically. “Strength to strength.”
“But how?” Aragorn asked the fire-irons. “Have you not become bored after all these years?”
“Bored? Durin’s Beard! No!”
“But hasn’t it all become…I mean…there’s only so many…it becomes so…” said Aragorn wretchedly, pinching the bridge of his nose between his fingers.
“Well now to be fair, Gimli, there was that period that we went through when things became a little dull.” Legolas said in a conciliatory tone.
“Really?” Aragorn spun round. “When? How long did it last?”
Legolas gazed at the ceiling in a calculating kind of way. “If I remember rightly, it lasted…oh…I would say…ten or possibly eleven…yes, eleven, I think.”
“Weeks? Months?” prompted Aragorn.
“Minutes,” said the Elf with a mischievous smile.
Aragorn’s shoulders sagged. “Legolas! This is serious!”
“I am sorry, Aragorn,” sniggered the Elf. “I am sorry. Now, why not sit down and we can talk about this frankly, yes?”
“Yes,” agreed Gimli. “Come on, sit down. We would be happy to help. Really, Aragorn, we would.”
Aragorn resumed his seat while Legolas poured him a glass of wine. The King smiled bashfully at his friends and was clearly at a loss how to start.
“I would not worry overmuch if I were you, Aragorn,” reassured Legolas. “I am sure that Gimli and I will be able to offer some useful suggestions. It is simply a matter of spicing things up in the bedroom, am I right? It is not as if there is any, er, physical impediment, is there?” The Elf raised one eyebrow. Aragorn frowned.
Gimli sensed the King’s bewilderment. “You know, lad. Is that sword of yours still in working order?”
Aragorn was baffled – what had Anduril got to do with…ah!
“Oh, no, no, no, no! I mean, yes! I mean…I mean…” Aragorn continued more calmly, “I mean it is not that sort of problem. There is no difficulty there, I can assure you.”
“Good!” said Gimli, trying not to smile at Aragorn’s offended expression. “Good! Well, it’s just a question of using your imagination, then. Being a bit creative, eh? Now let’s see. What have you tried already?”
Aragorn’s eyes were like saucers. He had envisaged Legolas and Gimli giving ideas rather than him revealing details of his feeble love life. “Errm…”
“No, Gimli, I do not think that Aragorn wants to give us a blow-by-blow – if I may use that term in this context – account of events thus far.”
Aragorn relaxed visibly.
“Oh! Alright,” said Gimli with just a touch of regret in his voice.
“Let us offer some suggestions, Aragorn, and you can pick and choose between them to suit your tastes, and those of the Queen. Yes?”
“Oh, yes. That would be very helpful. That is what I was hoping for. You know, that we could exchange ideas as men of the world. Well, males of the world, anyway. All suggestions gratefully appreciated I am sure.”
Aragorn looked at his friends with no little amusement. He had expected them to be as bashful as himself when it came to discussing such intimate matters, but both Elf and Dwarf were beaming with enthusiasm for the project. It struck Aragorn that neither Legolas nor Gimli were required to do battle against the fell creatures of Middle-earth any more, and all the energy that they used to put into training and combat had to go somewhere. If Gimli made love in the same style as he made war – well, no wonder Legolas looked a trifle dazed at times.
“Right!” Gimli seemed to have decided to lead the discussion. “Let’s start with positions.”
“Oh, good idea!” Legolas said cheerfully.
“Now I’m assuming, Aragorn,” continued Gimli, “that you would have tried all the most common positions for lovemaking, am I right?”
“Er…we have tried a few, yes,” replied Aragorn guardedly.
“Yes, so you need some new ideas. Now have you tried—?”
“Oh! Oh! Gimli!” Legolas interrupted. The Elf’s eyes were dancing with excitement. “What about…” and he bent to whisper furiously in Gimli’s ear. A huge grin spread across the Dwarf’s face.
“Ah, yes! That’s a good one. Mind you, Arwen might not be as flexible as you, Legolas. Now, Aragorn, can the Queen get both her feet round the back of her ne—”
“Gimli! You cannot ask questions like that!” hissed the Elf.
“Well you can’t do that position unless one of you can—”
“Yes, yes, but for Aragorn’s sake, I do not think we should ask such personal questions, Gimli.”
Aragorn spoke up. “Could you not just describe this wonderful position?”
Gimli looked speculatively up at the ceiling. “Well…”
“I know! I know!” Legolas was practically bouncing up and down on the couch with excitement. “Draw a picture for him, Gimli!”
