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 outside."
"Even in the midst of war, love and light seek to prevail," Legolas said quietly.
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, Master Elf."
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 Legolas gone.
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.