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Rating: NC-17 for highly squicky issues. Oh, and sex. Eventually.
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.
Summary: We all know dwarves can build walls, but can Gimli take these down without destroying what lies within?
A/N: This is dark, very dark, and it's gonna get darker before it gets lighter. There's a lot of stuff that happened in the past that will be told through flashbacks and memories. I admit, I'm probably taking some liberties with the canon, but I'm trying to comply in terms of time, actual happenings and whatnot. Oh, and I don't like Haldir at all. So I've made him a rather nasty fellow in this. Thranduil as well.
Extra notes: I'm taking this story from the standpoint that Gimli and Legolas have already started the becoming friends process - this just expands on stuff. I'm also not gonna be elaborating on book stuff unlessi t relates directly to what's going on. Where it can be avoided, I won't touch the canon, but if I do, I'll try to mention it.
Thanks to: Susanne for helping me plan this monstrosity and pointing out stuff I missed.
// Indicates a flashback //
[[ Indicates telepathy ]]
[Indicates a person's inner thoughts, known only to themselves. And us. ;-) ]
Gandalf was gone. There was no way around it. The company had already begun to fracture, and from this point on, things were only going to get worse. Legolas seemed to have been hit the hardest off all, though no one took it lightly. The first night they made camp, he said very little. As the others bedded down, he stayed on watch, insisting that the others sleep. Glancing around the camp, he realized he no longer felt safe. Legolas had never realized before how much he had relied on the wizard to create a buffer between himself and the rest of the Fellowship.
The Elf took little comfort in the trees around him, shuddering to remember the last time he had been among them. Shaking himself, Legolas walked carefully around the camp, checking the perimeter and listening for any sign of orc pursuit. There was a movement to his left and he turned to see Boromir rolling over in his sleep. Legolas studied the Man in the filtered moonlight for some time. The son of the Steward of Gondor was perhaps Legolas' least favorite member of the Fellowship. The Man reminded him far too much of his father when in the public eye. Thranduil was a king through and through, born to rule and well aware of it. Alone, however - Legolas stopped that train of thought and continued his silent patrol.
There was another stirring in the camp, and Legolas saw it was merely one of the Hobbits - or perhaps all of them, it was difficult to tell even with Elven vision - changing position. In the dark, he smiled, thinking of their innocence in the face of such evil. There was not nearly enough innocence in the world, the Elf decided. Too often it was taken too early.
Completing his circle around the camp, Legolas once again perched atop his rock, overlooking the entire fellowship asleep. In the shadows he could almost see the hint of a pointed hat and a puff of smoke. Ignoring the wave of melancholy, Legolas mentally steeled himself for the following day. Lothlórien was not a place that embraced change, so Haldir was probably a guard of the border, as he had always been since before Legolas had first ventured into the woods. Closing his eyes, Legolas concentrated on preparing himself for Haldir's inevitable attention. He knew he shouldn't be bothered as much as he was, but Legolas could still remember, so vividly, as if it were days ago, and not centuries, the treatment he'd received at the hands of the Lorien border guard.
// Legolas had been confident - his father valued knife fighting and so Legolas had been required to learn. He had stepped into the ring, opposite Haldir. Crouching, they circled one another. Haldir made the first lunge which Legolas dodged easily. "Pretty dancing, princeling," the guard had sneered, thrusting again and hitting only air. For some time they circled, dodging and feinting, neither gaining headway. Finally Haldir let out a yell and charged, catching Legolas unprepared. The Lorien Elf's knife sliced into Legolas' ribs, crimson blood soaking into his tunic like a blooming rose. Legolas tried to stand, wishing to resume the fight and avenge himself. A swift foot to his side prevented Legolas from breathing for several moments. When he was able to draw in air again, he saw he was alone in the sand arena. Shame washed over him as he clutched his wound, forbidding the tears that formed behind his eyes and he vowed to let no one discover his humiliation. //
Gasping, Legolas snapped out of the memory, still shaking from the power of it. There was a small sound from within the camp and he honed in on it.
It was coming from Gimli's bedroll. Legolas looked carefully, focusing his vision to see if there were perhaps a scurrying creature about. His eyes made out two pinpoints of reflected light. With a start, he realized the dwarf was awake. For how long, he did not know, but Gimli had been watching him for at least a few minutes. He met the gaze through the darkness and felt himself strangely comforted. The lights in Gimli's eyes wavered and vanished as the Dwarf returned to sleep.
