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A/N: I don't think I'll ever do anything with this - so here it is as a throwaway ficcy snippet...
It had been a long day singing and making up poetry at the Elvish Council and, all in all, Legolas was glad to be getting home. He really fancied a glass of wine and an evening spent downloading his emails.
He gave the gold and crystal doorstop, with its ornate design built around three golden hairs, a kick as he passed. One day it would crack.
Gimli was at the computer. He looked happier than Legolas had seen him for some months. His face almost glowing in the light from the monitor. The beard was short - Gimli's recent experiment with the bleach having proved a bad mistake. Legolas liked it it made the dwarf look younger although he missed having something to pull on in moments of passion.
That witch Galadriel had probably been hanging around again showing off her language skills. Bazud this and Bura that. Legolas knew she did it because he didn't understand dwarvish. Gimli had tried teaching him but they'd never got past the first lesson of forms of address. Or rather undress. It was, he admitted, a very good language for the bedroom, all grunts and heavy breathing. In any case, Gimli had mastered all the forms of Elvish in about five minutes so it had never seemed worth bothering progressing to the second lesson.
Bloody Galadriel. Let her find her own dwarf. He'd installed an alarm system to try and put her off, but the flashing lights and loud noises it made had reminded her of the time she'd worn the one ring and a scary look had come on her face. Legolas was sure Gimli encouraged her visits to make him jealous. It was quite by accident that Legolas had discovered her allergy to cats. They now had twenty living in the house. Galadriel still visited but her eyes were red and puffy and Legolas quite enjoyed watching her try and stifle her sneezes.
Ha! Well now, after several millennium, it was his turn in the limelight. It was petty, but he was enjoying being the centre of attention again after so long. Thank you Bilbo and Frodo for writing that book. Internet connections were so handy for keeping in touch with Middle Earth although he could see the place had gone to seed in the last two thousand years or so.
He was enjoying having the tables turned. For too long his partner had had all the kudos of being only dwarf around. It had made him complacent. Now Gimli was learning that others saw his lover as attractive. It was like it was when they first met, with Gimli being all glowering and possessive - and willing to cook too.
He jumped up almost as soon as Legolas entered the room and muttered about fetching him a glass of wine. Legolas took the vacated chair by the computer. He was looking forward to reading the lists. Aragorn. Boromir. Even Frodo, for Varda's sake. Although hobbit sex was something he winced to think about.
"I'll just read the posts," he said in what he hoped was a casual voice. But was this? Legolas/ Gimli. Legolas/Gimli. Gimli/Legolas. Had the world gone mad? Or had Galadriel been teaching Gimli the intricacies of word processing?
Gimli was singing in the kitchen. He had no difficulty picking out the words, "The posts go ever on and on, down from the screen where they began, I must pick out search and replace, and it will be as we began."
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Thranduil was coming for dinner and bringing a 'friend'. Fortunately this only happened once every four or five hundred years, because the domestic fallout was on the scale of a small war, complete with the need for outside peacekeeping forces -usually Gandalf - and reparations.
Preparations began early the week before the planned visit. Legolas started cooking obsessively. Gimli built a new wall or two in the garden - it would give him something to destroy should the evening become too stressful. Conversation dwindled into the kind of wary silence that absolutely repels any attempt at drawing confidences.
And yet, it was Gimli who had encouraged Legolas to make his peace with Thranduil. Having no family left made you appreciate just how important they were - despite all the complications and issues involved. All the same, he'd rather amputate his foot with his own axe than spend a whole evening in company with Legolas' sire. The things we do for love.
It was one of those issues of trust where things just were. No go areas like, "What did happen to your mother?" or "What exactly is your real name?" - where they proved their commitment by just accepting and not asking.
Trust. Commitment. Gimli reminded himself of the importance of both as Thranduil entered the house with 'friend' number 57 in tow. Both wore long gowns in shades of purple decorated with jewels. Gimli bowed courteously. Thranduil grunted something that sounded like "Grumpy" or perhaps it was "Greetings". His lady smiled but didn't speak. Thranduil kicked a cat that had come to investigate his robes. The others got the message and ran into hiding. Legolas poured them all a glass of wine.
Three hours later, Gimli was wondering if he had built enough walls in the garden. Legolas' culinary efforts had resulted in a 10-course feast and they were still only half way through.
"Ah, Grimli," said Thranduil.
Gimli forced a smile. Legolas poured more wine. Friend ate.
