He wished also for a bath and a comfortable bed and cold ale, but knew he wasn't likely to get any of these things for some time to come. He shifted his position on the floor to keep his legs from cramping up and berated himself. He was a dwarf, after all, and could do without a few comforts on the battlefield. He had seen worse times than this by far. Yet a weariness weighed upon his heart that he had trouble shrugging off. Even had he wanted rest, sleep would not have come to him. He could not stop his gaze from constantly wandering to his stricken friend. He feared to close his eyes lest Legolas should wake, or worse, lest Legolas should never wake again.
He found himself staring down once more at the elf's form beside him, seeking reassurance in the slight rise and fall of Legolas's breast that marked he was still among the living. Gimli felt panic well up inside him when, for a moment, it seemed to him that Legolas had gone terribly, terribly still. His own heart lurched and the elf's name stuck in his throat. The dwarf breathed a ragged sigh of relief when Legolas stirred and murmured softly in whatever black dreams he wandered.
Gimli ran tentative fingers down the column of the elf's smooth neck, feeling for a pulse. It was faint, but steady.
Like a wounded animal, Gimli thought as he watched him. A proud deer, strength and innocence bound into one being, brought down by a hunter's arrow, his spirit shattered.
He jerked his head away irritably. He was becoming as sentimental as the blasted elf. If he wasn't careful, soon he'd be out attempting to sing to the trees.
That image brought a brief smile to his lips. He looked askance at Legolas next to him, and the dwarf realized something which gave him some small comfort. Legolas seemed to shimmer faintly in the near darkness. This was nothing new, certainly. The dwarf had noticed this before in the nights during their long hunt with Aragorn, and he had shrugged it off as yet another annoying quality about his elven companion. He had scoffed then, telling Legolas to cast a blanket over himself lest he keep the other two awake. "Like sleeping next to an enormous willowisp," he had grumbled.
Now, as he sat there worrying and musing in the small room, Gimli paused to reflect on it. Perhaps the elves were made up of a bit of the stars they loved and revered, he thought. He had certainly never been close enough to many elves to ever ask, and while he had known Legolas, such matters had not come up. He had not spent much time looking up at the sky in his life before he had met Legolas. He much preferred the earth, and would not to waste his attention dreaming upon clouds and contemplating the stars. What dwarf would! Such things were far removed from everyday life and served no purpose. But that glow about his companion gave the dwarf hope, even as he shook his head once more at the strangeness of this eldest of races. It reminded him of Rivendell, of Lothlorien... of Elrond and Celeborn, and the Lady Galadriel, of something more profound that those bound to Middle-earth could fathom. The elves were fading, if all that was said was true, but there was greatness in them yet, and he had to admit that there was perhaps more to life now than he had ever understood living with his kin beneath the Lonely Mountain.
Whatever fate held for Legolas, he was not meant to die here, he was certain of that. He could not die here. He would not die here.
Gimli was taken aback by how disturbed he was at the thought, at how dear Legolas had become to him, a hardened dwarf who not so long ago would have scorned the thought that he'd ever be worrying over an elf. There was a time he would have thought anyone mad who told him that without a moment's consideration he would willingly trade his own life for Legolas's, to have him well and standing tall once more, dauntless and untouchable and annoyingly light of heart as ever he was.
But that was how it stood. He wanted nothing more than just that. Despair crept back into Gimli's soul and he anxiously kept watch once more over the pale, sleeping face of the elf before him, such exhaustion closing even those eyes... and yet shimmering with that light even such devilry as Saruman devised could not quench.
He stayed near Legolas's side, distracted and lost in thought. He did not notice Legolas awaken until he felt an almost imperceptible pressure of fingers upon his arm. He blinked to find the elf watching him.
"You... are still here..." Legolas murmured softly. His gaze was abstract, as if he were still walking in a dream.
"Of course I am, you fool of an Elf. Where did you think I'd go?"
Legolas closed his eyes slowly and swallowed. In a hushed voice he said, "Please... do not leave me."
Overwhelmed, Gimli bowed his head and felt hot tears form. "I won't." He bent and pressed his lips to the elf's brow tenderly. Legolas moaned at the touch. A compulsion took him over, and before Gimli stopped to think, the dwarf lowered his head and gently brushed his lips over Legolas's.
The elf drew in a slight, quick breath. Gimli froze, disbelieving.
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.