Aragorn began stalling madly. “I wouldn’t want you to go to too much trouble…”
Legolas continued, “Draw a picture! One of your little diagrams. You know! Not too much extraneous detail. Little stick figures would suffice. As long as one can tell which figure is which.”
“Oh, yes, I see what you mean. Good idea!” Gimli patted the Elf on the shoulder. “Wonderful idea! Pencil and paper please, Aragorn! Quick as you can, now!”
Seeing that this idea was not going to go away, Aragorn began searching through the detritus on his desk to find what Gimli required. Aragorn’s study was, the King believed, the only room in the entire Palace that was truly his. Servants did not come in here, nobody cleaned the place and it contained all the items that Aragorn loved but that Arwen couldn’t abide. Over the years the room had mouldered nicely so that, as far as Aragorn was concerned, it had a pleasant, manly atmosphere. The Queen never set foot in it. She called the room ‘The Black Pit’, in memory of Moria, and joked that there could be any number of unknown species of creature lurking in the foetid corners or basking in the mysterious warmth at the bottom of piles of junk. It was the kind of room that every married man in Middle-earth would have warmed to in an instant, and the kind that every married woman would have taken a tinderbox to.
It took a while for Aragorn to locate a pencil and paper. If Gimli had needed bottles of best brandy, tobacco, rusty pieces of armour or mud-covered boots, the search would have lasted mere seconds, but writing implements were more difficult to come by. At last Aragorn was able to present him with a blunt stub of pencil and some crumpled pieces of parchment.
“Excellent! Now let me see,” said Gimli as he cleared a space on the table with a sweep of his forearm and laid the paper out. “More candles, please, Aragorn. I want to get this just right.”
Aragorn lit a couple more candles and Gimli began his drawing. Legolas leaned over his shoulder, murmuring words of encouragement and advice. “Do not forget to make the figures roughly the same height, Gimli,” he said pointing with one long finger at the stick figures taking shape under Gimli’s hand.
“Yes, yes. I realise that, my dear Elf. Now don’t crowd me too much!”
“Sorry. And you have to make it clear to Aragorn which figure is which.”
“Yes, well that is why one of them has long hair, isn’t it.”
“Oh, yes. And he might get confused about which way the other figure is facing. Put a nose on it or something.”
Gimli added a strategically placed line on the diagram.
“Ah, well,” said Legolas. “That is most definitely not his nose, but at least it shows which way he is facing.”
Aragorn was on tenterhooks. He tried to crane over Gimli’s other shoulder, but the Dwarf shielded his work from him.
“Ah, ah! Patience, Aragorn!”
Gimli added a few more details to the picture, glanced at Legolas for approval, which was given enthusiastically, and then handed over the diagram to Aragorn. The King held the picture to the light to appreciate it in all its glory. Gimli raised his eyebrows expectantly.
“Well? What do you think?” he asked, when Aragorn said not a word.
Aragorn whistled softly and turned his gaze on Gimli.
“I can say with a great deal of confidence that we have never tried that.”
“Thought not!” murmured Gimli with quiet satisfaction.
“Is it really possible?” said Aragorn, bending closer to study the picture again.
“Oh, yes!” cried Legolas at the same moment as Gimli growled, “I’ll say!”
Aragorn was sceptical. “You would think that they would lose their balance.”
Gimli was smug. “Well, it does take a little bit of practice,” he said.
“Lots of practice!” added Legolas dreamily. “Lots and lots and lots…”
“Yes, er…I am grateful for the idea,” said Aragorn, “but I wonder if you have anything that is a tiny bit less…er, acrobatic?”
“Something for beginners, eh?” Gimli said with a smile.
“Now, just one minute! I would not say that—” Aragorn began.
“Yes, yes, yes, lad. I was just pulling your leg. Something less acrobatic? Hmmm. Let me consult my partner. Wait one minute, please.”
Gimli and Legolas walked over to the fireplace where they conducted a frantic, whispered conversation involving lots of hand gestures and occasional bursts of sniggering. At one point they both turned around, looked appraisingly at Aragorn, looked into each other’s faces for a moment and shook their heads vehemently.
“No!” said the Dwarf.
“I think not!” said the Elf.
They resumed their whispering. Eventually they returned to the table, and Gimli began his second sketch.
“You will like this one,” he said pausing for a moment to take a swig of beer.
