6. A Large Furry Something
Once Gimli was dry again, he was able to shake off his irritation at being wet upon by Legolas's tiny daughter. The evening was pleasant, and he enjoyed getting to know Legolas’s family better. Soon enough, between the large meal he had consumed, and the seemingly bottomless glasses of wine, Gimli was trying to hold back his yawns. It had been a long trip from Rohan to the Greenwood, and today seemed a longer day those spent in traveling. Legolas, as always, seemed to know his mind before he could speak and offered to show him to his guest room. Gimli smiled as his friend reluctantly passed little Míreth to Cellinn before leading the way through the halls.
As they walked down a hall, Legolas pointed to a door. "Those are my rooms. If you should find yourself in need of anything, do not hesitate to ask, my friend." Gimli nodded, and Legolas led them on down the hall, stopping several doors down from his own. Knowing Legolas wished to return to his family, Gimli didn't keep him. He shooed the elf off, and settled in to his temporary abode.
His pack had already been set on a low bench against one wall, and so he fetched what he needed to clean up before bed and then pushed open another the door that Legolas had mentioned contained a private bathing chamber. He was delighted to find the halls were blessed with a hot spring, and the elves had ingeniously run piping to many chambers, providing warm water for cleansing. Having similar but superior facilities, to his way of thinking, in the Lonely Mountain, Gimli enjoyed the opportunity to have his first hot bath since they had left Edoras.
Once he was clean and dressed in a large nightshirt, Gimli crawled under the silk sheets on a large, very comfortable bed. He was sound asleep within minutes.
When Legolas returned to the dining hall, he found his grandchildren had joined the rest of the family. Míreth was being passed around amongst them, but Legolas quickly reclaimed her for himself. He needed time to get used to the idea of being a new father again. He had never expected this! He would never regret it either.
When the elfling began to fuss in hunger, both Legolas and Cellinn took their leave from the family. As they passed the guest chambers, Legolas smiled at the faint snoring coming from beyond Gimli's door. His friend had fit in amongst his kin much better than he had dared to hope.
Opening the door to their chambers and escorting his wife through, Legolas found the rooms had not changed much, except for the small room off their bedroom. It once again held a small crib. He smiled at his wife, and released his daughter to her mother to be fed while he slipped into the bathing chamber to remove the grime of many days of travel.
When he exited the bathing room, he found Míreth had been fed and now rested sound asleep in her crib. Cellinn lay in their bed, a book dangling from her fingers. He met her eyes a moment, then slid in beside her. The book fell unheeded to the coverlet as he gathered his wife into his arms.
Gimli did not know how long he had been sleeping. Only that something had awakened him, some sound perhaps? He lay silent, listening, but heard nothing. Giving up, he attempted to return to the sound sleep he had enjoyed in the large, soft bed. It was nice and warm and toasty, and he felt snug as a bug in a rug, as Bilbo used to say. But for some reason, he could not sleep. Something was not quite right.
It took him a few minutes to realize what it was. Here he lay, a lone dwarf, sleeping in a huge bed, feeling nice and snug with something large and warm curled up against his back. Wait! Against my back? Yes, that was the source of his unease. Something large and warm shared his bed!
He tried to ignore it. He told himself he was simply dreaming and he did not want to know of what. After the day he'd had, it would be better to not know, not to be aware of strange things in his dreams. But what if he wasn't sleeping? He pinched himself, biting his lip when he realized he was indeed awake and sharing a bed with something. Gimli fought to convince himself that Legolas owned a large cat that had made itself comfortable on his bed. Did elves keep cats? Gimli wasn't sure. A dog, then? Yes, some lone hound looking for companionship, perhaps.
Unable to sleep not knowing for sure what shared his bed, Gimli slowly reached a hand out from under the covers and reached carefully behind him. There was definitely a large, furry something sleeping behind him. He could tell it was sleeping, because it was lightly snoring. This was somewhat comforting, as it was not that different from the room and bed he shared with his brother, Grayn. Though Grayn wasn't so hairy as this beast. Or as large, he noted with a shudder.
Unable to sleep not knowing what shared his bed, Gimli carefully, so as not to disturb the thing, slid from the covers and lit a candle. That was when he noticed the door stood ajar — apparently how the creature got in.
Gimli slowly turned to take in what was sharing his room. And so it was, he found himself nose to muzzle with the warg he had awakened by lighting the candle.
“LEGOLAS!” Gimli bellowed, calling out for his friend as he tried to scramble back from the warg. In truth, he would take anyone who happened to show up in answer to his calls. The warg advanced. "LEGOLAS! HELP!"
The door to his room flew all the way open, slamming against the wall. Gimli looked up from underneath the warg, a female he'd discovered who had decided to sit on him, and cover his face with warg kisses.
Meeting his friend’s eyes, after taking in the elf’s appearance, Gimli decided it might have been better to let the warg pretend he was her young. ANYTHING would have been better than the sight of his friend standing disheveled and naked in the doorway, his condition leaving no doubt in Gimli's mind as to exactly what Legolas had been doing prior to coming to the dwarf’s rescue.
To Be Continued…