4. Wiser Halves
Legolas grimaced as the impossibly loud Dwarf paused, then, grumbling, plunked himself on the ground at a tree a few feet away. But even sitting, he could not be silent. It seemed that every part of him creaked, squeaked or scowled.
The Elf stared into the silvern darkness that seemed to hover always beneath the canopy of Lórien. The lament continued, well within his hearing and he believed, well within the Dwarf’s. He willed it to drown out every other sound and if it could, every thought in his mind.
Though he knew exactly where he was and exactly how to get back to the security and comfort of his own kind, he could not presently recall ever having felt more lost and more isolated.
He had abruptly stopped as if slapped because he felt as though he had been. It had suddenly and clearly occurred to him that the Dwarf had meant no offense in his comment and was, if anything, attempting to start the conversation he himself had truncated the first time.
He felt his jaw tighten and he exhaled slowly, trying to rid himself of the feeling of impending failure. So much for the keen senses of Elves, he thought, for he was unable even to tell the difference between an insult and a veiled apology. The Dwarf had started it, of course, but even that excuse felt as hollow as the Mines of Moria, for an feud cannot exist if only one is fighting. Legolas knew he should have known better; Gandalf had wished him to know better.
That the Dwarf had tried to start a second conversation after the first had gone so disastrously awry was surprisingly admirable and Legolas dimly realized that, if he could simply remain calm for the span of a single discussion, he might actually come to like Gimli.
The elven archer did not doubt his skills as a fighter, but of the rest of him he was less certain. It was as if, when arguing with the Dwarf, all reason left his mind. His voice said harsh, cruel things and somewhere deep inside, the true Legolas wondered why. And now with the anger still trembling through his muscles, causing his usually steady hands to quake slightly, tears of loathing coated his eyes and the true Legolas reclaimed control.
This was not who he was. He was not mean. He was not uncaring and yet, to the Dwarf he was. It was no real wonder that Gimli did not like him. He would not have liked himself either.
Gimli scowled, listening to the melodious lament, feeling as though it pierced him to the soul. He idly wished he understood Elvish and could comprehend the mournful words they sang of the wizard. He knew that a translator sat only feet from him, but he was determined not to be the first to speak; not after his attempt at reparation had been purposely misunderstood.
He did not even try to guess why the Elf had suddenly stopped. No doubt the tree had whispered to him, asking him to please, come and rest a while at its feet. Ridiculous, flighty, bothersome Elf. If he weren’t so useful during battle, Gimli would have declared him worthless to the company and beseeched Aragorn to dump him immediately, making a strong case against hauling unnecessary baggage.
Yet, his wiser half – the half that seemed to vanish when the Elf spoke to him – whispered that he might grow to like the son of Thranduil, if he dared; he was clever and the Dwarf liked cleverness. However, Gimli steadfastly ignored the voice. It could not be his own mind, he decided. It had to be the trees. These were elven trees after all, and no doubt they talked incessantly as well, giving advice that tired Dwarves didn’t want to hear.
But despite his wish to lay the blame solely on the Elf’s shoulders, he could not ignore the emptiness of failure hollowing his insides. This attempt at reconciliation, he supposed it could be called, had run no differently than any of his other conversations with Legolas. There had been unpleasant silence, then angry words and then angry silence. It was a pattern they knew well.
Gimli dimly realized that what he liked least about the Elf was his own reaction to him. He felt he became a shadow version of himself that contained only his spite and his malice – hardly what he considered his finer qualities. He was not at his best when arguing with Legolas. It was no real wonder, then, that the Elf did not like him. He did not entirely like himself.
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.