It turned out that Aragorn did like that one. And the eleven quick sketches that Gimli produced thereafter. And even the one that Legolas did as a joke and that he hadn’t intended Aragorn to take seriously, but if the King and Queen wanted to try they were welcome. And so with a small bundle of papers stuffed into his pocket, Aragorn made as if to leave.
“I must thank you ve—”
“And just where do you think you’re going?” said an indignant Gimli.
“Well, you have given me lots of new ideas and I thou—”
“Sit down! We’ve hardly started yet! Sit down! Sit down!”
Aragorn took one look at Gimli’s face and decided to do as he was told. He might be King of Gondor, but he knew better than to disobey Gimli when he looked like that.
“So be it,” Aragorn said, replenishing his glass and resuming his seat. “What is next?”
“Our next topic will be…location,” said Gimli.
Legolas looked at him with admiration. The Dwarf was tackling Aragorn’s problem with his usual methodical approach to life.
“Location?” said Aragorn.
“Yes,” continued Gimli. “On the rare occasions when your lady wife agrees to participate in the conjugal pleasures, what is the venue?”
“Er…would you believe…the bedroom?” Aragorn said hesitantly, almost dreading what was coming next.
“Ah! So predictable!” Gimli snapped contemptuously.
“What do you suggest then, Gimli?” Aragorn asked.
“How many rooms are there in this palace?”
“I don’t know.”
“Have a guess.”
“I don’t know!”
“And how many of them have you made love in?”
Aragorn blinked. “Are you suggesting that Arwen and I should systematically work our way through the entire Citadel?”
“No, no, no! You are not taking this seriously, my boy! What I am suggesting…what we are suggesting…” Gimli amended, with a gesture at the Elf, “is that you should consider the possibilities of other rooms.”
“The kitchens, the library, the stables…” suggested Legolas, counting them off on his fingers. “The Throne Room, the broom cupboard on the second floor…”
“Don’t forget the portrait gallery,” added Gimli with a smile.
“Oh, gracious, yes! How could I forget the portrait gallery?” Legolas beamed at Gimli.
A terrible suspicion began to dawn in Aragorn’s mind. The expressions of the Elf and Dwarf were not those of people dredging their minds for new ideas. No, they bore every sign that they were sifting through past experiences. Pleasant experiences, judging by the way they were looking at one another. Oh no!
“Am I to understand that you two have…have…have tried these locations yourselves?” Aragorn’s voice was half an octave higher than normal. Legolas and Gimli were still lost in one another’s gaze. “The portrait gallery?” Aragorn continued. “The portrait gallery? My picture is in the portrait gallery! And Arwen’s! I don’t believe it! My wife’s portrait had to witness…you two…” Aragorn’s expression froze as his brain finally latched onto something Legolas had said. Aragorn’s complexion took on a unpleasant shade of purple. “The Throne Room?” he bellowed.
Legolas and Gimli, realising their danger, suddenly became placatory.
“Legolas was simply joking!” Gimli reassured.
“Yes, yes. Absolutely! Just thinking off the top of my head,” said the Elf, offering Aragorn one of his best ‘innocent Elfling’ smiles.
“It did not sound as if you were joking, Legolas! It sounded as if you were remembering.”
“No, no, no! Aragorn! Estel! Would Gimli and I be so uncouth as to make love on your…er, I mean in your…”
“On?” Aragorn squeaked.
“No! Not on. In,” insisted Gimli.
“Not in either,” declared a distressed Legolas.
“No! Not in! But especially not on.”
Gimli and Legolas both shook their heads urgently and rather dementedly.
Aragorn pinched the bridge of his nose again. They were his closest friends; he couldn’t throw them in prison. And he hadn’t actually caught them at it. Maybe respect for the ancient and venerable Throne of the Kings of Men was too much to expect from people who had frequently seen its usual inhabitant in his rattiest underwear. “Enough. I am not going to think about it. Never again!”
“Perhaps,” said Legolas in an overly bright tone of voice, “Gimli can think of another topic for us to tackle.”
And indeed it seemed as if Gimli had already been thinking, for suddenly he gripped Legolas’ arm very hard and his eyes shone darkly. He leaned over and whispered in the Elf’s ear. Aragorn had not seen Legolas looked so shocked since they had been faced with the balrog at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.
Gimli stroked his beard thoughtfully. “You think not?”
“I know not!” Legolas looked at little pale.
“He might go for it.”
“And he might wring your neck, Gimli.”
“It is an interesting idea.”
“It could be your last if I am any judge. Gimli, I have known him longer than you have and I say no!”
