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Axe and Bow

A Legolas and Gimli fan archive

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Cultural Difference - If thou Kiss not Me

by Tarnneth

Warnings: None
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: Legolas and Gimli fall for each other, hard. But culture shock causes some problems when Gimli realizes that Dwarves and Elves don''t share certain customs.
A/N: Ok, this isn’t cannon but it’s not a total departure. This is what happens when a drunken person with an Anthropology BA starts thinking about the possible differences between Elf and Dwarf social customs. Then she tells her drunken geek friends, two of who also have anthro degrees, and they start feeding the plot bunny carrots and lettuce until it’s too big to ignore. Events are a blend of book and movie-verse, used as needed toward my own evil ends. Beta help given by Lisa, Am-Chau, and a couple other wonderful friends.

The sunlight claps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?

-Percy Bysshe Shelley


It had been happening for days since the boat ride down the Anduin when they had exchanged stories of their youth and marveled at the wonders of Lothlorien and its Lady. Gimli found, much to his surprise, that another golden-haired elf had wheedled a way into his dwarven heart. Now the Hunters were searching, ever watchful for the trail of their orcish quarry, but Gimli's eyes kept straying toward Legolas' tall, slim figure as he scouted before them.

So it started with looks, the dwarf first and then the elf joining him in the game of stolen glances. It elevated quickly to friendly touches and intent smiles when they paused to rest during the day's hunt. Aragorn watched it all with a smile, happy to see the bond forming.

Gimli was the first to break the growing romantic tension. Tired of all the coy grins and chaste touches, he climbed right into his companion's bedroll as soon as they finally chose to rest for the night. Legolas just smiled and joined him, shocking the dwarf slightly by first stripping out of his clothes. The shock changed to joy, as he was undressed with those quick and clever hands. The dwarf moaned as he felt that long, lean body pressed to his stout frame.

But through the whole deliciously sweet occurrence of love making, Legolas never kissed him. What's more, whenever he tried to catch the elf's lips in a kiss, that lovely mouth would move away. Finally Gimli gave up and succumbed to all that his lover offered him.

The next night it happened again, exquisitely satisfying sex but not a single kiss. Gimli was utterly confused. Why wouldn't Legolas kiss him? At first he thought it was his beard but the elf didn't mind the whiskers on other parts of his body. He really seemed to like them in fact.

Perhaps his folk just did not use their mouths in lovemaking as men and dwarves did. Hobbits too, as he'd learned when he spied Merry and Pippin one night while going to relieve himself during the quest. But that couldn't be true, as Legolas' sweet mouth didn't hesitate on the rest of his skin.

The next possibility that entered his mind concerned him greatly. Once while traveling with his father, they stayed at an Inn in Dale. There he'd caught the eyes of a young man who served more than drinks or food. Gimli returned to partake of the youth's wares not infrequently but every time the tavern-boy refused to kiss him. When he asked why, he was politely informed that kissing was far too intimate a thing to do with a customer.

"Kissing is for lovers, Master Dwarf. I'd only kiss a man that truly had my heart." The pretty dark-haired lad had said as he lay across the bed in his room at the Inn.

Thinking on that experience, Gimli could only worry that Legolas didn't take the affair seriously. He worried that he did not have the elf's heart. They were of different races; maybe an elf could never care for a dwarf as Gimli was starting to care for Legolas.

Care for? Nay, he was in love. But he had no clue if the beautiful elf felt the same way. And what if he didn't, what if this was just a pleasant fling for Legolas? He'd jumped into the bedroll pretty quickly after all.

The dwarf's fears were set to rest after their next pleasant eve of lovemaking when Legolas had declared his devotion so loud that Aragorn congratulated them both in the morning. The elf had just smirked and let his eyes drop bashfully. "Thank you, Aragorn."

The affectionate words were not confined to their intimate moments either. As they tracked the orcs over the countryside, Legolas would find little ways to remind Gimli of his love, a touch here, a look there, an encouraging word when the dwarf's hope for the hobbits was failing.

