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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.
Summary: What sparked the Gimli/Legolas gravitational pull.
A/N: This rabid plot bunny attacked me at work. *shows the teethmarks on her arm* It's pure, pure siliness, and my brain just will not let go of the idea, so these two (I'm calling them the Hair Pair) might be back ...
More Notes: This can definitely be taken as slash, or preslash, or as I've been calling it, "slish" which is a mushup of Sili Slash, which this is, or tries to be.
CHAPTER 1: Monkeys do it
Gimli was getting tired of it. The Elf kept staring at him. It seemed as though every time he turned around, Legolas was quickly averting those quicksilver eyes of his elsewhere. Finally, after several days of this,Gimli cornered the blonde archer. "What is it?" the Dwarf growled, clutching his axe. "Why do you keep staring at me when you think I'm not looking? Legolas look startled. "Ah! So you think I hadn't noticed, eh? My brain isn't quite so thick as my beard." At this last word, the Elf gave a small whimper, his first sound of the entire encounter.
Legolas straightened, having wilted slightly under Gimli's aggression. He glanced around quickly, making sure none of the Fellowship were within earshot. "If I tell you, you must swear secrecy on pain of death." Gimli, a bit startled, nodded. Legolas continued in a hushed voice, leaning closer. "You know of the Curse of Man - Death." Again Gimli nodded. "It is not widely known, but Elves also have a curse." The Elf bowed his head, his golden hair falling down his shoulders. "We ... We love hair. We love long hair. Lots of it. In all your time in Rivendell, did you ever see an Elf with anything resembling short hair?" Gimli shook his head, still a little startled by this turn of events. "I'm amazed you didn't get this much attention in Rivendell, but then, you did spend most of your time with the other dwarves, not mingling much."
"What's this hair thing got to do with me?" Gimli asked finally. "I've got hair, aye. But not nearly so fair and fine as Elven hair."
"I-it's not the hair of your head that's captured my attention," the Elf admitted softly. Slowly, his hand reached for Gimli's beard.
With a growl and a sudden movement, Gimli had captured the slim Elven wrist, keeping it from its target. "Never touch a Dwarf's beard without permission." His voice was dangerously low.
Legolas nodded, willing to do just about anything to his hands on that mass of hair below the Dwarf's chin. "May I?"
After a moments thought, Gimli let go. "Do as ye will." Legolas slowly, almost reverently lay his hand on Gimli's beard. His slim fingers curled, sliding down through the strands. The hair parted easily, not pulling as he had expected.
Slim Elven fingers wrapped around one of the braids at the end of the beard. "Why are the braids so big?" he asked softly.
Gimli's answer was to hold up his hand, fingers short and thick even without gloves. "If we had fingers like yours, Elf, our braids wouldp robably look more like this." He reached out and fingered one of Legolas' tiny braids. His fingers brushed Legolas' cheek as he did so.
The Elf looked up at the contact, both hands stilling in Gimli's thick braid. "I could ... Perhaps as a token of friendship between our people...?" His offer was hesitant.
"You'd braid my beard?" He looked down, flipping up part of his beard to consider it for a moment. "Lotta beard, here."
Legolas nodded and Gimli thought he heard a tiny squeal of delight.
"Very well, but start from underneath. Don't want anyone getting funny ideas about us."
Again, Legolas nodded. "I'll just go get my comb," with that, he dashed off, leaving Gimli to chuckle and get comfortable. He knew he would be there a while, and was thankful the company had decided to take a day to rest.
After all, Dwarven beard grooming was serious business.
End Note: The title refers, of course, to the mutual grooming of primate species. Don't know if there are monkeys in Middle Earth. Don't really care, either. I like the title. '-)
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CHAPTER 2: Of Beards and pets
Legolas took his time, working a little each day, so that by the time they reached Lorien, only half of Gimli' beard had been braided. They had stole away to work on it when Legolas noticed Gimli scratching at his beard. "Something troubling you?"
"Aye," the dwarf grunted. "Seems to be something in here," His fingers wiggle in his beard, pushing little braids aside as if searching for something.
"Let me," Legolas knelt and began to stroke the long red beard, feeling what was definitely something wiggling. He very carefully parted the bushy hair and spied something clinging to one of the tiny braids. With Elven speed, he grabbed the creature, hearing it squeak. "What is this?" he held the thing up, which curled around his finger with all six tiny legs.