“I have never been more sure of anything in my life. No! No! No!”
“Alright! Alright! If you say so!” said Gimli, disappointment writ large upon his features. “I’ll think of something else.”
Aragorn watched in amusement as Legolas relaxed visibly. The King said nothing; he had privately decided that he would tackle Gimli alone at a later date with regards to the mysterious suggestion.
“I know!” cried Gimli. “What about food?”
“But we have only just had supper,” said Aragorn. “I can send down to—” But before the word ‘kitchens’ caused any more trouble, Gimli interrupted.
“No, I don’t mean for now. I mean let us consider the role of food in sex.”
“Aphrodisiacs, you mean?” asked Aragorn, interested despite himself.
“Possibly, possibly. I was thinking more along the lines of food and drink during sex,” said Gimli.
“Have you never explored the possibilities of nibbling food off your partner, Aragorn? Have you never experienced the delight of licking honey off the backs of the knees or whipped cream from the crook of the elbow? The exquisite pleasure of sipping beer from your partner’s navel?”
Aragorn wrinkled his nose in distaste. “Urgh! That’s disgusting!”
Gimli rolled his eyes. “As far as sex is concerned Aragorn, you are a cultural wasteland!”
“Now do not be too hard on him, Gimli,” said Legolas, still aware that the ‘Throne Room’ comment could rebound at any minute. “He has not had the benefit of a Dwarvish imagination in his love life. It will take time for him to come round to your ideas.” Turning to the King, Legolas continued quietly, “Gimli’s only problem when combining sex and sustenance, is that he has a tendency to concentrate on the food to such a degree that he forgets about the poor neglected Elf off whom he is eating!”
“Pshaw!” snorted Gimli. “Nonsense!”
“Well, my dear Dwarf, you tell me how you managed to eat a whole jar of syrup whilst your lover lay waiting, eh?”
“I thought you had fallen asleep.”
“Fallen asleep? Fallen asleep! In that position?”
“Er! I really think,” said Aragorn in an overly loud voice, suddenly unable to meet the Elf’s gaze, “that I have got the general idea. Yes. Food. Interesting, Gimli. Thank you! Er…perhaps we might move on to…the next suggestion…if you have one.”
Gimli, too, seemed quite keen to change the subject and jumped at the chance to distract the Elf from an argument. “What about…?” he said, leaning forward conspiratorially. “What about…role play?”
“Wonderful, Gimli! Oh, yes, you have to listen to Gimli, Aragorn. He has such an imagination! Particularly after we have been separated for a few months, he comes up with some absolutely splendid ideas. I swear he spends the whole period of our separation dreaming up new ways to amuse me. Oh, yes! He has a notebook, you know! For all his ideas.”
Gimli, for the first time during the evening, looked bashful. “Legolas!” he muttered, putting a hand on the Elf’s arm. “Legolas! Aragorn does not want to know about that.”
You are entirely right, Gimli, thought Aragorn, I did not want to know about that.
“Oh, you should not be so modest, Elvellon. That notebook is a work of genius! Some of those sketches! And all the little footnotes! And the appendix! He even lets me write comments in the margins. There is so much detail, Aragorn, you would not credit it.”
“Legolas, you are embarrassing me,” protested Gimli.
Embarrassing you, Aragorn reflected. How do you think I feel?
“Why do you not tell me more about role play?” suggested Aragorn. Gimli looked gratefully towards him.
“Legolas, could you get me another beer while I explain a few ideas to Aragorn?”
“Yes, yes,” said the Elf grabbing Gimli’s tankard and jumping off the couch to get another bottle from the other side of the room.
Gimli leaned forward and spoke in a whisper to the King. “You will have to forgive him, Aragorn. He gets a little over excited in his enthusiasm.”
Aragorn smiled and nodded at the Dwarf, as Gimli sat back and received his brimming tankard from the Elf.
“Ah, thank you! Now,” he said taking an appreciative swig, “let me introduce you to the delights of role play.” Gimli leaned back against Legolas, who was gazing at the Dwarf with wrapt attention. “Do you understand what is meant by the term ‘role play’, Aragorn?”
The King felt for a moment as if he were a small boy standing at the front of the classroom, being asked to recite his twelve times table. “Er, yes. Well, at least, I think I do. Er…each partner takes on a role…acts as someone else, as it were, in order to make the whole thing more…interesting. Yes?”
“Well done! Yes, couldn’t have put it better myself!” said Gimli, beaming at Aragorn over the top of his pint. “Could you give us some examples?”
