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Axe and Bow

A Legolas and Gimli fan archive

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Total Eclipse

by Marie Noire

Category: Songfic
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Graphic Sex.
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.
Feedback: Are bears Catholic? Does the Pope poop in the woods? Wait… that came out wrong…
Summary: After the War of the Ring, Legolas and Gimli go their separate ways, but cannot stop thinking of each other.  Friendship is thicker than blood, to quote Rent.
A/N:Four things.  One, THIS IS SLASH!  If that makes you uncomfortable then don't read it.  If you flame me for it, I will simply laugh derisively at you for being stupid enough to read it when there was a clear warning right here.  Two, Legolas, Gimli, and the whole of Middle Earth belong to JRR Tolkien, not me.  Thirdly, the song is "Total Eclipse of the Heart" sung by Bonnie Tyler and written by Jim Steinman… I don't own that either; I just fell asleep listening to it and ended up dreaming of Legolas and Gimli, hence this fic.  I own nothing, I make nothing from this, and you can't really sue me because I don't have any fiscal value anyway.   Lastly, this is the fiction that won at the first annual Fellowslash Convention for "Love With A Capital L and A Heart For the O".  Yeah me!
Also, lots and lots of thanks to my wonderful beta-readers Iocane and Zephyr!  This is all because of you gals!  Hugs and kisses! 

Every now and then I get a little bit lonely and you're never coming round
Every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears
Every now and then I get a little bit nervous that the best of all the years have gone by
Every now and then I get a little bit terrified and then I see the look in your eyes
Every now and then I fall apart

Every now and then I get a little bit restless and I dream of something wild
Every now and then I get a little bit helpless and I'm lying like a child in your arms
Every now and then I get a little bit angry and I know I've got to get out and cry
Every now and then I get a little bit terrified but then I see the look in your eyes
Every now and then I fall apart
Every now and then I fall apart

Gimli trotted steadily down the darkened hallway of well-polished stone, breathing in deeply as though he could overpower the stench of war and travel with the more soothing scents of red fires and roasting meats.  Already he could hear the deep-throated, cheerful voices of his kin a ways down in the main chamber, singing a traditional drinking song in celebration of the victory.  Gimli had barely crossed the threshold when a roar that any other race might have mistaken for a battle-cry echoed through the hall and he was swept up into several generous bear hugs and nearly pummeled to the floor by various enthusiastic slaps on the back. 

"Gimli, my boy!" Gloin finally pushed his way through the throngs to greet his son.  "About time you got back!  We were beginning to think you'd forgotten your roots!"

Gimli laughed heartily and shook his head.  "Hardly, father.  Now where's a mug of beer for the weary traveler?"

About six mugs were pushed towards him at once, before he'd even had the chance to relieve himself of his heavy pack or armor.  He stowed the pack under a nearby bench and began the involved task of removing the various metal garments before seating himself at the table, on Gloin's right side.  

Stories and songs abounded, tales of bravery both cunning and miraculous, but it was not long before Gimli found himself laughing less and staring at the fire more.  It was strange.  He was finally home, after years of absence, back where he belonged and among his family, whom he loved dearly.  Yet there was another pulling at his heart and unbidden a blinding smile and twinkling blue eyes entered his mind… a merry laugh and the irritating habit of singing incessantly.

Legolas… the Elf who he had been so loathe to travel with in the beginning.  The two of them had been at each other's throats constantly all the way to Moria.  Even in the oppressive silence of that ruined city, they had still managed to shoot each other scathing glances in the waning light.  Legolas had often mumbled under his breath about the Dwarf's lumbering gait and rough voice, not to mention his rather deplorable habit of snoring like an orc with a severe head cold.  Gimli had grumbled loud enough for all to hear about the Elf's vanity and slender build, although mostly he complained about the singing.  Singing was all well and good after you had a pint or two of ale in you… but the relentless vocal stylings of his Elvish companion nearly drove him insane.  If he heard one more song about the stars, he was going to send Legolas to visit them.

Then Gandalf had fallen and they had fled to Lothlorien, the last place in Middle Earth besides Mordor that Gimli ever wanted to go.  He would never admit it to his companions, but he had been enchanted by the place the minute they entered the golden-leafed forest.  He had always thought forests of all kinds to be cold and dangerous, allowing the cruel elements in and keeping dangerous creatures hidden behind green foliage.  But, like any red-blooded Dwarf, Gimli appreciated beauty of every form… and Lothlorien was a spectacle to behold.  The rest of Middle Earth may have been in the grips of a somewhat bitter winter… but the Golden Wood seemed to be in an eternal spring.  Contrary to what other races thought, the Dwarves were very much influenced by the turning of the seasons and took particular joy in spring and autumn.

Then there was the Lady of the Wood herself, a being of such radiance and beauty that even the Elf-disdaining Dwarf could not help but feel humble in her presence.  She had gently massaged her way into every member's mind and soothed their fears, while raising new questions in turn.

Why did he hate Elves so much?

Well, he didn't hate Elves.  He hated orcs and goblins, certainly… and one simply could not put those creatures and Elves in the same category.  He did not hate Elves… he disliked them… because… because… they were so different. 

Is difference such a terrible thing?

Well… no.  But he couldn't understand them.  Take Legolas for example… here they were on a perilous quest to see the One Ring to its destruction in Mordor… and he was bloody singing all the time!  How could anyone be so frivolous?  So impractical?  So blasted flippant?

Had he ever once given Gimli support for that theory, that Elves were aloof and apathetic, never caring for anything beyond their beloved trees and stars?  Had he ever overlooked a single detail that could cost the Fellowship?  He had been the first to spot the Crebain on their single-minded search… he had been the one to actually defeat the cave troll… he had skewered more orcs than Gimli could keep track of.  If he wanted to be completely honest, the Elf had more than earned the right to Gimli's trust and even his admiration.

