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Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JRR Tolkien. No money is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
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Summary: A sequel of sorts to "After Pelennor" A/N:
Having left the portico overlooking Minas Tirith, Legolas and Gimli walked for some minutes, then stopped and looked at each other. "Where are we going?" Gimli finally asked.
Legolas scratched his head. "I have no idea."
"Look! There's Pippin over there." Gimli waved, and the young hobbit detached himself from a group of soldiers and came towards them.
Legolas chuckled. "Our halfling cuts quite a dashing figure in that miniature uniform."
"Don't let him hear you say that," Gimli warned. "After all, he has a stickpin and he knows how to use it." He sounded so serious that Legolas had to look to see that he was smiling.
"Pippin!" Legolas exclaimed as the hobbit came up to them. "Just the person to help us."
Pippin pulled himself up to his full height, obviously pleased to be of service. "What can I do for you?"
"We are both weary from recent events," Legolas explained, "and were hoping to find a place where we might rest undisturbed for a few hours. We have lodgings in the camp outside the city, but it will be noisy at this time of day."
Pippin brightened. "I would be happy to lend you the use of my rooms," he said. "I can't get away from my duties to guide you there myself, you understand, but I can give you directions."
"Thank you, Master Took," Gimli said. "We are most grateful."
Gandalf strode hastily through the streets of Minas Tirith, grateful that Imrahil had suggested a short break to allow the council members to stretch their legs. He had realized about an hour into the meeting that he forgotten to replenish his supply of pipeweed that morning, and was keenly feeling the lack.
He frowned slightly as he reached the quarters he shared with Pippin. He distinctly remembered leaving the windows open to refresh the rooms with air and sunshine; now they were closed, and the curtains drawn.
Gandalf opened the door, took a step inside, and nearly tripped. Looking down to locate the obstacle, he spotted a boot. Not one of Pippin's; it was too large. Gandalf bent down and picked it up. It was of Elven make, finely crafted, but dusty and worn as if with much traveling. The laces up the side were only half undone, as if the owner had removed them in a hurry. Gandalf spotted its mate a few feet down the entrance hall.
*Peregrin must be entertaining*, he thought irritably. Coming into the main chamber, he had to wait for his eyes to adjust to the dim light filtering through the heavy curtains. There was no one there. But there was another pair of boots to trip over, equally well-worn, but of dwarven make. Then he noticed assorted pieces of clothing - leggings, tunics, and so on - leading in an erratic trail to the bedchamber. Raising an eyebrow, he moved silently to the half-open door, and peered in.
The first thing he saw was his pouch of pipeweed, right on the nightstand where he had left it.
The second thing he saw was the bed - and its inhabitants. Most creatures tend to look cute and harmless when fast asleep, and the elf and the dwarf were no exception. Indeed, had they not been snuggled up together naked, Gandalf might have believed there was a perfectly innocent explanation for their presence. As it was, however, he banged his staff on the floor and harrumphed loudly.
They both startled awake immediately. Gandalf noted with some minor approval that they did not move apart. Nonetheless, he glared at them. "Am I to understand," he thundered, "that Master Took has taken to renting out these rooms for assignations? To a dwarf... and one of the Eldar?"
Legolas looked as unabashed as possible given the circumstances. "We simply told him we wished a quiet place where we might pass the afternoon undisturbed."
"Which brings us to the question," added Gimli, "what are *you* doing here?"
"What am I...? These are *my quarters*, you insolent creature!"
Legolas and Gimli looked at each other. Finally Legolas said, "Pippin said they were *his* quarters."
Gimli said in a tone of wonderment, "A halfling... and one of the Istari?"
"Gimli!" hissed Legolas. "It isn't safe to tease a wizard! Aren't you afraid he might turn you into a wild beast?"
Gimli winked. Reaching up and tweaking Legolas' nose, he said, "That would be superfluous after this afternoon, don't you think?" Legolas blushed.
Gandalf, torn between fury and laughter, found himself momentarily deprived of speech. Finally he pointed to Pippin's trundle bed with his staff. Legolas and Gimli both followed it with their eyes, looked back at Gandalf, and nodded solemnly. It seemed they got the message: *Same quarters, separate beds.* Gandalf gathered up his pouch of pipeweed and the remnants of his dignity and swept out, managing to trip over only one of Gimli's boots before his final exit.
"I apologize for my prolonged absence," Gandalf said, settling himself once again at the council table. "My errand took longer than expected."
"There is no need to apologize," Imrahil said courteously.
"Was your pipeweed not where you thought you had left it, Mithrandir?" Aragorn asked, trying to hide a smile.
Gandalf harrumphed. "That was not the cause of the delay," he said. "Actually, I ran into unexpected company in my quarters." The others regarded him expectantly, and he finally explained, "Legolas and Gimli were... reconciling their differences."
Aragorn gave up trying to hide his amusement and grinned openly. "In your bedroom?"
Imrahil looked from one to the other, puzzled, as Gandalf said testily, "You don't seem surprised, Aragorn son of Arathorn, at such goings-on in your company."
"Oh, believe me, I am surprised," Aragorn said. "Surprised that it took this long." Gandalf raised his eyebrows. Aragorn went on, "Really, Gandalf! Beginning in Lorien, one would have to have been *dead* not to see the signs--" he broke off suddenly. "Oh, that's right."
Imrahil was getting impatient with the elliptical conversation. "Shall we get back to business, gentlemen?"
"Please," sighed Gandalf.
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Issue No.: 2.6
Site Last Updated: 11 May 2003