Thirteen times table, now! thought Aragorn ruefully. “Well now, erm…we did once try…er…long time ago, you understand…er, we tried…” he laughed awkwardly and studied his boots for a few seconds. “We…er…well, Arwen was…erm…a…farmer’s daughter…and…” Aragorn’s voice was scarcely to be heard over the crackle of the fire. “I was, er…a…a…blacksmith.”
“Oh yes, Aragorn! I can see you as a blacksmith!” Legolas enthused. “All sweat and muscle!” The Elf felt Gimli tense suddenly. “Although, of course it has to be said that one would have to look to a Dwarf to provide the quintessential rugged masculinity of a blacksmith,” he added hastily, squeezing the not inconsiderable muscle of Gimli’s shoulder. Legolas felt Gimli lean in towards him and chuckle affectionately. The Elf breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn’t that Gimli was a jealous lover. It was just that he did have a tendency to start sharpening his axe in a casual way whenever attractive men or women made conversation with Legolas.
“And the farmer’s daughter got on well with the blacksmith, did she, Aragorn?” said Gimli.
“Oh yes! You see, she brought her horse to be shod but she didn’t have any money to pay me for the work. And so I asked her if there was any other way that she could er…reward me for my labours.”
Gimli rubbed his hands together and sniggered encouragingly.
“Other way! Nice one, Aragorn!”
“And?” prompted Legolas, his eyes sparkling.
“Well, you know…” continued Aragorn, blushing slightly, “she seemed quite keen to…er…”
“Pump your bellows?” suggested Gimli.
“Help you wield your big hammer?” spluttered Legolas.
Aragorn nodded, a huge grin splitting his face.
“Excellent! Excellent!” cried Gimli, slapping his hand on his leg. “You see, Aragorn, you are already well versed in the arts of love. You simply need a little more inspiration.”
Aragorn smiled and shrugged his shoulders modestly. “So, do you have any good suggestions? For more role playing, I mean. You know, other…situations?” he said.
“Yes, yes! Now let me think what might suit you,” said Gimli. He glanced at the Elf and then continued. “One scenario that we have found…interesting and…er, exciting…is…” another quick look at Legolas, “is… er…‘The Evil Emperor’ and ‘The Beautiful Slave’.” Gimli bounced his eyebrows at the Elf, whose face had broken into a radiant smile.
“Ah, yes, Elvellon! That one is always guaranteed to give satisfaction.”
“So which one of you is which?” said Aragorn, and then realised that he might as well be talking to himself. The Elf and Dwarf were utterly intent upon one another.
“Oh, Legolas, you make a truly wonderful slave,” Gimli said reaching out a square-fingered hand to entwine his fingers in the Elf’s hair. “Proud. Defiant. Rebellious. I never know how co-operative my slave is going to be.” Gimli’s grip in the blond mane tightened and he began to draw Legolas down to him.
“And the slave,” added Legolas, his voice a husky purr, “never knows how cruel his master will be.”
“Ah, but sometimes the slave needs to be disciplined, does he not?” said Gimli with a wink, as he continued to pull at Legolas’ hair.
“Mmm. Often before he has even misbehaved!” growled the Elf, with a lascivious smile, his face now inches from Gimli.
“You have to learn obedience, Legolas!” said Gimli sternly.
“I suppose so, but why will the Emperor not let me wear any clothes?”
“Why would you need clothes? You are a bedroom slave. And anyway I give you such beautiful jewellery to wear.”
“Jewellery? I would hesitate to call a dog collar, ‘jewellery’.”
“It’s a necklace, I think you will find.”
“It is made of leather and has a buckle on it! It is a dog collar!”
“And it looks wonderful on you, Elf.” Gimli kissed Legolas lightly on the tip of his nose.
“Ahem!” Aragorn’s cough went unheeded.
“But it is a dog collar, is it not?” Legolas murmured, leaning forward and rubbing his cheek against Gimli’s beard.
“Embossed with sapphires to match your eyes, my love,”
“Oh, master!” Legolas sighed. “You are so kind to me.” He brushed his lips across Gimli’s mouth.
“Ahem!” Aragorn made the cough a little more intrusive.
Paying the King no attention whatsoever, Gimli continued, “And what about the bracelets that I made for you?”
“Shackles, master,” said the Elf drawing back from Gimli a little to stare intently into his eyes, cobalt blue meeting chocolate brown.
“Bracelets, Elf. Shackles are great ugly heavy things. I wouldn’t put you in shackles.”