Gimli had never felt so warm and loved as when Legolas words to the braggart horse-lord were spoke. ‘You would die before your stroke fell.' They hung in his ears like a cherished song. After they got horses from the Rohirrim, the two of them would ride together. The dwarf would gasp as his groin moved against his lover's backside while the steed galloped along. Legolas would turn about and tell him he loved him, as he pressed back further to drive the dwarf mad with desire.

But still no kisses.

"Elves don't kiss, Gimli." Aragorn said after the dwarf finally swallowed his pride. Legolas was out scouting and rounding up some dinner for the trio.

"They don't?" Gimli scratched his head, surprised. That hadn't occurred to him. "Ye mean Arwen doesn't kiss ye?"

Aragorn stopped sharpening his sword a moment and got a far away, almost sad look. "Not at first, but she took to it once I persuaded her. It's just not something that elves do with each other. One might kiss another in a gesture of blessing but not as lover's kiss, mouth to mouth as other folk do."

"So how did she react when ye suggested it? Kissing I mean." Gimli couldn't quite process the information. Dwarves were kissers, known for tangling beards and great slobbering tongue battles. To learn that another race found the practice distasteful baffled him.

The Ranger smiled slightly, his stone again moving over his sword blade. "She was disgusted a little I'm sure, but covered her feelings as elves tend to."

"Strange, polite creatures elves are." Gimli interrupted, which got him a hard look along Aragorn's sword. "Sorry."

"Yes. You're right though, they do have a funny idea of etiquette." He set down his sword and reached out to clasp his friend's shoulder. "It's a difficult thing to love an elf Gimli, be sure you're prepared for all of it."

The dwarf could only blink. Aragorn would probably know better than anyone how hard it was for a non-elf to love one of the race but Gimli couldn't comprehend anything else. Loving Legolas was... well it just was, damn it!

There was a long pause before Gimli cleared his throat to speak. "I'll keep that in mind Aragorn. Thank ye."

"Keep what in mind?" A brace of rabbits landed on the ground before the dwarf's feet and a lithe elven body settled into his lap. "Hello, Gimli, my beloved. I've brought dinner home."

Aragorn chuckled at the pair as Legolas nuzzled the red beard and then hopped up before Gimli could steal a kiss. The dwarf saved face by grabbing up the catch and pulling out his knife to skin them.

"Then I suppose I'll cook it. I was getting tired of lembas anyway." As he prepared the rabbits and got them ready for roasting, Legolas and Aragorn discussed the woods before them. The elf had been having strange feelings about the trees since they had neared the outskirts. Gimli knew little about such matters but the Ranger seemed concerned. The dwarf did, however find the trees here more interesting than any he'd seen. It had never occurred to him to give trees a second look before.

Nimble hands kneaded his shoulders from behind. "Mmmm. Smells lovely. I'm a lucky fellow to have such a mate to bring my catch home to."

Gimli turned from the roasting rabbits to kiss the elf's hand where it sat on his shoulder. Legolas didn't pull his hand away; rather he leaned down and nuzzled the side of his lover's face in a gesture the dwarf had grown used to. And fond of, as it seemed to be his version of a kiss.

The night went on in discussion of what they might find deeper into the wood. There was hope that Merry and Pippin still lived but the rumors of the white wizard stalking the forest were troublesome. If Saruman was truly about, then their task was made more difficult. Gimli didn't have a chance to bring up the issue of kissing with Legolas that night but their activities had no less passion for the lack.

The morning came bringing with it a still greater sense of ill ease. Aragorn and Legolas searched the ground where the Riders had slaughtered the Uruk host, finding traces of Merry and Pippin that gave them new hope.

They left their horses loosely tied where they'd camped for the night and progressed deeper into the forest. Gimli had told himself he would broach the subject of kissing that very day. His plan did not work out. The ‘White Wizard' revealed himself as none other than Gandalf reborn. In the excitement that followed, the issue of kissing seemed trivial.

Gandalf told them of his victory over the Balrog and his stop in Lórien. Gimli watched the wizard's face fall as Aragorn spoke of Boromir's passing. His words did not seem to match his feelings at the news but the messages from Galadriel distracted the dwarf from questioning him.

