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by Myst Avalon
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: The Glittering Caves followed by a visit to Fangorn and some revelations.
A/N: I wrote this for a couple of reasons. First, the plot bunny hit me, and I couldn't get it out of my head until it was written. Second, most of the L/G first time fics that I've read have been underground. I thought a change might be nice.
The title owes as much to the style of writing as it does to the plot, and if anyone can suggest a better one, I would appreciate it. I do have plans for a sequal, but writing it in a somewhat Tolkienesque style will be difficult, and therefore, I've not really started it yet.
Thanks to Mogs for the beta. I had no idea that the Elves would call the
Glittering Caves Aglarond. I never planned to play around in this fandom
- just read it - but evidently my brain has different ideas, and we'll see
“Now the guests were ready, and they drank the stirrup-cup, and with praise and friendship they departed, and came at length to Helm’s Deep, and there they rested two days. Then Legolas repaid his promise to Gimli and went with him to the Glittering Caves; and when they returned he was silent, and would say only that Gimli alone could find fit words to speak of them. ‘And never before has a Dwarf claimed a victory over an Elf in a contest of words,’ said he. ‘Now therefore let us go to Fangorn and set the score right!’”
The Return of the King**
Legolas didn’t listen to the content of the words so much as he paid attention to the way Gimli seemed to come alive down here, more alive under the great weight of stone and dirt above them than he had been in the Mines of Moira or Lothlorien. For although Moria was underground, as was Aglarond, and Lothlorien contained the Lady Galadriel, in both places there had been grief, and in Lothlorien they had mourned.
“See, Legolas,” Gimli enthused, calling him over. “Touch your fingers to it, and tell me that the texture does not but remind you of mithril?”
And Legolas listened politely, if not enthusiastically, and learned to see the wonder in the Caves. He paid attention to the content of Gimli’s speech also, and although the words were sometimes blunt and ungraceful, he was an Elf, and Elves were greatly skilled in discerning the meaning and the truth behind words, and he had, after all, had a great deal of practice in understanding Dwarves – particularly this Dwarf.
Even though his home was above ground, beneath the stars, Legolas could see the beauty in the Caves, and the pleasure he found in them was only increased by his companion’s joy and reverence at them, and the care that Gimli took in saying the how and the why to him, and more often than not, simply pointing out details in the spectacular formations.
And it was there, in the Glittering Caves, with the weight of stone and dirt above them, that Legolas looked with new eyes upon his friend, and lo! he learned also that he desired Gimli, son of Gloin and longed for him to be more than a friend, beloved though that friend might be.
Legolas was still awed when they rejoined the company, and when the others pressed him for a description of the Caves, he would decline, saying only that it was Gimli and not himself who had the words to describe them.
“And never before has a Dwarf claimed a victory over an Elf in a contest of words,” Legolas told them joyfully, leaning down and giving an arm to help Gimli up onto Arod’s back – still an awkward maneuver, regardless of how many times they’d performed it. “Now therefore let us go to Fangorn and set the score right!”
It was from there that Gimli, called Elf-friend and Legolas, son of Thranduil, parted from the Fellowship and went hence to Fangorn.
The situation was mirrored here, Gimli noted glumly. Now Legolas was the one not listening to complaints and cheerfully directing them towards the center of the forest.
“Except of course,” he told the Elf, “we don’t have people waiting for us here.”
“Is this so very dull for you then, friend Gimli?” Legolas asked, paying attention for once, and reaching out with an almost awkward grace to the Dwarf.
Gimli snorted, blustered, and backed down, saying that it wasn’t as bad as *that*, “Although I will never understand what you see in trees. They all look the same to me – brown and green and twiggy.”
Legolas laughed at that, and offered to teach him to see the differences in the trees, even as he had been taught to see stone in such a manner, through the eyes of one akin to it.
And so their trek through the forest continued and even without the Elf saying anything, Gimli saw the joy Legolas had in being in the trees, under the stars, rather than being in the depths of a mountain, and wondered why he himself did not feel more ill at-ease.
Legolas talked fairly indiscriminately in the Forest, to both Gimli and the trees. He would sing at night, too, and the Dwarf would tease him about it, and never acknowledge that the singing, pretty and fanciful though it might be, was a comfort to him come nightfall.
“See, friend Gimli,” Legolas called.
He wandered over from where he’d been watching the Elf, and carving a piece of fallen wood that he’d found. Stone was preferable to work in, of course, but the only stones around here were either too big to complete in the short amount of time that they had, or were just old river pebbles. “What is it, Legolas?”
Legolas pulled him closer, intent on the broad leaf of a bush by the water. “Stroke the leaf with your fingertips,” he said softly. “Feel the life running through its veins.”
And Gimli did as he was asked, and listened as patiently as possible to him, sifting through the meaning of Legolas’ speech from beneath all the extraneous words that the Elf used, for he was a traveller, and more to the point, he had had much practice with this Elf in understanding the manner of Elven speech, and could therefore follow what Legolas said. And although he belonged in the depths of the mountains, through Legolas’ speech, he came to see and acknowledge that beauty existed in more than rock and stone, and the Lady Galadriel… that it could also be found in the trees here. He could be heard muttering, if Legolas had chosen to listen to him that he was a most unnatural Dwarf, to follow an Elf around and enjoy spending time under trees.
There, in the Fangorn Forrest, with the freedom of stars overhead, rather than the comforting weight of stone, Gimli came to understand his friend more, and looked upon him with new eyes, and then, lo! acknowledged that he did both love and desire Legolas, and longed to be both lover and beloved of his friend.
* ** * ** *
** Tolkien, J. R. R., *The Return of the King* from *The Lord of the Rings*
(London: Harper-Collins Publishers, 2001) pp. 956.
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Issue No.: 2.6
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