“Bracelets? Bracelets linked together by a chain? Bracelets that you lock onto my wrists with a key and that I cannot slip off?”
“Well of course you can’t slip them off. I made them myself. I’m hardly likely to make bracelets that would fall off, am I? In fact I measured your wrists when you were asleep one night.”
“Oh, master. You are too kind.” Legolas leaned towards Gimli once again, pushing his eager mouth onto the Dwarf’s. Gimli growled, both hands in the Elf’s hair now, pulling him close as their kiss deepened.
“AHEM!” Aragorn was beginning to wonder where he could get a bucket of cold water to throw over them. He made do with dipping his fingers in Gimli’s beer on the table and flicking it at them. “Excuse me! Excuse me! Could you keep that for a more appropriate time?”
Legolas and Gimli froze for a fraction of a second as awareness flooded back. They drew apart with obvious reluctance.
“Er, Aragorn…so sorry.”
“Yes, ah! Where were we?”
“Getting carried away,” said Aragorn flatly.
Legolas and Gimli muttered apologies and tried their very best to focus what remained of their attention on Aragorn.
“Do you two have any more ideas for me?” said the King. “Ideas that will not get you too excited would be best, I think.”
Elf and Dwarf thought for a moment. Or at least the Elf did. Aragorn watched Gimli’s face with amusement. A droplet of beer remained on Legolas’ face from where Aragorn had flicked the drink at them. It gleamed in the firelight as it lay on the Elf’s pale skin just below his cheekbone. Gimli was staring at the droplet with great concentration and a burning look in his dark eyes. Whether the Dwarf’s blood was fired by the Elf’s angelic face or by the sight of a drop of beer going to waste, Aragorn was unsure. Either way, Aragorn feared that no more ideas would be forthcoming from Gimli until that drop of beer evaporated or was wiped – or licked – off.
The King stood up and purposely turned his back on the pair as he rooted around for pipeweed and pipe. When he turned back, the droplet of beer had vanished from the Elf’s face; Legolas was smiling and Gimli was licking his lips.
“Tell me, Aragorn,” said Legolas as the Man sat down and offered Gimli some pipeweed. “Have you ever told Arwen about any of your fantasies? And do you mind if I open a window?” The Elf stood up and moved to open all the windows before anyone could reply.
“Fantasies?” said Aragorn. “Not really.”
“Oh, you should,” said Legolas earnestly, sitting down on the wide windowsill near the largest open window. “You might be surprised at her reaction to them.”
“Yes, but I am…ah…a bit, erm, worried that she won’t…you know…that she might think I’m a bit…er…”
Legolas raised an eyebrow.
“What I mean,” continued Aragorn, “is that I find it hard to say…what I…want.”
“Write it down then,” said Gimli puffing contentedly at his pipe and sending smoke rings towards the Elf at the window.
“Pardon?” Aragorn was mystified.
“Write your fantasy down,” Gimli said. “In fact, write all of ‘em down. And get Arwen to do the same and then swap over the pieces of paper. It’s a bit of an eye opener, I can tell you.”
“Of course,” said a teasing voice from the windowsill, “the success of the exercise does rather depend on both partners being able to spell, does it not, Gimli?”
“Don’t know what you’re talking about, Legolas.”
“Yes you jolly well do! There is a world of difference between ‘mousse’ and ‘mouse’ you know!”
Gimli sent an extra-large smoke ring Elf-wards. “It was perfectly clear from the context that it was ‘mousse’.”
“No it was not.”
“Of course it was, you daft wood-elf! Why in Aulë’s name would I want to lick strawberry ‘mouse’ off the end of your—”
“I do not know!”
“What did you think a ‘strawberry mouse’ was anyway?”
“I do not know!”
“Strawberry mouse! I ask you!”
“If you want to know I thought it might be some kind of bizarre Dwarvish recipe.
“Well of all the…” Gimli descended into a series of muttered comments in Khuzdul. Legolas stared out of the window, chewing one of his braids, a childish habit he fell into when peeved.
Aragorn reflected that three minutes ago Legolas and Gimli were practically making love on the couch and now they were studiously ignoring each other. He began to think that his own relationship with Arwen, whilst undoubtedly not as passionate as that of Legolas and Gimli, was at least more consistent. Aragorn wracked his brain for some way to encourage reconciliation between the lovers. How could he regain their interest in the topic under discussion? Aragorn thought carefully about their conversation about role play. Gimli had clearly gone to a great deal of trouble with those shackl— er, those bracelets. Perhaps this was an area that could be explored?