Lorien had changed everything.  Legolas' first friendly advances were met with equally amiable responses.  They had started out merely sitting with each other and telling harmless stories and essentially distracting themselves from the aching grief that had accompanied Gandalf's fall.  It did not take long for the Elf to start making gentle queries of how Gimli knew the wizard and what sort of memories he retained of him.  It seemed they had both known him for a long time and both considered him a worthy ally and an even better friend.  Together they reminisced and eventually grief won out, tears coursing down hair-roughed and silky cheek alike.  Gimli had found himself holding a quietly sobbing Elf, rocking him to and fro and smoothing his pale blonde hair gently, even as his own shoulders heaved with sorrow.  In turn, Legolas had wrapped his arms around Gimli, fingers burying themselves within his thick mane of red-brown hair, holding the shaking Dwarf tightly.  Even amidst that outpouring of grief, the errant spark of desire flamed, catching them both like summer grass.  Gimli could not know remember who had made the first move, but it mattered little.  Their first kiss had been a treasure beyond imagining.  Gentle, almost tentative at first… but it soon blazed through Dwarf and Elf alike.  It was only one kiss, but it settled on both of their souls as though a niche had been carved there from the very beginning.  Not a word was spoken about the kiss that night, or for many nights afterwards; there was both too much and nothing to be said.  Through each other's warmth and comfort, they found a little slice of peace in the nearly doomed endeavor to see The One Ring destroyed.

The two were virtually inseparable from that moment on.  Even during the great battle in Rohan when Gimli found his Glittering Caves, they had been split apart for only a few hours, but both had felt it keenly.  Upon their reunion, they had been beside themselves with joy at seeing the other still alive.

That night, next to a warm campfire some ways' off from everyone else, they had shared themselves with each other.  Gimli had been not so much reluctant as cautious with such an intimacy.  Love bonds between warriors were an everyday occurrence among his folk, thanks in no small part the relatively small population of female Dwarves… so it was not an entirely new experience for him.  However, it was the first time he had felt such deep and desperate longing to join his flesh with another's… let alone another who also happened to be an Elf?  He had even surprised himself with his gentleness and his sudden ease in whispering sweet words to his Elvish lover.

And Legolas?  Ai… Legolas had been molten gold against him, searing and cool at once… as stunning as the stars, but no longer as distant.  Every kiss and caress was given so freely and with such abandon that Gimli felt himself fall more in love with Legolas with each cold-fire gaze.  He had been astonishingly pleased by his lover's form.  Where once he had thought Legolas to be girlish and delicate, now he found that beneath the smooth skin was a core of well-tempered steel.  Every muscle in the Elf's body was hard as metal… each beat of his heart as loud as a war drum.  There was nothing girlish about Legolas.  He was beautiful, angelically so… but it was a distinctly male beauty when paid special attention to.

Another song was loudly called for, forcing Gimli to look up and show some form of interest, lest his Father take note and corner him about it later.  He sighed once all eyes were on the superbly drunken singer.  He wanted to go to his chambers and sleep, not sit in the cheerful hall… not while his heart was so heavy with sorrow.  What he truly wanted was to go back out the way he'd come in and journey to Mirkwood, Legolas' homeland.  Never mind that he'd most likely be the second in his line to wind up in Thranduil's dungeons instead of the first Dwarf allowed in the prince's bedchambers.

Another heavy sigh, with an equally emphatic lowering of his head to the tabletop.  Distantly, he wondered what his Elf was currently doing… and whether or not Legolas was missing him as acutely.

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you'll only hold me tight
We'll be holding on forever
And we'll only be making it right
Cause we'll never be wrong together
We can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart

The various whistles and birdcalls from the trees were a most welcome sound to Legolas' ears.  The journey back to his father's kingdom had been tiring and lonely, but now the green trees of Mirkwood embraced him and the lookouts were scrambling down from their posts joyously in recognition.  He raised a hand in greeting as one of his right- hand archers sprinted over lightly, a bright smile on her youthful face.

"Your Highness!  A star shines upon the hour of your return!  Your father will be most pleased to hear of his youngest son's arrival!  Shall I send runners ahead of you?" the Elf asked somewhat breathlessly.

He nodded, smiling wearily although it did not meet his eyes.  His father… Thranduil cared little for what Legolas did or did not do, so long as nothing reflected badly on His Sovereign Majesty.  He almost doubted that his father had even known he had been gone.  Granted, he had been sent to Rivendell under some form of punishment for letting the creature called Gollum escape… but he had never entertained the idea that it might lead him on a quest to save all of Middle Earth.  His father would only be pleased that not only had his son survived the ordeal, but become something of a hero in the process.

Never mind what took place under the pleasant veil of night, Legolas thought ruefully, trying not to grimace at the thought of Thranduil ever finding out that his son had not only bound himself… but to a male and a Dwarf at that!  Ah well… Legolas always had been the whirling dervish of the family.  No doubt his father would take it as a personal insult.

He tried not to think on it overmuch as he walked through his forest at a steady pace, neither hurrying nor slowing his deliberate pace.  He kept his eyes up, scanning the trees to find familiar faces and bright eyes looking at him happily.  Word spread quickly of his return and Legolas had some semblance of an entourage by the time he reached the palace gates.  Already he could see the crown-encrusted head of his father striding towards him, gold and jewels on the golden hair so much like his own.

"Legolas, the sun and stars shine upon you." Thranduil smiled, reaching a hand out to rest on his son's shoulder.  Legolas resisted the urge to shrug the touch away.  He and his father had never truly been on common ground; Thranduil cared only for glory in battle and vast riches… Legolas was a natural spirit, the youngest son, daring to defy His Majesty at every turn by preferring the quiet, sweet sound of the forest to battle cries.

"Father…" he bowed his head forward in vague deference.  "It is good to be home at last."

Lie… a complete lie.  He would've loved to be anywhere but Mirkwood Palace at that moment, so long as Gimli could've been by his side.   Luckily, his father had none of Galadriel's psychic abilities or Elrond's intuition and, therefore continued as though Legolas had been truthful.

"I am proud of you, my brave son.  Tonight, we shall have a grand banquet to celebrate your triumphant return.  And afterwards, I may make a special announcement to the people of Mirkwood, if all goes as planned." Thranduil replied, walking along with his hand on Legolas' back in what was meant to be fatherly camaraderie.

