1. A Question of Honour
The plotbunny has spent the last day bouncing round my head, and refuses to let anything else take up residence. I am hoping that posting this disgraceful piece of cru^h^h^hliterature will persuade the damn thing to hop somewhere else.
Éomer was his name.
He was blond, like Legolas. He was arrogant, like Legolas. He was tall and well-made, and extremely opinionated.
And he had just insulted the Lady Galadriel in my presence.
It made me want to smack him around the head - preferably with an axe - but it also made me want to tear his clothes off and ravish him senseless. But I can't help that. Blondes always have that effect on me - even Galadriel, though of course I never have.
I blame it on the Dwarvish liking for gold.
I challenged him immediately, and he gave me back proud words, and when I stood my ground and drew my axe, Legolas came immediately to my side.
"He stands not alone," he said proudly, and he was both telling Éomer and reminding me. He has the usual regrettable Elvish tendency towards possessiveness, and I fear he could see the sparks that flew between us.
But we came not to blows, for Aragorn came between us, and made peace with the arrogant creature before I could teach him manners, turning the conversation to other matters and somehow even winning Éomer's aid. It was probably as well, though. After all, we had work before us, and the missing halflings to seek, and really, it was not the time for it at all.
But we swore to meet again, and my last words as we parted were to challenge him - and he did not refuse my challenge. "The loving strokes of a Dwarf's axe," he said, and a fierce light was in his eyes as he said it.
Oh yes! And I wanted to see that light again; though whether I hoped to taste his mouth or spill his blood I cannot now tell.
For I did both before four days were out.
* * *
It was mischance drove us to Aglarond, I suppose, though I did regret it. We piled in like rats into a hole, I and Éomer and old Gamling and many others, and began to barricade the entrance.
Or rather I did not. An orc had managed to slice my scalp open in the retreat, and the Men were inclined to be coy about wounds and bade me sit back and wait to be tended.
To sit back in idleness! In caves as fair as those? No, of course I did not. The cut to my head was but a scratch - dramatic in appearance but hardly dangerous. And since they would not have my help, it seemed folly to wait in idleness. In all events, I had not intended to go far.
Éomer it was, and he sounded angry, walking as briskly as he could along the cave paths.
"Gimli! These caves are dangerous. You should not wander alone when you are hurt."
The caves were not in the least dangerous, and of course I was not hurt - and I told him so very irritably. It was a scratch, and nothing more; but like all wounds to the head it was making me bleed like a stuck pig.
"Nonetheless, I do not need your nannying. I am in no danger."
"Are you sure?"
"Of course I'm sure." I let myself snarl the words, for I had had more than enough of gentle handling. "Dwarves are not made to perish by such slight cuts."
At that he leaned forward, crouching, to inspect my face in detail. "I doubt you, Gimli, for your wound looks grim. Prove it to me."
Prove it, he said. And his face was so close to mine. And his hair was so bright, and his eyes so fierce. And what more invitation could I have asked for?
So I seized his head and pulled his face to mine, and kissed him.
His mouth tasted of blood and ashes, and the scent of it filled my heart with fire. For a moment his eyes were empty and stunned, and then the anger sprang up in them. But he did not pull away - no! - he returned the kiss hard and heavily, the blood from my wound smudging on his face and running in red rivulets through his gold, gold hair.
His kiss was fierce and furious, his eyes full of flame, and he tried to push me to the ground under him.
Never has any come so close to besting me in a match of wrestling. We Dwarves are unequalled as wrestlers among the races, and I am considered skilled among the Dwarves; but he was strong, and fierce, and in truth I was beginning to feel somewhat light-headed.
He was lighter than me, and at first I brought him down with ease, though he managed - almost - to pull me down with him. He struggled and thrashing like an eel in a net, but he would not take his lips from mine.
Oh, but there was wildness in his eyes!
So we threshed and wrestled on the rocky ground, trying each of us to subjugate the other, our mouths full of blood and fire and lightning, sometimes snarling, sometimes kissing, each attempting to pin the other down. Once he tried to take hold of my beard, and I had to lock my hands around his windpipe before he would relinquish the hold. He fought the choke fiercely, and almost succeeded in breaking free, but he could not prevail against me, any more than I could against him.
The match was even, half-battle, half-embrace, and neither of us had the dominance. And neither of us would settle for less.
Our mouths met again, harder and rougher than before, mingling the tastes of human and Dwarven blood. A cut gleamed bright on his cheekbone, that had not been there before, and his eyes were like pyres in the night, his golden hair shining with the heat of it. I growled against his mouth, and felt his breathing quicken and grow jagged.
Mahal! But it felt *good*.
And then they had to interrupt us and pull us apart.
It was old Gamling, and another soldier, who came across us, and Éomer rolled heavily away from me, his breathing fast and uneven in the near-darkness. There was a bright, feral light in his eyes that I understood perfectly. It must have been in my eyes also.
"What is it, Gamling?" he asked shortly. I could see the shape of his erection under his clothes, and by Mahal I could feel mine also.
Gamling cleared his throat, and gestured to the soldier beside him. "I have brought Éochain with me," he said. "I understood your companion was in need of healing." His voice was prim with disapproval. "I hardly think that one with such a head-wound as that-"
"'Tis but a scratch," I growled, and saw Éomer's eyes blaze again, more at my tone than my words.
Gamling and Éochain had brought torches with them, and I watched their flames gleaming brightly on Éomer's dark-gold hair. Rich, heavy stuff it was, thicker and more substantial than Legolas's, coarser than Galadriel's. It was mingled with my blood now - and I never spent blood better.
I could still taste his blood in my mouth.
"It was a question of honour between us, Gamling," Éomer said firmly, his voice tightly controlled. "It is a private matter, and should not be mentioned again before me or any other. Gimli, son of Glóin - we will resume our dispute at a more fortunate time."
"I shall be glad to do so." Oh yes. Most glad to do so. I grinned at him in the darkness, drawing back my lips to show the tips of my teeth like a predator. Our gazes locked for a moment, and the blood and fire and lightning still flowed between us. Then Gamling beckoned him, and he turned to go with him, leaving me to Éochain's care.
I did not relax as Éochain tended my cut: the blood and the adrenalin still sang in my veins, humming and thrummming their course through my veins, and making my head ring with the force of it. Never in all the days of my life had I felt so alive, so aware.
Never had I felt so *lustful*.
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