“I was wondering if either of you, or perhaps both of you could tell me a little more about…about erm…bondage.” Legolas stopped chewing. Gimli drew deeply enough on his pipe to make the tobacco glow bright red. “You see,” continued Aragorn, artfully, “I’ve never been able to see the appeal of it myself, and I was wondering if you could…enlighten me? I’m not even sure I understand what it is.” Aragorn looked from one to the other. “Or perhaps you do not know what it is either.”
“Don’t be a fool, lad! Of course we know what it is!” Gimli snapped in exasperation. “Have you never looked closely at the Elf’s wrists today? Red marks all over them from the ropes. Legolas, come over here and roll your sleeves up and show Aragorn—”
“Gimli!” The Elf bounded over to the couch to cuff Gimli round the head. “Aragorn does not want to know about—”
“Yes he does! He just asked!”
“He wishes to know about bondage in theory, Gimli, not have a practical demonstration!”
“But what is the attraction of it?” Aragorn insisted.
Elf and Dwarf stared at him in mute incomprehension for a few seconds and then turned to each other. Gradually smiles spread across their faces.
“Domination and submission,” said Gimli quietly. “It’s all about power, Aragorn.”
“And trust,” added Legolas. “And letting go.”
“Yes, power and trust and vulnerability,” continued the Dwarf, not taking his eyes off Legolas. “You can use it as part of role play, if you wish. Put shackles on your slave—”
“Bracelets, you mean,” corrected Legolas slyly.
“Bracelets, shackles, ropes, scarves, whatever…It will help you get into role no end, I can assure you.”
“I see,” said Aragorn. “But isn’t there a risk that one of you will get hurt?”
“Perhaps one of you wants to get hurt,” said Legolas thoughtfully, sending a smoky gaze in Gimli’s direction. “Just a little bit. Just enough to leave a few marks here and there. Marks that he can look at later and remember how he got them and who put them there.”
“But I really don’t want Arwen to be in pain.”
“Arwen?” Legolas seemed to come out of a reverie. “Ah, yes, Arwen.”
Gimli smiled at Legolas’ confusion. “You and Arwen need to decide on a safe word, Aragorn. Then nobody can be hurt more than they want to be.”
“Safe word?” My what a lot I am learning tonight, thought Aragorn.
“Yes, you see,” explained Gimli, getting into his stride, “if the submissive partner were to shout ‘No! No! Stop it! It hurts!’, the dominant partner has no idea whether the submissive one means it, or if he is simply playing his role with particular gusto.
“But if you have a safe word,” said Legolas, taking up the explanation enthusiastically, “the submissive one can shout it, and the one on top knows that he is going too far, and he can be a little more gentle.”
“Oh, I see,” said Aragorn.
“But you mustn’t choose a word that the submissive one might shout out anyway,” Gimli added, looking sternly at Legolas. “Because that just leads to confusion and disappointment.”
“And dominant partners throwing keys out of windows in frustration!” continued Legolas grinning at Gimli, who burst into laughter.
“And you must make sure that the submissive one isn’t so flighty and empty-headed that he keeps forgetting the safe word!”
“You kept changing it, Gimli. I got confused! I could not think straight! There was not a great deal of blood flowing to my brain at that stage.”
“And you must think very carefully about the implications of using a safe word when your partner is gagged.”
“You would not believe how hard it is to say ‘Asparagus!’ when you have a scarf in your mouth and you are tied to the bed!” said Legolas.
“Asparagus?” Aragorn raised his eyebrows? “Asparagus?”
Legolas, realising that he had revealed a tad more than he had intended, bit his lip and stared guiltily at Gimli.
“Well, it’s as good a word as any!” said Gimli, winking at Legolas. “You realise don’t you, my love, that Aragorn will never be able to eat asparagus without thinking of you tied to the bed?”
“Oh gods!” Aragorn held his head in his hands.
“Moaning and writhing in ecstasy…” continued Gimli, cruelly.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no!” Aragorn wailed.
Legolas, figuratively speaking, took the baton from Gimli and ran with it. “And Gimli doing unspeakable things to me with his—”
“NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!”
Legolas and Gimli dissolved into laughter, leaning against each other and collapsing sideways on the couch.
Aragorn took his hands tentatively from his ears. “Have you two quite finished?” he asked.