"And what announcement might that be, Your Majesty?" Legolas asked, suspicious already.  Thranduil was not one who felt the need to inform the inhabitants of his forest of anything.

"To which of my sons will I extend the succession, of course." Thranduil smiled, blue eyes meeting Legolas' in a conspirator's gaze.

"You are not suggesting that I take the throne, are you?" Legolas stopped suddenly.  "Father, I have no wish to rule.  I have plans of my own that will simply not mesh with such a responsibility." Thranduil frowned, a far more familiar expression to Legolas' eyes.  "No wish to rule?  Have you no ambition whatsoever, my wayward son?"

"My ambition runs along a different path than yours, Father… I desire not jewels and riches, nor power and fame… I desire only peace and my love by my side." Legolas adopted the reasonable tone of voice he was generally forced to use whenever he spoke to his father.

"Love?" Thranduil repeated, as though it was a word he had never spoken before.  "You have fallen in love?  With whom?  Some pretty archer from Lorien?  Or Imladris?"

"No, father… not an archer at all… although a great warrior." Legolas skittered around the issue.  "You will not be pleased when I tell you, therefore I would rather let the subject rest until I have washed away the weariness of the road.  Will you please oblige me in this, Father?"

Thranduil looked as though he might argue, but he caught himself.  "As you would have it, Legolas… only because you so rarely ask for anything of me."

"My gratitude, Father." Legolas sighed, accepting his father's nod as permission to retire to his own chambers.  He took a hallway to his left, leaving his father to wonder over the identity of his mysterious lover.  A few steps and he slipped through an ornate door gilded in gold.

Peace at last, in his own private quarters.  The tension left him in a receding wave and Legolas dropped his pack and weapons to the side, heading for the bathing chamber.  Steam was already wafting from within and Legolas smiled to himself.  He usually disliked his father's habit of assigning servants to do every little task, but in this case, having a bath already drawn and waiting for him was a blessing.

Several minutes later, having removed his dusty clothing, Legolas slid himself into the water gratefully, enjoying the sensation of heat on every inch of his skin.  He sank beneath the surface for a second, enveloping himself in that welcoming warmth… but there remained that cold hollow within him.

He missed Gimli deeply, fervently wishing that the Dwarf were sharing the hot water with him.  They had bathed together in lakes and streams while traveling, taking advantage of clean water wherever they could find it.  At first they had been somewhat shy of each other, if shy was the word for it.  Each one was very aware of the physical differences between them, but in they end, they had delighted in it.  Legolas had always thought Dwarves to be squat, hairy, gruff creatures… delighting in the beauty of gold and jewels because they possessed so little beauty themselves.  But Gimli… Gimli was a contradiction to everything he'd ever heard about Dwarves.  He was brave and fierce in battle, stern in temperament but he knew just when a kind word was needed… such as in Lorien.

Ah, Lorien… he had never intended to act upon any of the strange feelings blooming within his heart.  But the Lady Galadriel had never been one to watch one of her own kin deny himself anything.  She had all but forced him to admit to himself that he admired and, yes… even desired the Dwarf that, until very recently, he had disdained.  Gimli, although as stubborn and sullen as he had ever heard Dwarves to be, was strong and confident… and secreted within his carefully concealed soul burnt a fiery passion reflected only in his deep brown eyes.  A passion that more and more Legolas was hoping could be directed at him.

Galadriel's words, although as cryptic as always, gave Legolas some hope that Gimli might be convinced to care for him beyond simple tolerance… perhaps even beyond friendship some day.  The idea was inconceivable and had anyone told him before that he would pine for the attentions of a Dwarf, he would have either laughed or fired several arrows in rapid succession.  But Galadriel, in her gentle, persuasive way, convinced him. Had he ever truly talked with the Dwarf?

Well, no… he had never approached Gimli with the intent of talking to him.  They had exchanged words, certainly, most of them less than completely civil… but he had never truly talked with him.

Why not?

Why had he not tried to engage the Dwarf in conversation?  What was there to talk about?  They had nothing in common save the quest to keep the Ring-bearer safe.  They were worlds apart; Gimli loved those dark mines they had nearly lost their lives in, while Legolas much preferred the serene forests and his beloved trees.  Legolas sang to the stars and found joy in everything; Gimli was grim and stern, finding love only in the craft of weapons and jewelry.  Nothing wrong with that, certainly… but what could they possibly discuss without broaching on some taboo subject between them?

They had both just suffered a tremendous loss, had they not?  That was a relatively safe subject… and one worth seeking if only for some measure of comfort to the aching grief he felt twisting in his heart. In truth, he had been nervous on his first approach, hoping against hope that Gimli would not rebuff him and dreading that he would.  He had found

Gimli sitting under a golden-leaved tree, his face pensive as he stared at the ground.  On silent footsteps, the Elf had joined him, laying a tentative hand on the Dwarf's shoulder in a gesture of compassion.  He had been startled at first, but it did not take them long to confide in each other.

Once the tears came, they did not want to cease.  Legolas had seen death before, one simply could not live for as long as he had and not see death of some kind… but this was the first time death had claimed a friend within its icy arms.  The cold void left in his heart by Gandalf's passing had been numb until now… a bitter wound that would only fester if the infection were not bled… and soon.  It had bled that night, while Legolas was held safe within the dwarf's strong embrace.  It bled; bitter, black blood at first… but soon, fresh, red blood followed… blood from a now healthy wound.  And just as quickly, it began to heal within the span of a kiss.

The first kiss that had ever made Legolas weak in the knees, his fingers trembling as he ran them through Gimli's thick, brown beard… his lips tingling with a sensation that made him gasp against the Dwarf's mouth.  His heart surged within his chest, suddenly hammering against his ribs frantically.  A soft cry escaped him and he clung to Gimli, as though he were drowning in a stormy sea with only that sturdy, Dwarvish body to hold on to.

To his great surprise, Gimli wept as well, even as he formed a pillar of strength for Legolas to cling to.  Soft tears streaming down his tanned cheeks and soaking into his beard, Gimli held the Elf just as tightly, almost crushing him to his broad chest.  In all of his long years, Legolas had never felt so protected… so uniquely loved.  Safe within a Dwarvish embrace, Legolas spent his sorrow in time with Gimli, each one taking turns between comforting and being comforted.