For the first time, Legolas gave serious thought to the dwarf, the largest enigma in the group, aside from himself. Gimli, most alone of all the Fellowship. The Hobbits had each other, known from childhood and followed each other out of love and loyalty. The men though different shared a bond of kinship among warriors. When Gandalf was alive, Legolas had taken some comfort in the Wizard and his great age, for they had both walked some centuries upon middle earth and their age had been a bond. Now there was no one who knew such time, and he was truly alone.
Thinking on that, Legolas kept guard the rest of the night, feeling able to handle whatever the morning would bring.
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It was their first night in the Golden Wood and already Gimli was beginning to succumb to the beauty of Elven lands. He had begun to notice in Rivendell, but the intervening journey had driven it from his mind. Now surrounded by trees as ancient and beautiful as the Elves themselves, Gimli began to understand why so many songs were made of these people.
Legolas was keeping himself in close proximity to the dwarf because of Haldir, though not because of his orders. Keeping an eye on Gimli effectively removed him from Haldir's presence, as the other Elf had no wish to stay close to the dwarf. Legolas had his own reasons for wishing to keep Haldir away.
// Legolas had gotten lost as he still did from time to time among the trees of the forest. He heard a noise behind him and turned, his pulse racing. Haldir stepped out of the shadows, an arrogant smile on his face. "Hello Prince," the title was not meant with respect. "Got a little lost, have we?" The Lórien Elf moved closer, causing Legolas to retreat instinctively. Unwilling to turn his back on the older elf, he had stepped backwards, finally tripping on a tree root. With a soft grunt, he landed on his back, legs splayed. Haldir's smile turned from arrogant to predatory and Legolas felt a chill in his veins. The Lórien elf crouched over Legolas, one hand firmly on his chest. "Are we scared, little prince?" He sneered, his voice like honeyed poison.
Legolas was trembling violently as he tried to back away, his throat frozen as it always was. Every touch from Haldir reminded him of his hated father. "Pl-please," his plea was soft, his voice shaking.
Haldir pressed is hand down, pinning Legolas in place as he bent lower. His breath was on Legolas' face and he was about to speak when he was interrupted by a distant call. Standing, he abandoned Legolas on the ground as a child leaves forgotten toys of no importance //
Listening carefully, Legolas was certain no other elves were about. At least he hoped that Haldir wasn't. Stealing away for a moment, he sought a place to contemplate his situation in peace and solitude.
"I never thought to see you back in these woods, little prince." The voice was older, but the chill it gave Legolas was the same.
Turning, he saw Haldir had followed him when he left camp. He should have known better than to assume Haldir would just leave him be. Standing up straighter, he thought fleetingly he would have been better staying with Gimli.
"I am here on an errand of Lord Elrond." Haldir took a step closer and Legolas held his ground.
"Are you really? Do you think I care? You bring danger here, Princeling. Those children of folly, and the dwarf! A Dwarf in Lothlórien! The place will be forever tainted!"
Legolas realized he had been stepping back in retreat as Haldir's anger moved him forward. His back hit a tree and he grunted softly. "It is already tainted for some," he said levelly.
Haldir gave a cruel smile, realizing he had Legolas trapped. He pressed forward, enjoying the pained look on Legolas' face. "You've grown, little prince," Haldir ran a hand down Legolas' side, stroking his thigh and watching him shake like a leaf in high wind. "But you haven't changed much." His lips hovered an inch away from Legolas', their breath mingled. Suddenly he turned at a sound to his right. A clink of metal he recognized as the dwarf. Stepping back quickly, he dashed off before he was seen.
Gimli stepped into the clearing he had seen Legolas enter moments earlier. The archer was leaning against a tree as though held there by an invisible force. His eyes were open, and as Gimli drew closer, he could see a fierce sadness and anger in them.
// Legolas was a child, not more than seventy. He was to be hunting with his father. They had ridden out to a field and dismounted. "There, look Legolas," Thranduil said, wrapping an arm around his son't shoulder and pointing to a deer some ways off.
"I see it, Father," he replied, readying his bow. Straightening, he drew the arrow back. His shot when wild when something brushed his- //
Gimli's hand touched Legolas's elbow, snapping him from his trancelike state. "No!" he cried, looking blindly at Gimli before dashing off. His brow furrowed with worry, Gimli made his way back to camp, part of him wanting to track Legolas and ask what had disturbed him.
