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A/N: There's so few Legolas/Gimli stories on the net I've been forced into writing my own. Damnit! I know Gimli's not beautiful but having read the books - I simply can't picture the lovely Legolas with anyone else.
Not rubies for their fire would jar. Sapphires were pretty, yet their glow cast only a pale light that would shadow rather than illuminate his treasure. Diamonds perhaps. Rare and precious. Gimli sorted and graded gemstones, mentally holding up each against the three silken strands of hair given to him by the Lady Galadriel and finding them lacking. Gold, then, and a casing of rock crystal. Pure and simple. Would such a setting be illustrious enough for the treasure it held? He sighed.
The sound was loud enough to rouse the attention of his companion. Legolas returned from dreams of the fair woodlands of his home, and turned his gaze to the dwarf. "You are unhappy, friend Gimli. Is something amiss or is it that you pine for news of Frodo and Sam?"
Elf and dwarf sat with legs stretched out before them, their backs against the rough comfort of a large granite stone. They chose for their refuge a spot some little way from the centre of camp, near enough to be at hand if needed, but far enough to be outside the hustle and bustle of preparations for battle. The sky was overcast and the ground around their rocky outcrop, muddy and wet. It had rained earlier and it threatened to rain again. The sky was grey and overcast. Neither Legolas nor Gimli paid it any attention, so glad were they of the chance to sit and rest after days of marching and the recent battle. Their weapons axe and bow and packs lay companionably at their feet.
Gimli shifted slightly, turning his body so that he faced the speaker. "I do pine for news, and fear every moment that we do not hear and yet rejoice that we hear not, for I feel that at this time not hearing is better than hearing although neither brings comfort. But that is not it."
"What then?" Concern was in the low voice, and in the ageless eyes bent upon him.
Gimli met their clear gaze for a moment and then looked away, unable or unwilling to share what his own eyes might have told. For surely he was mistaken in what he thought he saw? "I was but wandering in my mind, dreaming of jeweled housings for the gift of the Lady of Lorien."
Legolas, who had seemed strangely unsettled at Gimli's refusal to look at him now laughed, the sound brittle against the low rumble of camp. "So that is it. Such is a dwarve's pleasure - rocks and minerals and the cold perfection of stones."
Gimli did not reply. After a moment the elf brought his long legs up and folded his arms around his shin, resting his chin on his knees. "No wonder Durin's race spreads but slowly. Truly it must be hard to win the heart of such connoisseurs of beauty who seek only perfection and finding it, or the property of some other, not would rather do without than live with something less." He looked down as he spoke. Harsh words. Yet their tone seemed more bitter than scornful. Legolas' face was hidden and his words muffled.
Gimli half lifted a hand but stayed the impulse. He cheeks reddened. "What would you have me dream of friend? Of no other beauty are we masters." At this Legolas lifted his head. A thoughtful expression appeared on his face but before he could say anything Gimli had quickly continued speaking. "In any case, it was not of myself that I was thinking. I would not dishonour the Lady's gift with some unworthy setting."
A half-smile lifted Legolas' mouth, his eyes glittered. Whatever the previous tone his voice now was a challenge. Wicked and amused. "Perhaps you need to practice."
The response was unexpected. Of some things dwarves do not jest. Gimli gripped his hands in the air as if around an imaginary axe, passion firing in his eyes as he spoke eagerly of his kin's craftsmen. "You are right. It has ever been our practice to chip and test and experiment before we commit ourselves to the final form of an object. Then, when we come to make our move there is no uncertainty. We know that it is right and fitting and that there is no other equal to it and there can be no other way. So we will have everything or we will have nothing." He stopped. The enthusiasm waning as quickly as it came. "But where will I find such locks among my people?" He lifted one long thick strand of hair and dropped it in disgust. "Pgah. It is too course and base to even contemplate. Now if I had such hair as yours I might search my heart less. For you are of the same type - strong and fair."
This last was said with an effort at lightness. As if making a joke at something that both knew was no joke. At that Legolas raised his hands and swiftly undid a plait. He separated three strands and pulled so that they came away at the root. "Here then, friend, take them if it pleases you, although you compare a drop of rain to the depths of the ocean. Who can say what is fair to another's eyes?" As he spoke the first drops of the long-threatened rain began to fall.
Gimli's voice was gruff in response. He put out his hand for the three strands. "It pleases me. And a drop of rain may be more welcome than all the salt waters of the deep. One might drown in one and live by the other."
For a moment their eyes met again. This time the dwarf did not look away. Two further drops of water fell on the hand of Gimli as it lay open holding the pale hair of his companion.
"Why then, Gimli, you may have all the drops ask for." The elf paused, glanced at the gray sky and added, "More perhaps than you ask for. "
Gimli's square fingers folded up against the hair. "Nay Legolas, I do not think that such a thing would be possible?"
"How shall we know if you never ask?"
More rain was falling now. Around them men hurried to move themselves and their gear into such shelter as they could find. A horse neighed disturbed by the sudden increase in activity.
"Come Gimli," said Legolas at last when it became obvious that his companion was not about to answer. He rose to his feet. "We should go inside."
"A moment. You go. I will follow."
"As you will." Legolas picked up his pack and made his way across the camp to the shelter of the cave. He moved lightly over the muddy ground, the soft leather shoes scarcely seeming to touch the earth as he walked and picking up none of the dirt and clay that mired Gimli's thick boots. Gimli sighed again, loudly, as there was none to hear him. He opened his fingers and looked down at the three long strands in his hand. Working quickly he fastened them into a thin plat and then looped the plait into a pale gold circlet.
In his pack the tresses of the Lady lay wrapped safely amongst half a dozen golden leaves from the mallorn trees of Lothlórien. The foliage had served as packing for the waybread that had sustained them when their own supplies had run out. They had no use now except as sentimental tokens that Gimli could not bear to throw away. Elvish things. He was ashamed of his weakness in keeping them. At first his thought was to store Legolas' hair amongst the leaves. But the pack was full and the leaves were at the bottom. Water was dropping harder now, anything he lifted and set on the ground would be quickly soaked.
Gimli hesitated for a moment and cast a furtive eye over the camp. No one seemed to observe him. He undid the fastenings of his shirt and jerkin and quickly pushed the circlet past the leather and wool. It lay cool and damp against his skin, quickly warming, a soft pressure against his heart.
He picked up his pack and shouldered his axe. Time to go. Still he made no move. Around him the rain continued to fall.
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Issue No.: 2.6
Site Last Updated: 11 May 2003