After that moment, Legolas rarely let Gimli out of his sight, despite the odd and vaguely disapproving looks they received from some of the Lorien Elves.  If anyone suspected the growing affection between them, no one voiced it.  Aragorn suspected, certainly… and the hobbits' wide grins gave away their thoughts… therefore it was not truly a secret relationship, even if neither one of them was exactly shouting from the mountain or tree tops.  Discretion was the better part of valor after all.

And when he lost sight of his precious friend during the raging battle at Helm's Deep, a fear like no other had gripped the previously levelheaded Elf.  If Gimli fell in battle, Legolas would be destroyed more surely than if an enemy's arrow found its mark through his heart.  He loved the Dwarf, this he had known and accepted… but in that moment of stunned, nauseating doubt… Legolas discovered the very nature of his love.  It was not the strong bond that often existed between warriors, nor the infatuation that often accompanies the heady rush of a recently acquired comrade… it was love, as it existed between two soul mates.  The realization was both welcome and troubling in the same instant.

The minute Gimli once more graced the Elf's sight with his burly, beautiful face, Legolas pulled him aside giving the excuse that he wanted to see to the bloody wound on the Dwarf's head.  He had been unable to stop himself from kissing Gimli the instant they were alone.  Gimli had been astonished, but only for a brief moment, quickly returning the kiss with equal fervor.  Few words were spoken between them that night… panted endearments and breathless promises were expressed more with touches than actual words.  With a certainty that only the immortal possess, Legolas inextricably bound himself to a humbly accepting Gimli.  They were effectively vowed to each other by Elvish tradition.  Legolas had been both surprised and delighted to find that Dwarves, as Elves did, mated for life… that once bound to another, they remained faithful to the end.  If it occurred to either of them that their respective families might be more than slightly put off by their sons' choices of mate, neither voiced it.  Perhaps it was a passing thought, but it was waved aside easily, like a leaf on an errant breeze… so long as they were far from home and together.

Now they were neither and Legolas felt it all too keenly.  The wound left by Gandalf's supposed passing had been cauterized in Lorien and completely healed when the wizard returned to them, more powerful and brighter than before, like the mythical Phoenix.  Now a new wound had opened up in the Elf's heart… this grief was not so painful as the other… but it stung strongly to know that Gimli was still a part of Middle Earth, but was not at his side.

The bath water now cool and making the Elf shiver slightly, Legolas rose from the tub and dried himself, slipping into a robe of silk- pale cloth.  Silently, engrossed in his own thoughts, Legolas drifted to his bed and sat down heavily, as though the burden of his longing were physically weighing him down.

Unbidden, a tear escaped one blue eye and Legolas wiped it away with the back of one hand.  He had never thought it possible to miss another being so intensely… and yet he would've given anything to have Gimli sitting there with him, making him laugh with gruff comments on flighty Elves. 

The quest had changed him more than any of his kin could justly see, even with probing Elvish sight.  It was a sobering thought to find that Mirkwood no longer felt like home to him… not without Gimli.  No place in Middle Earth could feel like home without his love by his side.

Ithilien… hope lay there.  Even before the War of the Ring and Sauron's defeat, there had been beauty there.  King Elessar had hinted at both Legolas and Gimli that they should settle there, far from the certain scorn and/or outrage of their families.  It was close enough to Gondor that they could retain the friendship that being in the Fellowship had bred in them with Aragorn and Faramir.  Legolas knew for certain that several Elves would happily settle there as well… Gimli had voiced hope that some dwarves as well would wish to explore outside of their mountains.  Elves, Dwarves, Men, Halflings… if all went as planned, Ithilien would be like no other province in Gondor, or in all of Middle Earth… accepting all races as its own.

But if his father insisted that he take the Royal Throne of Mirkwood, that plan would not include him in it.  He would have to stay in the forest while he father prepared him for becoming King once he sailed West to the Undying Lands.  While at one point in his life, that might have been a wish of his; now it was the last thing he wanted.

He sighed and began unpacking, setting aside the few things he had acquired during his travels.  The quiver and bow Galadriel had given him rested simply against the wall, and Legolas once more admired the fine detail, namely the expertly wrought peacock on the quiver.  Several of his old arrows still remained, their tips vaguely black with dried orc-blood.  The golden mallorn leaves that had kept his lembas fresh still looked as though they had only fallen hours before instead of months ago.  A few items of clothing, all desperately in need of a wash. 

Now cleared of all of his things, Legolas hefted the pack up to put it away, but paused.  The pack felt heavier than it should.  His pale brow furrowing in confusion, he slid a hand inside of it, his fingers meeting what felt like a stone.  Withdrawing it, he recognized it immediately.

One of Gimli's flints… one he had used to sharpen his throwing axes… and one that had just about reached the end of it's usefulness.  Legolas turned it over and over in his hand, fingertips delving over the slight indentations where Gimli's thick fingers had eroded it away over the years, the way a stream smoothed rocks into skipping pebbles.  How had it gotten in his pack?

Legolas dropped into a squatting position, mulling over the stone thoughtfully and tossing the pack aside.  Somehow, it felt comforting to hold something that Gimli had held and left his mark on so clearly.

Every now and then I know you'll never be the boy you always wanted to be
But every now and then I know you'll always be the only boy who wanted me the way that I am
Every now and then I know there's no one in the universe as magical and wondrous as you
Every now and then I know there's nothing any better and there's nothing I just wouldn't do
Every now and then I fall apart
Every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you'll only hold me tight
Well be holding on forever
And we'll only be making it right
Cause we'll never be wrong together
We can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight
Forever's gonna start tonight

Gimli took a deep breath and exhaled slowly as he finally settled into his torch-lit chamber, alone at last to give proper attention to his longing.  He sat on his bed, stretching up towards the ceiling before falling onto his back in a heap.  Eyes closed, he let his mind wander blissfully back to the night in Helm's Deep.

"You should stay closer to me on the next occasion, Gimli my friend.  We would watch each others backs far more adeptly than the men of Rohan." Legolas admonished him gently after inspecting and rewrapping Gimli's head wound.