Hearing that Merry and Pippin were in safe hands cheered him but other matters began to wear on his mind again as Gandalf took the lead of their band. As Legolas and Aragorn untied and prepared their gifted mounts, the dwarf found a moment to approach the wizard.

"Tharkûn, may I have a word?"

Gandalf, turned and looked at him, his eyebrows knit in thought.

"Thar... oh, you dwarves named me that." He shook his head and sighed. "I've far too many names and personas to recall. Yes, Gimli, you may have a word."

"It's about Lord Boromir. Aragorn has been tight-lipped to us about the man's last words and deeds, but I can guess. His was a good death, though, valiant whatever his actions over Frodo and the Ring might have been." Gimli studied the face before him, watching the spark in the wizard's eyes fade slightly and his mouth droop almost to a frown.

"I know. I had worried about him since Galadriel spoke her fears to me in Lothlórien. The Hobbits confirmed both my hopes and my doubts in Gondor's Captain." Gandalf's visage was somber, the frown now fully claiming his mouth.

"I am sorry, Gandalf. I know ye were fond of him." The dwarf tried to offer what comfort he could. He'd seen the unspoken affection that had passed between the two men during their journey.

"More than fond, Gimli, though I never told him as much. I failed in that as I did so many things in my old life. I can only wonder how things might have been different had I not fallen." Gandalf's face lit from within, as his blue eyes glanced to the lovely elf that walked toward them. "I am much pleased to see that you are not repeating my errors."

"Have you a horse, Mithrandir? If not, you can ride pillion with Gimli and I'll ride with Aragorn." Legolas' eyes fell to his lover. "As long as Gimli does not mind."

The dwarf sputtered, but then bowed his head in assent. Gandalf spoke before Gimli could. "Do not worry yourself, Legolas, I have a mount. You and Gimli ride as you have been. I would not want to take his rightful place."

Gandalf smiled at them both as he passed to speak with Aragorn. Legolas leaned down to nuzzle Gimli and whisper in his ear. "He knows, then?"

"Aye. He is a wizard, me loveling, hard to keep things from that sort." The elf's face was so close to his, the desire to grab hold of his hair and kiss his sweet bow-shaped lips came to Gimli, but the chance that he'd offend Legolas was too much to risk. "There's a matter we need to discuss my heart, when we have the time and a place to ourselves."

"All right." Legolas smiled sweetly. Together they walked to their horse and watched as Gandalf whistled for a steed that made Legolas' eyes wide with wonder. To Gimli, it was just a big, white horse.

They rode to Edoras, ancient seat of the Rohirrim. In the hall of the Horse-lords they found more than they expected. Gimli was thrilled to learn that he and his companions fought as well together unarmed as they did with axe, bow and sword. The fight set his spirit soaring, so long had it been since he'd been in a fist-to-fist brawl.

With Saruman driven from the king's mind and the worm Gríma cast out like the garbage he was, the trio settled down for their first real rest in four days. And their first real meal. Gimli had not completely eased his hunger by the time the others had finished eating. Much as he loved Legolas, lembas alone was not proper food for dwarven kind. He continued to eat his fill as they talked strategy with bull-headed Théoden.

It was quite another hunger, though, that made itself known when the doorward asked about making ready guest rooms for the night.

"Thank you, good sir. We'll only need three." Legolas stated without hesitation, his eyes dropping to catch his beloved's. Warmth flooded Gimli's face, a grin spreading across it.

Háma looked between the two, blinking. He then looked at Aragorn, hoping for some kind of guidance. The Ranger could only smile and shake his head. "Don't keep our hosts up all night, my friends."

A hearty chuckle from Gandalf as he walked up to join them only made the Rohir more jumpy. "Thank you, Háma, see to the rooms. I'd make sure that Legolas' and Gimli's has a large bed in it."

It was the elf's turn to blush slightly and drop his eyes from Gandalf's gaze. The situation seemed to dawn on Háma suddenly but before he could comment, Théoden interceded.

"Prepare the rooms as they request, Háma. They are our honored guests." The door warden gave his king a quick bow and left the throne room. "Forgive him friends, he is a good man but not a worldly one."