"Oh no ... It's a beardbug. I thought I was rid of them when we left Rivendell. I must have picked it up in Moria." Gimli reached for Legolas' hand, but the Elf pulled away, looking closely at the creature.
Moving lightly, the strange looking insect crawled up Legolas' finger, causing the young elf to laugh. "It tickles. What is it?"
"I told you, it's a beardbug, they're an annoying creature that live in hair and lay their eggs in the rocks." He gives Legolas a suspicious look. "Some say they were bred by Elves as revenge on us for having beards."
Legolas was still studying the creature, letting it crawl up his arm, then onto his other hand, apparently engrossed in it's antics. It was clearly trying to climb up his arm in the direction of his hair.
"We generally kill them, though when a nest is found, they can plague a mine for years." He watched Legolas, a strange resignation coming over him as he witnessed the obvious delight Legolas was taking in the creature. "Of course, there are some young dwarves who like keeping them as pets," he said darkly, regretting it even as he said it. "Let me take it now, I'll get rid of it,"
"No!" Legolas pulled his hand away, cradling the little bug from Gimli's hands. "I like it." He looked fondly at his hand, one finger playing with the creature. "It's amusing to watch."
Gimli gave a growling sigh. "Fine, but he's sleeping in your hair."
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CHAPTER 3: Defeat
Setting: Towards the end of their stay in Lorien
Gimli was relaxing on the grass in a clearing, admiring the braids of his beard when Merry ran up to him. "Gimli, I think there's something wrong with Legolas," the young Hobbit panted.
Turning to Merry, Gimli looked up at him. "And what makes ye think I can help?"
Merry shifted his weight from one foot to the other, trying to work out how best to say it. His eyes drifted down to the mass of braids now clearly visible in Gimli's beard.
Gimli caught the direction of the Hobbit's gaze. "I see. What's he doing to cause such a fuss?"
Merry was about to answer when Pippin ran by, screaming for help with Legolas close behind "But I'm almost done!" the Elf cried.
Grumbling, Gimli stood, then scooped up the beard bug, who was now three times his original size. Merry's eyes widened when he saw it. "What's that?" he seemed to have momentarily forgotten his friend's distress.
"A nuisance," the Dwarf grumbled and took off after Pippin and Legolas, axe in one hand, beardbug in the other.
They caught up to the pair a short distance away, Pippin backed fearfully against a tree, Legolas on his knees before him. "I never noticed before how soft hobbit hair was ..." Legolas was stroking Pippin's feet, running his fingers though the hair.
Gimli dropped his axe and set the beardbug in Merry's hair, causing the hobbit to yelp in surprise. Reaching forward, he took hold of Legolas' hair and pulled back, forcing the archer away from the Hobbit. "Leave the Hobbits alone, Elf," he growled in Legolas' ear. "Or I'm getting Aragorn to teach me how to shave - got it?"
Legolas gave a tiny whimper and nodded, letting go of Pippin's feet. As soon as he was free, Pippin launched himself at Merry, hugging the other Hobbit tightly. "What's that?!" he asked when they pulled apart, looking up at his friend's hair.
"Oh!" Legolas noticed the beardbug in Merry's hair and reached for it, yelping when he realized painfully that Gimli still had a firm grip on his hair. Keeping his head still, his long arms reached for the bug, which leapt happily onto his finger, crawled up his arm and into his hair at an alarming rate.
Only when the hobbits were gone did Gimli release his hold on Legolas. "A dwarf never gives in to defeat."
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It had been some days since the company had departed from Rivendell. At Legolas' request, he and Gimli had been allowed to share a boat. Usually Gimli rowed while Legolas played with the Dwarf's hair. There must have been a thousand tiny braids by now, and Gimli had given up any attempts to keep their relationship - such as it was - a secret.
He had also given up any attempt at wearing his helmet. Instead, he had turned the thing into a bit of a nest for Niben, as they had named the beardbug. It made sense, actually, since the pest had recently burrowed into the metal of the helmet, rendering it useless as headgear.
Gimli rowed steadily, letting the Elf's fingers in his hair relax him. He could feel a shifting in the boat and Legolas slid forward, his legs on either side of Gimli's. "What are you up to, Elf?" He asked gruffly.