Far from being indignant over the Elf's concern, Gimli nodded sedately.  "You were not wounded as well, were you?" Legolas shrugged noncommittally.  "A scratch only.  My blade was not quite quick enough to block, but more than enough to soundly dispatch the one who wielded his knife against me."

Gimli looked the Elf over quickly, finding no sign of a wound anywhere.  "You have been injured?  Why did you not say so?"

Legolas smiled softly.  "I told you it was but a scratch.  A glancing blow on my arm only."

"Never again complain to me about being stubborn, you foolish Elf.  In this vile weather any wound could fester and well you should know that."

Gimli growled, tugging Legolas into a sitting position by the leaf- shaped brooch of his Lorien cloak.

Sighing, Legolas folded his legs under himself gracefully, slipping his leather armor off.  Finally, Gimli could see the stain of blood, showing black on the sleeve of Legolas' green tunic.

"Off with that as well, Elf.  It is only fair that you should submit to my fussing since you made me submit to yours." Gimli insisted, fetching the same bucket of water and herbs that Legolas had used on his head.

"As you wish, Gimli… but it is not necessary, I assure you.  Elves heal much faster than Dwarves or Men." Legolas added softly, unlacing his tunic and the silvery shirt he wore underneath, shedding them both off at once.  The shallow knife wound on the upper half of his right arm was still bleeding, but only just.  However, that was not what made Gimli flush under his tan.

The Elf was completely beautiful even to eyes grown somewhat familiar to him.  His skin was smooth as a child's and pale as the moon, flowing over his bones like liquid pearl.  With his face and hands dirty from the battle, the red-stained patch on his arm, and his golden hair mussed and wild about his head… he very much resembled some sort of fallen angel. A star cloaked in flesh but shining with a brilliant light from within… that was what Legolas was.

Legolas met Gimli's somewhat frank gaze evenly, showing a mild pleasure at being so obviously admired.  "Gimli… if you continue to look at me in such a way… I shall not be held responsible for whatever actions I take."

Clearing his throat and muttering in Dwarvish, Gimli sat the bucket down and pulled the sopping cloth from it, wringing it out.  "Hold still, Legolas… let me clean this for you."

Legolas nodded, folding his arm up slightly to as to expose the wound, grimacing only in a flicker.  Gimli took a deep breath and set about cleaning it as gently as possible.  The parted skin was ragged, betraying the fact that the orc's blades had likely been a tad dull, ripping flesh rather than slicing it neatly.  Even on an Elf, it would not heal in a hurry.  Luckily, true to Legolas' word, it was not deep… though it had begun to bleed again with Gimli's ministrations.

Gimli caught the crimson trickle with the cloth, pressing it against Legolas arm tightly to stop the meager flow.  A small sound issued from Legolas' throat and Gimli looked up at him in concern.  Even wounded, he had expected the Elf to be flippant and stoic to the pain.  Then again, the nature of the injury was likely more painful than Gimli's own.

"Rest easy, Legolas." Gimli offered in an oddly soft voice.  "The pain will pass."

"'Tis not the pain…" Legolas shook his head slowly.

"Then… why do you sigh so?" Gimli asked, now more curious than concerned.  If he had hurt Legolas, the Elf would not hesitate to tell him so.

"Your… touch.  It makes my blood sing." Legolas offered in so soft a voice that Gimli was not certain he heard him correctly for a moment. Gimli paused in his cleaning, his eyes drifting to where his hand held Legolas' arm steady, his fingers pressing into the firm flesh.  If he held completely still, he thought he could feel the life pulsing through the Elf's body… hear the steady beat of his heart.  Or was that his own blood racing through his veins?  His heart hammering away like a drum?

"I am glad… for then we are on even ground." He commented, daring to meet Legolas' blue eyes. Legolas' eyes widened, but that quickly gave way to a gentle, loving smile.  "Gimli… I would have you know how much I care for you… how my heart so keenly yearns to bind itself to yours."

Gimli couldn't stop a calm smile from spreading on his own lips, even as he continued to clean Legolas' wound and bound it in a white bandage.  "You remember our kiss in Lorien as warmly as I do, then?"

"Absolutely, I do." Legolas nodded, making no move to retrieve his tunic from the grass, but turning to face Gimli on his knees.  "Never have I felt such a kiss before… if I were given to such flights of fancy, I might say that such a moment was meant for us alone."

"What would you say, then, things being as they are?" Gimli asked.

Legolas leaned forward until his forehead touched Gimli's, cautious of the Dwarf's bandaged injury.  "I would say, dear one, that we were meant for such a moment.  In these dark times of worry and strife, that an Elf and a Dwarf can share such a confidence is heartening."

The Elf took a deep breath then, apparently choosing his next words with great care. "And I would say that my heart leaps whenever I recall that moment… that I hope it may yet happen again."

Gimli paused, digesting Legolas' soft words.  Then without anything resembling a traditional preamble, he leaned upwards, brushing his lips over the Elf's in an exploratory request.  Legolas responded as gracefully as he did everything, his hot breath warming Gimli's lips and one hand reaching around to pull the Dwarf's face closer. 

Their second kiss, if possible, was more passionate than their first; a twining dance of lips and tongues, music made only of gasping breaths and soft moans.

Gimli groaned and sat up, shaking his head at himself in reproach.  It would do no good for him to relive sweeter times… it would only intensify his longing for Legolas.  As it was, he had no practice in hiding anything from his kin… and being so lonesome would certainly prompt questions from his father.

In a half-hearted attempt to distract himself, Gimli approached his dirty pack and set about removing his various belongings from it, taking special care with the mallorn-leaf wrapping in which he had placed the three silver-gold hairs of Galadriel.  Once they were safely tucked away to await their crystal setting, Gimli reached into the pack for the last item, confused when his hand met a slender, wooden shaft.  Withdrawing his hand, he found himself holding a white- feathered arrow, it's tip stained black with orc-blood.

One of Legolas' arrows?  How had that gotten into his pack? Ah, yes… he remembered.  Legolas had the practical habit of scouring a quiet battlefield to retrieve his ammunition… several times Gimli had helped him.  He must have forgotten to hand this one over to the Elf.