"Thank ye fer yer hospitality, Théoden King. It's been many long weeks since any of us slept in a bed."

"Or slept much at all." Aragorn said with a smirk to Gimli. Legolas said something scolding in elfish that made the Ranger laugh.

"Someday lad, ye will have to teach me yer tongue." The dwarf smiled.

That set the wizard and the two men to laughing again. Legolas just grinned and promised to do so.

Gimli's resolve to bring up the matter of kissing that night almost faded in the wake of his lover's smile. Almost.

* * *

"You want me to do what?!"

They were stripped down to their trousers in the great bed. Both dwarf and elf swam in the expanse of featherbed and fine linen sheets. Things had started well, full of touches and sweet giggles and moans of pleasure. It had been very good, until Gimli told the elf what he really wanted. Delicate hands then pushed the dwarf away as he tired to seize Legolas for a kiss.

"Kiss me. I want ye to kiss me and I want to kiss ye." Gimli made another attempt at getting a hold on the nimble elf but to no avail.

Astonishment played over fair, elven features. "With our mouths!?"

"Well, with what else, me lovely? Come on, Legolas, give us a kiss."

The elf weaved out of the way, surprise shifting to disgust. "Ewww. You really want to put your tongue in my mouth?"

Gimli snorted loudly. "Ye had no problem with other parts of my anatomy in there."

‘That's different!"

"I fail to see how." He crossed his arms over his barrel chest and gave Legolas an indignant look.

"Haldir was right. I can't believe it." Mirkwood's prince shuddered, wrapping his arms about himself."

Gimli was flooded with a longing to reach out and comfort his lover. The desire to give up and just make love to Legolas the way they had been doing all along was great. But he stifled it. This was just the first cultural difference to create a wedge between them. There would be others. And if either side backed down without really discussing the matter, they were doomed to repeat the same fights over and over. Gimli knew in his heart that if they lived through these times, he wanted to spend the rest of his days with Legolas. Even a seemingly little thing like this had to be handled with care.

"So what would he know about it?" He'd not meant to sound so hostile, but it bothered him that he had been discussed behind his back. "We weren't lovers while in Lothlórien anyway."

"We're old friends, Gimli, former lovers to be honest. Haldir sought to rekindle that relationship during our stay but my heart was already set on you. I told him that and he went on to tell me all the pitfalls of loving one of another kind. He said you'd want to... kiss." Sad blue eyes moved up to catch the dwarf's brown ones.

Gimli melted, reaching out to wrap his strong arms as far round Legolas as he could. "It's just a little kiss, lad, nothing to worry so about. I don't need it, I'm just used to it. We dwarves are bold lovers and kissing is one of those things we take pride in. I suppose I got myself into a lather over it cause I worried maybe ye didn't take us seriously."

"I love you, Gimli. It's as natural to me as breathing. But kissing..." The elf's cute little nose wrinkled as he said it. "Elves just don't do that."

"Well why not? Aragorn's persuaded Arwen to do it, way he tells it. We've already broken every rule our folk are supposed to have about each other, comrades-in-arms, friends, lovers; what's it gonna hurt if ye take that last jump and bloody kiss me?" The dwarf punctuated his words with a little kiss to his beloved's nose. Legolas's face crinkled, making Gimli chuckle. "If ye don't like it, I'll never ask it of ye again."

Tense moments followed with the dwarf gently caressing the side of his lover's face, fingertips brushing tendrils of blond hair behind a delicately pointed ear. Then Legolas blessed Gimli with the tiniest of nods. The dwarf let out the breath he'd been holding, before leaning in ever so slowly to set his lips to the elf's perfect mouth. A mouth that stayed still except for a slight tremble.

Gimli didn't push; he let his lips slide lightly over his lover's, then pulled away a moment to gaze at Legolas' pale face. Not so pale though, as a slight flush had risen in his cheeks. His breathing had quickened a little as well.

"So what did ye think of yer first kiss?" Tenderly Gimli brushed his lips over the corner of Legolas' mouth and then down to kiss his chin and jaw.

"Your whiskers tickle, but that I expected." Legolas' lips formed into a small smile. "It was not unpleasant, just strange."

