Glóin was unsure how to receive his 'son' upon her return from the War. Oh, he was proud of her, for certain. She had proved herself most valiantly and he had heard many tales of her deeds. But something had changed. She was still Gimli, for the most part, but…
His eyes strayed to the elf seated beside her in the great hall. Glóin had found it more than a little disconcerting when Gimli had returned with the elf alongside her but had welcomed Thranduil's son as graciously as he could. It would not be said the Dwarves had no hospitality! He watched the two closely and found himself shaking his head at the odd sort of friendship that had grown between them. He would never have thought this possible while in Rivendell. Even now he would not have believed it if he were not seeing it with his own eyes.
The elf's eyes twinkled merrily at some jest Gimli made, and he grinned at her. Glóin's beard bristled when the grin was followed by a quick wink from the elf. How his fingers itched for the haft of his axe! But he did not wear one while in the Mountain. His father's heart protested to the strange behavior of the elf, but he had given up the right long ago to show such protectiveness.
Gimli threw her head back with a loud guffaw at something Thranduil's son said, then pounded him on the back, drawing a frown and a biting remark from the elf. Glóin relaxed a bit. Perhaps the elf was just a bit silly. After all, were not wood-elves merry and a bit childish at times? His reaction was only based on his own knowledge of Gimli's secret. He would not respond so if Gimli's gender were other than what it was, and the elf could not possibly know.
Yet as Glóin watched during the rest of the welcome feast; the odd friendship continued to trouble him. There were looks shared between the two that nearly had him rising to his feet with a protest, only to bite his tongue as he reminded himself he overreacted. It was simply the bond formed from fighting back to back over long months that he saw, nothing more.
Though he worked to convince himself of this, when Gimli rose to lead Legolas to the guest chambers, Glóin found himself following at a distance. The easy camaraderie between the elf and Gimli continued as they walked, but some niggling doubt kept Glóin hiding in the darkened corridors as he shadowed his 'son' and her companion.
Their steps halted, and Gimli gestured to a door. "This is the chamber assigned to you, Legolas, but if you would rather, I can show you back to the entrance. There are many trees in which you might rather find refuge for the night."
It surprised Glóin that Gimli would make such an offer. She loved the Mountain and boasted greatly of the welcome any visitor would find in their halls. Would the elf would shun their hospitality?
"I know how you love those silly trees," she continued with a shrug, and to Glóin's astonishment, appeared uncomfortable. She had not acted this way with the elf before, glancing down at her toes and not meeting his gaze. "It would not offend me if you preferred to sleep under the stars," she murmured.
"Dear Gimli." A slow smile turned the elf's lips, and he stepped closer. Glóin's eyes narrowed on him. "One might think you worry for me."
"Bah!" she grumbled, but did not look up.
"You honor me, sonof Glóin, but I shall be fine sleeping here." Legolas's smile faded. "Your halls are not like those of Moria, Gimli; the dark will not assail me, for there is no evil to trouble me here."
Glóin could only stare. Had he truly heard the slight inflection in the elf's voice when he had said the word 'son'? Was it possible that the elf knew? His eyes nearly bugged from his head as the elf tipped Gimli's chin up with one finger in her beard and placed a soft kiss to her forehead.
"Sleep well, elvellon," he whispered, then turned and slipped through the door to the chamber.
"Good night, Legolas," Gimli whispered. She stood there with a small smile that had Glóin's beard bristling and his hair standing on end. He marched out of the shadows, ignoring her stunned expression at his sudden appearance, and grabbed her by the arm.
"Da!" Her eyes were wide. "I did not know you were there."
He harrumphed. "Obviously." He marched her towards her chambers, planning a new series of locks to install on her door.
"But Da! It's not what you think!"
He harrumphed again, and walked faster.
NOTE: I will be posting an alternate ending to chapter 3 so this is not quite finished. ;)
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.