Gimli sighed, staring at the arrow with emotions he could not begin to fathom.  It was not one of Legolas' Mirkwood arrows, but a Lorien one… most likely it was last used at Helm's Deep.  He smiled bemusedly at the idea of Legolas finding out that one of his precious arrows had strayed off with Gimli.  It was one of the relatively few things that Legolas took with deadly importance.

Would that the arrow's owner had followed him home, rather than the arrow itself.

Placing the arrow on the mantelpiece, Gimli half sighed, half growled and retrieved his cloak from its hanging place.  The stone walls felt oppressive, the air too warm… he needed to get out, to walk, to do something other than yearn in bittersweet memories.

The caverns were quiet but for the gentle hum of banking fires.  Nearly everyone else was asleep, even the guards were nodding off at their posts.  They woke as Gimli passed, but asked no questions.  The somber look on his face was more than enough to tell them that they didn't want to know.

He took the shortest passage to the surface, taking a deep breath of fresh air.  The forest around the Blue Mountain was alive with night sounds; crickets, cicadas, the occasional hoot of an owl.  Gimli wound through it quietly, unwilling to disturb anything.  Finally, he found himself at the foot of large pine tree, so old that some of its lower branches were thicker around than Gimli himself was. 

With an errant hope that none from the mountain would come looking for him, Gimli hoisted himself onto the lowest branch and the next and the next, until he was a good ways from the ground and able to see the starlit sky through the foliage.

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
Nothing I can do

A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart

Legolas jogged easily through the forests, making hardly a sound as he ran, dodging deer and rabbits that never even saw him coming.   Mirkwood Forest was a good five days behind him and the more distance between him and it… the better.  To his immense relief, his father had made no announcement regarding the succession; although Thranduil had developed the habit of sending his youngest son looks that were a vague cross between concern and disapproval. 

It was true that Legolas was not the same Elf who had left Mirkwood to deliver a message to Rivendell.  However, the changes had less to do with the War… and more to do with his newfound love.  Not that Thranduil needed to know that at any rate.

After a week and a half of hiding from his father, Legolas pleaded for permission to travel outside the forest.  The wanderlust had not yet been quenched… at least that's what he told Thranduil.  In its truest form, it was a somewhat different lust that urged him from Mirkwood and propelled him towards the Blue Mountains.  He had no idea what he was going to say to whatever guards he was certain to meet.  A solitary Elf asking for admission into one of the great Dwarvish strongholds?  He would have to do some "fancy talking"… as the hobbits had termed his poetic speech once.   If that didn't gain him entrance… who knew?

The forests had changed from the leafy beeches and oaks that Legolas knew so well from Mirkwood.  Here grew evergreens… tall and stately with their shiny dark needles glinting red-gold in the setting sun.  But he did not stop to admire them; although each one flirted delicately with him… both his heart and soul were pulled beyond.  He continued on his dogged path, although his legs were tiring and sweat had begun to break out on his forehead.

Night was well on before he stopped to catch his breath.  With a heavy heart, he lifted himself up onto the low-hanging branches of a pine tree, sitting with his feet dangling only a few inches from the ground.  He leaned his head against the tree's mighty trunk, closing his eyes briefly to gather his strength for the last stint to the Blue Mountain.  As was his wont when anxious, Legolas listened to the forest as only Silvan Elves can.  The trees were pleased to see him, he thought.  It had been a good while since Elves had last passed through this part of Middle Earth.  The Dwarves held the land now… a single one had just passed through this way not but a few moments ago. 

Legolas paused… a Dwarf had passed by mere moments ago?  Alone?  Gently, he posed his question to the trees… where was that Dwarf now?  The trees did not answer him directly, as was the habit of old ones, but spoke loftily to each other of the strangeness of the Dwarf who had passed through.  A Dwarf who apparently thought himself an Elf.  And now an Elf comes along who seems to think himself a Dwarf, with his heart so heavy.  Whoever heard of a Dwarf climbing trees or an Elf scowling silently?

A Dwarf who climbed trees?

Legolas chided himself for being as blind as an orc in sunlight.  The signs were all right there.  The slight scrapes on the low branches of the tree he sat on… they were fresh, brand-new.  If he had just held still long enough, he would have heard the even breathing several branches upwards.

"Gimli?" Legolas whispered to the air above him.  "Is that you, my love?"

Gimli nearly toppled from his perch.  He had been so preoccupied with watching the stars shift in an almost imperceptible dance that he had not noticed the Elf weaving through the forests or resting beneath the very tree he'd taken refuge in.

"Legolas?" Gimli exclaimed, climbing down the branches with far more speed and far less grace than with which he had ascended.  "What on Middle Earth brings you here?  You were to return to Mirkwood were you not?  Is there something wrong?"

Legolas tried to keep a wide grin in check as he watched Gimli lower himself to the ground.  "I did return to the forest of my birth.  But something was indeed very wrong."

Gimli's own grin faded and he held Legolas' arms tightly.  "What?  Has something happened to your home?"

Legolas met his eyes piercingly.  "Mirkwood is no longer my home… for the simple fact that you, my dearest, are not there."

Gimli's breath caught at the clean admission that so closely mirrored his own.  The only response he could give was to pull Legolas down to his level by the arms and kiss the Elf soundly, slipping his tongue between the waiting lips.  Legolas tasted of the forest, of trees and breezes, berries and nighttime fires… and the unmistakable taste of the Elf himself.  Gimli had missed this taste too much, like one addicted to pipe weed beyond control… so was Gimli addicted to Legolas.

And vice versa apparently; for Legolas met this onslaught head-on, twining his nimble tongue against Gimli's as though he had been starved for something more vital than kisses.  In the interest of comfort, the Elf did lower himself to his knees, placing himself at such a height so that he could easily meet Gimli's mouth.   His long arms slid around the Dwarf eagerly, pulling him so that they were flush together, chest to chest.