"Do ye mind another go?" His thick fingers brushed over the lips he so wanted to keep on kissing.

"No, Gimli, I don't mind."

Once again the dwarf's mouth closed over the elf's, moving more than it had before. Gimli felt his lover press a little into the kiss, lips parting and moving ever so slightly. Legolas' whole body shuddered in his arms as Gimli slid the tip of his tongue over the elf's bottom lip.

"All right, me heart?"

Legolas blinked, his breaths coming faster, nearly panting. "More."

Gimli wanted to crow in triumph. Instead he pulled the beautiful elf into a bolder kiss, inviting his lips and tongue to join in the tangle. Teeth clicked together as the elf tried to match his lover's movements, his effort still timid but growing in eagerness.

For the dwarf, this was not unlike his first tentative kisses with a youth of his own folk so many years before. With the number of female dwarves so low, it was common, expected even, for dwarf lads to seek release with each other. Most hoped to find a wife and settle down to the job of father and provider. Some were happy not to and Gimli was one of those few. It was strange though. After years of craving the touch of other rough, bearded dwarven-men it was an elf, fair and lithe as a deer, that finally captured his heart completely.

An elf that now moaned against his mouth, giving Gimli the chance to slip his tongue between kiss-swollen lips to flick tongue-tip over tongue-tip. Legolas jumped a little and backed away.

"Too much?" Gimli caressed his fingertips over the elf's hairless chest, causing him to arch onto the touch.

"No, I just never expected it to feel like this. Kiss me again." Legolas' head rose to meet his lover's, their mouths mashing together as the elf threw himself into the new experience.

Gimli chuckled a little before his tongue again found a home within the warmth of that so sweet mouth. His elf had started to respond with the same zeal that he'd shown in all their lovemaking. Legolas' tongue shyly licked at the dwarf's, his hands moving over Gimli's thickly haired chest. Clever fingers caressed and pinched at his nipples, making the dwarf gasp and moan into the fiery kisses they continued to share.

"Legolas, Legolas..." Gimli repeated the name between kisses.

"Make love to me, Gimli."

The dwarf did not need to be told twice as those lovely hands deftly unfastened his trousers. Fingers smooth but for a few calluses born of bow work grasped his thick cock, pushing back the foreskin to rub a thumb over the sensitive head.

Gimli growled and pulled away to rid himself of his pants completely. Legolas did the same, reaching down to stroke the pearly length of hard flesh between his legs as he watched his lover hop from the bed to open a cupboard and pull out a stoppered bottle of oil. He near sprinted back to the bed and jiggled the mostly full bottle, the contents swishing back and forth.

"We're in luck, laddie. Think it'll last us the night?" Gimli grinned widely.

"We'll make it last." Legolas reached out to fist his hand into the thick mass of his lover's beard and pull him into a searing kiss.

‘By thunder, he's a fast learner,' Gimli thought as his mouth was plundered. Legolas' hand again stroked and fondled him, bringing more moans from the dwarf. Before, the elf didn't want to kiss him. Now, he couldn't get him to stop.

"Please Legolas." He pushed his lover gently away. "I can't reach ye."

"Reach me?" The elf blinked, confused, and looked down to where Gimli's cock was leaving a trail of moisture over his stomach. Legolas licked his lips and in a flash Gimli found himself on his back.

‘Woke a sleeping dragon, it seems,' the dwarf thought as his lover pinned him down, covering his face with kisses. His forehead, cheeks, nose, even whiskers were all lavished with clumsy little pecks. Legolas buried his face in the red curtain of beard before shifting to lick and suck at a nipple.

With that clever tongue flicking over his chest, lips pursing against his ribs and hands stroking him to aching hardness, Gimli lost himself completely. Overwhelmed in a flood of sensation, his hand continued to grip the forgotten bottle of oil until the knuckles turned white. Downward the elf went, testing his newly learned skill on the dwarf's skin. Then elvish lips kissed and claimed Gimli, drawing him into the wet warmth of that sweet mouth.