He was settling down for sleep a short time later when he heard a rustle in the trees. Legolas emerged and walked silently to a branch near him, perching on it. Gimli saw his limbs assume a relaxed state and knew the Elf was in his state of sleep.
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The following morning the company rose and set out again quickly. There was talk of orcs, but the Elves assured their safety as they pushed on. As they packed up, Gimli eyed Legolas, wanting to inquire about last night. The Elf's nervous manner, however, told him it was best to wait. He did notice that Legolas was far more nervous when that other elf- Halter - was around. Filing the information away for processing later, Gimli finished packing.
At the Celebrant, they crossed without incident and continued on their way. Legolas nearly danced across the rope strong over the river. Gimli held firmly onto the lower of the other ropes, moving slowly and carefully. Reaching the other side, he heaved a sigh of relief and Legolas gave him a brief pat on the shoulder, quickly turning his attention over to Sam, who was having a bad time of it.
A short time later, however, the company ground to a halt. Gimli, indignant and insulted by the suggestion, flatly refused to don a blindfold. Finally it was agreed that all members of the company - Legolas included - would enter blind. When this was suggested, Gimli thought he caught a shadow in his friend's eyes. He watched the Elf stiffen subtly as Haldir reached to blindfold him. Gimli decided he did not like the look on the other Elf's face at all. An Elf moved behind him and Gimli felt them begin to lower a blindfold around his eyes. Something brushed his hand and he realized it was Legolas' hand. Feeling Aragorn's hand on the other side, he took Legolas', noticing how tightly the elf was clutching his fingers.
Legolas' heart was pounding in his ears, drowning out almost everythingelse as he was led through the woods. He was first of the company, with Gimli behind, then Aragorn. After Aragorn were the Hobbits - Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin, and Boromir taking up the rear. Legolas knew Haldir wouldn't try anything while other Elves were around, and he could hear their footfalls even among the trees. The other elf came close, though. Several times Legolas felt a hand on his body where none was needed. There was even a sharp slap on his rump, almost making him gasp. He carefully held his breath, not wishing to alarm the rest of the company. With each incident, he tightened his hand on Gimli's, grateful for Dwarven strength. Legolas sensed Haldir moving closer, and felt a hand in his hair, causing him to jerk away.
// Halter had cornered the young Legolas once again and was tormenting him. "You think you're so pretty, don't you?" he mocked, smearing dirt in the Prince's hair. "Such a pretty little princeling you are." More dirt was smeared into his hair and onto his face. "See if they chase you now,"Haldir spit on his face and left Legolas curled up in defeat and confusion. //
Legolas reached out, trying to push Haldir away. His hand met air, and his ears were graced with soft Elven laughter laced with cruelty.
Gimli felt Legolas move suddenly and squeezed is hand, afraid the Elf had stumbled. When he heard the distinctly unpleasant laughter that followed, Gimli guessed at the reason. Tugging lightly on Aragorn, he quickened his pace, keeping himself closer to Legolas. There were no further incidents that he could detect. For the rest of the journey, the only time Haldir made his presence known was to relay news of their progress, and of the orcs which had followed them and were being hunted.
After a time, Halter told them they could remove their blindfolds, per instructions for The Lady herself. The Elf removed Gimli's blindfold, telling the dwarf to look upon him as a friend. Gimli merely scowled, and the Elf seemed to mistake it for a smile because his demeanor did not change as he went to speak to the rest of the fellowship.
Gimli looked around and was awe struck. The trees were massive, the flowers an array of colors no painter could dream, shining like a kings hoard in the midday sun. The others flopped onto the grass, warming themselves and sprawling as though they had not a care in the world. Gimli was fighting the urge to join them, but he kept glancing at Legolas and worrying. The normally cheery elf had turned somber since their arrival in these woods. Somehow Gimli sensed that it was more than the loss of Gandalf.
They stayed in the clearing, the others milling about. Legolas was seated, leaning against a tree near Gimli. Setting his axe aside, Gimli sat beside his friend. "Are you well?" he asked cautiously.
Legolas did not respond for some time, finally giving a small nod. Gimli did not believe it for a second, but with so many others around, he didn't wish to pry. He did notice that Legolas was a bit more relaxed than he had been. Saying nothing, the two sat in a companionable silence until they were fetched to be presented to the Lady Galadriel.