"I need to get at the top," he replied cheerfully. Gimli could hear the Elf cooing at Niben, who had until then been resting atop Legolas' head, basking in the sun. "Can you hold him, Gimli?" Without waiting for an answer, Legolas reached around the Dwarf and set the bug on the patch of hair covering Gimli's chin. The dwarf could feel the creature wriggling down to nestle closer to his chest, which was warmer even than Legolas' sunwarmed head.
Some time later, they dragged the boats ashore, having reached an impasse. Frodo had wandered off alone to decide, and Legolas contented himself with braiding Gimli's hair, having long since finished with his beard. He occasionally found his eyes wandering, his hands twitching as he thought of the heads - and feet - of the others, but Gimli's hair and beard were more than enough to keep him happy. The fact that the Dwarf was obsessive about keeping his axes sharp didn't promote wandering hands, either.
Gimli felt Legolas' braiding come to a halt and the elf sighed behind him. "What's wrong?" he growled quietly.
"There's ... There's nothing left ..." Legolas sounded crushed, and his fingers gathered the tiny but heavy braids and slid through them.
"Don't be so sure, elf." Gimli stood and turned, his eyes sparkling as he looked down at the Elf. "Come with me, I'll prove you wrong."
Legolas looked Gimli up and down, his eyes growing wide as he realized the Dwarf's implications. "You ... you would ..." he was speechless as well as breathless.
"Aye," he replied softly. "But not here," his eyes darted about, indicating the others in the Company.
Legolas nodded and stood, trailing Gimli into the woods. Before he was out of sight, he turned to the company and excused them, offering the excuse that they were looking for firewood.
Pippin glanced at Merry, then at the large pile of firewood already gathered. "Isn't that where Boromir went?"
"It's a big people thing, Pippin," Merry replied, toying with the delicate hairs of his friend's feet.
After catching up with Gimli, Legolas saw the Dwarf beginning to take off his armor. When the arms were exposed, Legolas gasped softly, seeing the furrlike hair that covered them. A full fledged whimper left him as he could see thick tufts of hair peeking through the tunic, which, along with his breeches, was all the Dwarf remained wearing.
"Gimli," Legolas purred, kneeling before the Dwarf, splaying his hands over the broad, hirsute chest. "It's magnificent." His blue eyes shone as he met Gimli's brown ones. "You're magnificent." Legolas curled his fingers around Gimli's chest hair, tugging the Dwarf closer. Their first kiss was sweet. Their second sweeter. Pulling back from the third, they were both breathless.
It wasn't until some time later that either spoke again. "So ... Elves do have hair besides this," Gimli murmured, stroking Legolas' hair as it lay draped across his chest. Looking at the brown and gold intermingled hair, Gimli decided he'd never been so content. He was even disposed to liking Niben, who was currently nestled in the hair atop Legolas' head. It had been the only safe haven during the recent storm of activity between the two males.
"Yes, and I had not expected quite ... that reaction." Gimli could almost hear the blush in Legolas' voice. Reluctantly, the Elf sat up, "We should get back to camp before they wonder where we've got to."
Gimli laughed as he stood. "With all the noise one of us made, I doubt there's any question of our activities."
Legolas had the grace to blush to the tips of his recently chewed ears. "You are rather ... forceful, Gimli," he demurred.
"Didn't hear you complaining at the time," Gimli buckled his trousers and reached for his mail shirt.
"Nor am I now," he reached for Gimli's beard. Burying his fingers in the mass of braids, he tugged the Dwarf closer for a kiss before standing and pulling his own leggings on.
Fully dressed once again, they headed back towards camp, meeting a distressed looking Boromir on the way. The Man glanced quizzically at Legolas' head. He had not seen the strange creature before, and immediately took it for an enemy. "Legolas, hold still, there's something crawling on your head." He reached for Niben but was stopped by something lodged deep in his stomach. Looking down, the Son of the Steward was surprised to find an arrow sticking out of his torso. Legolas turned to see Gimli lowering the bow. "No one touches Niben," the Dwarf growled, grabbing another arrow from Legolas' quiver. At his lover's questioning look, he shrugged. "It was faster than the axe." He shot Boromir again, several more times.
"Gimli ... how can we ... what about?" Legolas was distressed, running his finger's through Gimli's beard to calm himself.
Gimli pulled the Elf in for a long kiss, stroking his hair possessively. "We'll tell them it was orcs."
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Issue No.: 2.6
Site Last Updated: 11 May 2003