Elf and Dwarf could only nod in mute agreement as laughter made words impossible. Aragorn smiled ruefully at them and shook his head. Perhaps he would never be able to eat asparagus again with a straight face, but equally Legolas and Gimli would never be able to use that word without thinking of him. So perhaps the score was even.
“So if I can recap,” said Aragorn as Legolas and Gimli began to recover. “Your advice so far has covered role play, bondage, food, positions,” he said tapping the pocket containing Gimli’s drawings, “ and locations, including rooms in this Palace that I had formerly considered sacrosanct.” Legolas and Gimli had the grace to look a shade embarrassed. “Do you have any other suggestive suggestions?”
“Erm…” Gimli took a few puffs on his pipe. “Maybe Legolas, you could run along to our room and get my notebook?” Legolas jumped up.
“Ah! No, please,” Aragorn interjected, holding up both hands palm-first. “I would not want to put you to any trouble. Sit down, please, Legolas! I am quite happy with the ideas that you have given me. Really, I am!”
Legolas sank gracefully back onto the couch. They sat for a few seconds in thoughtful silence. The fire settled a little in the grate. Smoke from Aragorn and Gimli’s pipes drifted up to the ceiling and hung there, steadfastly refusing to be dispersed by the draughts from the many open windows. Eventually Gimli took his pipe out of his mouth.
“Have your tried,” he ventured, “talking dirty to the Queen?”
Aragorn frowned. “Not to my knowledge,” he said hesitantly.
“You could try that then,” said Gimli. “Might work.”
“And between you, you know several languages,” said Legolas brightly. “Dirty talk in Quenya is an interesting challenge.”
“Quenya? My Quenya is a little rusty,” said Aragorn.
“Oh, I am sure that Arwen would help you develop your vocabulary!” Turning to Gimli, Legolas murmured a few Quenyan phrases in a voice dripping with honey. Aragorn could not understand some of the words, but those he did recognise made him bite the stem of his pipe so hard that it almost broke. Gimli put down his pipe and gazed up into the Elf’s eyes. “Now you know very well, Legolas, that there is only one language for that kind of talk.” And, in a low, rumbling voice, Gimli began to talk to Legolas in Khuzdul.
Aragorn understood not a single word. He would not have been surprised if Legolas hadn’t either, but that didn’t matter because Gimli’s tone of voice and the look in his eyes spoke volumes. The strange Dwarvish phrases seemed to bypass the Elf’s brain and reach straight for his libido. Deep, rumbling, rhythmic words rolled from the Dwarf’s lips as he told his lover what he wanted to do with him. Legolas was mesmerised. The Elf’s lips were parted and his breath was coming just a little faster. Then to Aragorn’s utter amazement, Legolas began to speak in Khuzdul as well! To the King the effect of Legolas’ light tenor voice uttering Dwarvish phrases was bizarre, but clearly Gimli found it intensely erotic. Helpless whimpers escaped from Gimli as Legolas leaned close to him and spoke his dark promises into the Dwarf’s ear. Gradually Legolas pushed Gimli backwards until he was lying against the arm of the couch. The Elf settled himself close to Gimli and renewed his litany of Khuzdul smut. Gimli’s eyes burned hotly as he gazed at his lover’s face and listened in awe as the stream of Sindarin-accented Dwarvish washed over him.
It began to dawn on Aragorn that no amount of ‘Ahem-ing’ was going to attract their attention this time. Gimli was talking again now, and Legolas was rubbing his face, cat-like, against that luxuriant, chestnut beard. Gimli’s hands were wandering down the Elf’s slim body and Aragorn really felt that his presence was surplus to requirements. Quietly he eased himself out of his chair and made for the door. Opening it with all the stealth he could muster, Aragorn cast one farewell glance at the entwined lovers and stepped out into the corridor, closing the door softly behind him.
Well, it had certainly been an instructive evening! They had given him food for thought, there was no doubt about that. Aragorn began to make his way towards the Royal bedroom suite. Certainly he would have to put some of Gimli and Legolas’ ideas into action in the near future. Yes, definitely. Aragorn smiled to himself at the thought of Legolas and Gimli as slave and Emperor. He was not sure Arwen would be in favour of that kind of shenanigans. She didn’t strike him as the kind of woman who would get pleasure from being dominated in the bedroom like that. Mind you, he thought – and the idea stopped him in his tracks – she would make a superb Empress. And with that in mind, Aragorn turned on his heel and walked out of the palace in the direction of the kennels. Surely, he thought to himself with a grin, amongst all those dogs there must be a spare collar lying around.
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.