Gimli's hands framed his lover's face, fingers combing through the Elf's golden hair as though it was highly prized silk.  They barely had paused for a breath before their mouths met again, Legolas taking the role of aggressor, his tongue thrusting past Gimli's lips.  He could hear his heart pounding mercilessly; feel the blood racing hotly through his veins, as it always did when Gimli was near.

Never had the passion come upon them so quickly before.  When they had been together nearly every hour of the day, the dull ache that promised to bloom into full arousal with just the right look was ever- present certainly.  But even that constant stimulation had never flamed to fever pitch in the span of only one deep kiss.  Legolas could already feel the heavy, fast rhythm in his heart gathering dizzying momentum… and the answering throb between his legs.  His body had responded to Gimli virtually on sight… upon touch, it flared to life like some primitive thunderbird, ruled only by instinct and innate desires.  He wanted more; flesh against flesh, gasping breath to its like.

He slid his hands over Gimli's broad chest, fingers hastily trying to find the ties to his shirt.  In the back of his mind he was grateful that, for whatever reason, Gimli has chosen to forgo the heavy chainmail that he usually wore everywhere.  It saved precious time.  In short order, the Elf had managed to send Gimli's shirt to the forest floor and had proceeded to run his pale hands over the brown flesh that had been revealed. 

"Gimli, my love…" he breathed, backing away just enough so that he could see the Dwarf more completely.  "It has been too long… far too long since I last touched you.  Feeling you in my heady dreams is not nearly enough to sustain even an immortal heart."

Gimli took a deep breath, leaning his head back and groaning gently to the night sky as Legolas' fingers left fiery trails on his skin.  "Agreed.  We must think upon a better arrangement than this one.  It seems we have grown so accustomed to the constant presence of the other that we no longer feel at ease without."  With each whispered word, Gimli slid his own large hands over Legolas' arms and sides before coming to the front to undo the clasps of the prince's belt and green tunic.

Legolas was impatient; shrugging his outer garments from his body and leaning in to seek Gimli's mouth simultaneously, getting only slightly tangled in the process.  Once his tunic, belt, and shoes were cast aside, Legolas hastened to shed the silken under tunic he still wore, his breath heavy and hot on the air.  Gimli pushed the Elf away gently, prompting him to let forth a very un-Elflike growl of frustration.

Gimli very nearly laughed out loud at this almost adolescent show of enthusiasm.  "Calm, Legolas… I am as eager as you are… but we must slow just a little.  Treasure each touch, yes?" he reminded him with a gentle smile.

Legolas took a deep, shaky breath and nodded.  "Yes.  I do not mean to push so quickly, my heart… but it has been too long."  He ran his long fingers over Gimli's chest in a caressing sweep.  "Far too long."

"You are indeed impatient, my love… especially for an Immortal.  One might think you were actually a Man." Gimli teased tenderly, planting equally teasing kisses along Legolas' pale shoulder.

"Such is the nature of the fire within me." Legolas breathed harshly as Gimli's beard trailed over his bare chest, thick braids rubbing over his nipples.

"I know it well." Gimli managed before claiming Legolas' mouth once more in a deep kiss.  Luck was with them in this instance, for the ground beneath them was covered in thick, soft grass… a fact that Legolas was vaguely grateful for as he lay down, pulling Gimli down with him.  They had no blankets and no cloaks thanks to the very warm Spring… and neither truly minded the exposure. 

Legolas leaned his head back, exposing his throat to Gimli's kisses, groaning deep in his chest as the Dwarf's woolly beard once more stroked over his fevered flesh.  His fingers combed into Gimli's hair, pulling him upwards so that their mouths could meet.  He could not satisfy the need for Gimli's touch, even skin to skin as they were.  The Elf ran his hands over Gimli's back and sides in rough caresses of possession, urging the Dwarf for more.

Gimli growled deeply in turn, hissing his pleasure through clenched teeth.  If Legolas was fire, then Gimli was going up like dry grass, blazing quickly under the heat of every touch and breath.  Leggings and breeches were pulled off and tossed aside clumsily on both parts, each too excited and anxious to worry over dignity.  Legolas, nimble as a cat, slid out from under Gimli and pushed the Dwarf onto the forest floor, rising above him like a golden-haired angel.  With purpose, the Elf parted Gimli's beard, placing sweet kisses and gentle nips over the Dwarf's chest and stomach, deliberately drifting lower.

Gimli tried to sit up to watch the Elf's actions, but a pale hand held him down limiting his senses to sound and touch.  Legolas' lips were hot and moist, his hands almost burning with heat even on Gimli's warm skin.  His erection trembled as each touch drew closer and closer.  A lock of Legolas' hair trailed over the tip and Gimli bit back a low groan at the unconscious caress.  His plea was eagerly heeded and Gimli felt the familiar, wet cavern of Legolas' mouth descend upon him, bathing him in moist fire.

"Ah!  Legolas!  Be cautious..." Gimli whispered hoarsely as he felt his desire go beyond fever pitch.  He felt the Elf let up on him only just, pulling back to focus attention only on the sensitive head, swirling his hot tongue around it.  Gimli managed to stifle the loudest of his cries, but the Elf's sharp ears picked up every nuance of Gimli's building desire.  Slowly, Legolas eased his attentions, withdrawing his mouth in favor of licks and kisses, letting Gimli catch his breath somewhat.

Gimli moaned in protest and sat up once he was able, looking at the grinning Elf sternly.  "You conniving… irritating… insolent…" he sputtered between gasping breaths for air, before interrupting his own tirade to pull Legolas in for a demanding kiss.

Legolas never got to hear exactly what insult Gimli was about to throw in his direction, for he soon found himself turned over, a sturdy Dwarvish hand pressing him into the leaves and a thick knee prying his legs apart.  "You have teased me long enough, Elf… now `tis your turn to be teased." Gimli growled in mock-threat as he leaned over the Elf's smooth-skinned back.

A small whimper escaped Legolas at being in such a position of helplessness.  He was not used to such and it unnerved him somewhat… but also it aroused him to be completely within the hands of another.  Especially if that "other" was Gimli.  Gimli's hands were hot and firm over his flesh, grasping him under his ribs to lift him up into the correct position.  However, instead the fingers he half- expected, Legolas felt one hand wrap around his straining member, causing him to cry out with both surprise and passion.