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The journey to and around Caras Galadhon was long, but not as tiring as Gimli had expected. Something about this place radiated a quiet energy. Night fell and lamps were lit as they continued. Only half aware of it, Gimli kept placing himself between Legolas and Haldir, keeping the Lórien elf as far from his friend as possible. When they reached their destination, Haldir said that Frodo should join him, and Legolas as well. Gimli tightened his fist on his axe at this, but otherwise gave no reaction. He shifted his gaze sideways to Legolas, seeing the Elf straighten himself, tilting his chin up and following Haldir and Frodo. Gimli followed a few steps behind, the others with him.
Legolas stepped before the Lord and Lady, bowing and feeling a familiar sensation in his head.
[[You have been long away from us, Legolas. You have a new strength that was lacking before.]] There was a flash of thought in Legolas' mind, unbidden. Galadriel caught it and he could feel her smiling. [[I am glad of it. We will talk more later.]]
Legolas took his seat in the circle, watching the others. Gimli was the last to present himself before the Lady of Lórien. Celeborn greeted the Dwarf, and Legolas thought of what Galadriel had seen. [There is truth in what she says. I cherish him perhaps more than is wise. But in a short time he has become very dear to me. With him, he simply is. What he feels is easily known if you know how to look. I can see himself placing himself between me and ... danger.] His mind shivered as he caught Haldir's eye across the circle. [In some strange way, he makes me feel safe as I haven't in far, far too long.]
[[Your heart is deep, Gimli, son of Glóin. Like all your kind you have many secrets.]] Gimli felt what could only be described as a breeze passing through his thoughts. [[Do you think it will truly be?]] She held a thought up for him to see. How easily she could read the longing in his heart. [[You could have it, this and more if only you had-]] Gimli guessed her road and blocked it, a surge of repugnance almost taking her aback. [[So. You wish it not.]] Gimli made no response outwardly, but she saw what he felt, and she knew how deep the feelings ran. [[I see. You wish it for itself alone.]] The breeze was gone and Gimli bowed at the words of greeting and friendship from Lord Celeborn.
The company told of its trials up to this point, Gimli listening with half an ear. He had been seated apart from Legolas, Boromir and Pippin between them. The Elf was visible at the edge of his vision and Gimli watched him. Occasionally, he shifted his glance to Haldir, who was also watching Legolas more closely than was proper. His eyes drifted to Gimli once and his serene, arrogant half smile faltered ever so slightly. From then on, the Lórien elf averted his gaze from Legolas, appearing to study the words of Aragorn as the Man told of the fall of Gandalf.
Gimli was fingering his axe, once again catching Haldir's eye for a moment. The Elf's already fair face seemed to whiten one more shade. Gimli's focus sharpened on Lord Celeborn when the Elf spoke regretfully of allowing Gimli into Lórien in light of the Balrog. At these words, Gimli tensed, ready to defend himself and his race when Galadriel spoke up. At her words, Gimli felt a strange weight being lifted, as if a burden of ice had melted in the sun. Dwarven words spoken in an Elven voice moved Gimli more than perhaps anything else had. Standing, he bowed and declared the Lady Galadriel of Lórien to be above all the jewels that still dwelt within the earth.
Galadriel declared that the company would sleep in peace, and their journey would no more be discussed for some time while they rested.
Filing down the hill which they had climbed, the Company found a pavilion had been set up on the ground for them. As they ate, discussion was made of their impressions of the Lord and Lady. Particularly the Lady Galadriel. All felt they had been tested and measured in some way, to see if they would somehow falter in their quest. Boromir tried to ferret out what temptation they had been offered, but none relented. Sitting back, Gimli took a draw from his pipe and held it thoughtfully. Nearby he could see Legolas, sitting apart from the others and declined to join the conversation. The smoke from Gimli's pipe crossed his face and he turned to regard the dwarf. He remembered what Galadriel had shown him and bowed his head slightly, giving Gimli a small smile.
Some time later discussion slowed and they company made for sleep. They chose their places and it worked that the Hobbits were together in one corner. The men were nearest the door, both meeting the instinct of a warrior and the urge to defend their dwelling. Gimli idly thought that there was nothing out there the company needed protecting from. Glancing at Legolas, who was bedding near him, he rethought himself. The company did not need protecting, but someone out there had shown himself to be a danger to someone in here, and Gimli slept with his axe at hand.
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Issue No.: 2.6
Site Last Updated: 11 May 2003