The dwarf bucked his hips in response and reached down to caress the golden cascade of his lover's hair. He let one of the braids at Legolas' temple slide through his fingers, loving the silky feel as it did. His hand then shifted to trace the shape of the ear just under the start of the braid, stopping at the pointed tip to rub it between thumb and forefinger. Legolas moaned around him in response and moved faster, his mouth taking him in fully, repeatedly.

"Oh Legolas... my beautiful elf." Gimli said as eager fingers fondled his testicles and slipped down to press knuckles against the spot just behind them. He gasped at the pressure and the sudden, sweet mix of impressions that shot through him. The elf's hand moved in a rhythm of strokes that triggered that mysterious spot within the dwarf that made him writhe and shout.

Words flowed from Gimli. Dwarven words, harsh-edged but still lovely, a litany of oaths and endearments all spoken in his native dialect. He started to buck wildly, feeling Legolas' hand push his hips back down to the bed as he emptied into the elf's greedily sucking mouth.

Tremors wracked Gimli's body as the powerful orgasm washed over him. He came back to his senses slowly, become aware of little things first; the minor ache in his hand as he continued the locked grip on the oil bottle, the flicker of the fire in the hearth, Legolas' soft humming as he kissed and licked Gimli's penis clean, and lastly, the warm post climax satisfaction that puddled in his belly.

Legolas crawled upward to nuzzle against the dwarf's beard. Gimli pulled him up a bit for a kiss but the elf shied away. "You want to kiss me now?"

Gimli chuckled. "No better time me love, I want to taste myself on yer pretty lips."

"When you put it like that..." Legolas purred before he moved to allow his lover to claim his mouth. Gimli's tongue dipped into catch the musky dwarven flavor on those honey-sweet elvish lips.

The kiss deepened as the pair clutched at each other, Gimli marveling at the talent his elf was already displaying. Legolas pried the bottle from the dwarf's hand as he kissed him, then pulled away with a sly smile.

"I believe it's my turn to request we try something new." Setting the cork between his teeth, he unstoppered the bottle and poured the sweet-smelling fluid into his palm. Gimli watched, enrapt by the sight of his lover's strong archer's hands stroking the slippery liquid over his proud erection. With an anticipatory chuckle, Gimli shimmied down the bed and lifted his legs, setting his hands behind his knees to keep them up.

"Well what are ye waiting fer?"

* * *

The halls of Edoras were a bustle with packing and preparation. The Doorward could barely keep his eyes open, as he stood in the center of the wide throne room directing solider and servant alike in the monumental task.

"Háma!" Gamling's bark woke the warden. "Dozing off, friend?" The warrior held out a steaming mug of tea thick with milk.

"Thank you, Gamling." Háma took a sip of the drink, the heat clearing the fog a bit. "Of course, it's not as though anyone could sleep last night with our guests carrying on to the wee hours."

The fair-haired guard chuckled and took a swallow of his own tea. "I know. Who knew dwarves bellowed so?"

"Or elves shriek." Háma cringed and blew on his tea.

"Had I a sweetheart, I'd have tried to outdo their caterwauling." Pale blue eyes twinkled with mischief, as Gamling gave a wide grin.

The warden rolled his eyes. "Wonderful, which would make two sets of noisy lovers to keep me up."

Gamling smirked. "You didn't used to mind my impassioned screams."

"That was when I was the cause of them, Gamling, and that was years ago. I was never trying to sleep through it either." Háma took a big drink of his tea and spied the strange couple walking into the hall to meet Lord Aragorn and Gandalf.

"No, I suppose you weren't. Well, I have to inventory the arms and get them packed. Try to stay awake, friend." Gamling gave Háma's shoulder a squeeze and headed away toward the armory.

The Doorward watched his friend go, wondering if rejecting the man's attempts at rekindling their boyhood fling was a mistake. But he'd a son to raise by himself and a revitalized king to serve. No time for that sort of foolishness, besides a man his age was expected to have grown past love affairs with other men. Háma looked upon the unlikely lovers again as they moved to a shadowed corner. Legolas leaned down to give the dwarf a quick kiss, before they both moved to follow Aragorn and Gandalf out of the Hall. Watching, the Rohir felt an odd twinge, as though he'd lost something but didn't know what yet. He shrugged and went back to work.


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