"Ai!" he exhaled harshly, his hips bucking involuntarily, pressing himself into Gimli's hand.  "Gimli… ni mel… lissiore…" he panted breathlessly as Gimli's hand slowly began to stroke him.  Despite this entreaty, Gimli did not quicken his movements, preferring to torment the Elf as he had so recently been taunted.  He could feel Legolas tighten in his hand, struggling between maintaining some vestige of control and increasing the friction on his hardness.  Still, he only strengthened his pace in measured amounts, driving Legolas close to the edge, but not allowing him to tip over it just yet.

Legolas felt as though his heart was going to explode out of his chest, he was scarcely able to tell each beat from its predecessor.  A fire hotter than that of a forge was flowing through his veins with liquid intensity, gathering in his groin with teasing slowness.  He could no longer control the sound of his own voice, each breath tinged with a cry.  Teeth gritted in hunger, Legolas hissed brokenly in his own language… unable to think coherently enough to form any words in the common tongue.

To his astonishment, Gimli gradually eased his pace to let Legolas gather his scattered wits, standing on his toes to reach up where Legolas had stowed his pack in the convenient "Y" of the tree.  After a brief search, the Dwarf unearthed a small pot of oil and Legolas breathed a small sigh of relief.  Gimli had understood his disjointed appeal.

Gimli returned to where Legolas had remained half bent over on his knees, hands digging into his thighs as he tried to catch his breath.  Almost in apology for the delicious agony he had put his lover through, Gimli swept the Legolas' golden hair to one side and placed several lingering, tender kisses along the back of the Elf's long neck.  Legolas shivered, a soft sigh slipping past his lips as Gimli positioned himself behind him, slicking his fingers in the scented oil.  He could feel the Dwarf's swollen member against the apex of his thighs, a hot drop of wetness streaking his flesh like a firebrand.

The delightful sensation of being stretched by a thick finger filled Legolas mind as he strived to remain somewhat still, a low whimper gathering in his throat.  One finger was replaced with two… and finally three, stretching the tight passage in preparation, slicking it with the oil in back-and-forth motions.  Legolas' fingers dug into the ground as he pushed back against Gimli's hand, sweat breaking out in small dots on his pale forehead and shining dimly on his back.

"Gimli… please…" he whispered, barely able to form the words.

Gimli withdrew his slippery fingers in response, but remained in his kneeling position.  Gently, but with demanding purpose, his hands spread Legolas' legs apart widely so that the Elf was now at the correct height for him.  Legolas whipped his head around in confusion, somewhat intimidated by this increasingly exposed posture.

"Trust me, love…" Gimli whispered, sensing the Elf's mild distress.  "You will like this, I promise."

Legolas nodded shakily.  "I trust you… do as you will."  Spread as he was, there was no way for him to struggle against anything.  The wide stance left him completely open and aching for relief only Gimli could give.  It was frightening… to be so unguarded… but it served only to heighten his arousal, his hardness pulsing insistently.

Gimli slid into Legolas slowly, easing himself into the Elf with extreme caution so as not to knock him off-balance.  He could feel Legolas' smooth tightness surround him, stretching easily but with a pressure of hot iron around his swollen length.  He gritted his teeth forcing himself to remain steadfast in this aching pace until he was completely sheathed with the Elf's passage.  He had not forgotten what Legolas felt like for he had dreamed of it every night since departing from him… but dreams and waking fantasies were dull and lifeless compared to the reality.

"Ai!" Legolas cried out in supplication, bowing his head.  "Gimli… please… please!  Let go… I need… I need you… ni mel…"

The groaned sentiment was enough to snap Gimli's control in twain like an over-stretched bowstring.  He pulled out of the Elf quickly and, before Legolas could even react to the absence, he had thrust back within.  Gimli pumped vigorously, near months of nights spent without his Elvish lover driving him towards peaks they had not visited before.  He knew he would lose all semblance of control soon and reached around the Elf's hips, wrapping one hand around Legolas' own desire.  Each of the Dwarf's thrusts cause Legolas to push himself against Gimli's hand, doubling the pleasure. 

The telltale pressure was building and Legolas began to keen, his voice an erotic music on the night air.  Gimli, gave one last mighty thrust, spilling himself into the Elf's bowels with a roar of completion.  At that same instant he felt a rush of white-hot liquid on his hand as Legolas too spent his seed with a sweet cry.

Legolas thought he saw stars swirling behind the blackness of his closed eyelids as he fell forward in a heap, drawing in harsh gasps for breath and hearing only the thunder of blood through his head.  He could feel nothing but Gimli, similarly collapsed on his back, his beard soft and thick on his skin, the Dwarf's hot breath and pounding heart mirroring his own. 

Whether it was minutes or hours later, Legolas could not quite tell as he gradually felt his blood calm and the slight chill in the air begin to cool his skin.  Gimli rose off of him, only to pull himself up beside Legolas, nuzzling under the Elf's arm to embrace him, side by side now.

"Gimli…" Legolas murmured affectionately, briefly reliving the last hour or so.  His brow furrowed suddenly and he rose up on one elbow to look at the drowsy Dwarf seriously.

"What?" Gimli asked in a mock-grumpy voice.

"When I asked for the oil… I was so taken by you that I spoke in my own tongue.  How did you know what I asked?  You do not speak either form of Elvish." He asked curiously.

Gimli grunted.  "You think I spent the last months sitting around a fire and twiddling my thumbs, foolish Elf?  You did me the honor of learning a bit of Dwarvish… I could do no less now could I?"

Legolas nodded, but was not satisfied quite yet.  "This is true, my love… however… you learned the entire language in only a few months?"

"Just the pertinent parts." Gimli replied, sitting up and stretched before looking about for both his and Legolas' clothes.

"You think that 'oil' is a pertinent word?" Legolas grinned merrily.

"Seems to be between us, doesn't it?" Gimli replied without missing a beat, tossing Legolas his tunic and hitting him squarely in the face with hit.  The joyous sound of mingling laughter between Elf and Dwarf carried on the night air, sweeter than a nightingale's song.



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Issue No.: 2.6
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