Thranduil talked about prisons and the trouble he'd had back in Mirkwood with prisoners escaping and the general undesirability of tradesmen and travelling folk.
"Don't you agree, Gamely?"
Gimli glowered. Legolas drank more wine - at this rate there would be more hangover than legover. He considered the places in the garden left to build a wall. A good high wall, suitable for pushing elven kings off would be nice...
The king's companion sat silently while daintily working her way through the enormous quantities of food. As always, Gimli wondered how Thranduil was able to attract such beautiful ladies. It helped if you were beautiful yourself, he supposed, but old Thrandy was as rotten and hollow inside as one of those trees the Ents used to talk about.
"And then Snow White said --"
Gimli didn't wait to hear what Snow White said. He went into the kitchen to help Legolas. The film version of Snow White some years ago had been an occasion of deep personal crisis - worse than watching what had been done to him in *that* film. At least *they* had got Legolas right. What was it with men and dwarves? There would be lot of building and demolishing needed to excise this night. Legolas caught his eye and poured them both some wine. "I could help you mix cement," he offered.
Relatives. Glóin's visits had not exactly been a walk in a shady forest for Legolas. He still winced at the hairless jokes the elf had had to endure. Legolas had been pretty decent about that. He could do no less. "It's going very well," he lied.
"So Dimli--" began Thranduil as they returned bearing yet more food. He noticed Legolas give a particularly vicious swipe to the crystal doorstop as he passed and made a mental note to check it later.
So the evening progressed through the courses and assorted side dishes. Would it never end? Enough! Gimli belched loudly and deliberately. "Time for songs and dwarvish stories, my friends," he said with bluff good humour. "I intend to start with the story of the naming of the rocks and elements. There are a hundred and twenty verses but it shouldn't take more than an hour or two. Then we'll go on to something longer and more serious."
Friend giggled. Legolas drank more wine. Thranduil winced and put down his fork. "Alas, it grows late. We have tarried long over eating and it is now time for us to take our leave."
No one bothered to protest. Cloaks were gathered, bows hoisted on to shoulders, and several large baskets of leftovers solicitously wrapped up and handed over.
"Farewell, Glumly. Who knows but perhaps this may be our last meeting. Has my son yet mentioned a taking a wife?" said Thranduil.
Perhaps they could move and not leave a forwarding address. Friend drifted towards the door in a cloud of purple gauze, her gold and amethyst evening arrow with matching quiver sack almost hidden in the billowing folds of material. In her hand she held a piece of cake. As she passed Gimli she gave an unmistakable wink. "Bye Glorgious."
Behind him, Gimli felt Legolas come close and place his hands on his shoulders in an unmistakable gesture of possession. He leaned back against the elf. To his fore, Thranduil gave his son a single searching glance, before turning away. Another opportunity lost.
"Farewell! We understand you must not stay your journey any longer!" Gimli said firmly and shut the door, turning the key in the lock. The 20 cats sighed and began to emerge from their hiding places. Legolas loosed his hold and strode quickly away without speaking. Gimli waited until he had left the room before giving the crystal doorstop a quick once over and a polish. A chorus of meows told him that Legolas had begun feeding the remains of the food to the cats. It could have been worse.
He gave Legolas a few more minutes alone and then went into the kitchen to
help clear up.
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Gimli was late and Mithrandir was early - two circumstances guaranteed to put Legolas into a bad mood. Plus he hadn't yet packed.
Legolas and Gimli were going on holiday, and as usual, Mithrandir was coming to water the plants and feed the cats, which between them were almost a full time job. It was good arrangement, although it might be a year or two before they could persuade the wizard it was time to leave.
Although not due to arrive until the following morning Mithrandir had already let himself in and made himself at home when Legolas returned from the Elvish Council. Making himself at home was a skill Mithrandir had perfected over the millennia, having never quite got around to establishing an abode of his own, but subsisting very nicely on rotational visits to his various friends.
"Well met, Legolas," roared Mithrandir, opening the door before Legolas had time to put his key in Gimli's ornately designed lock. The wizard patted him heartily on the back and passed him a glass of wine. Legolas saw with a sinking feeling that Mithrandir had already been at the cellar. Darn! Last time the old lush had drunk them dry. He could only hope that the wizard would put a spell on the beer in compensation.
"Well met, indeed! You're here early," said Legolas as he accepted the wine. He entered the house, giving the crystal doorstop an automatic kick in passing.
Mithrandir, looked shifty and muttered something about Sam having no sense of humour.
Doors were open and various drawers pulled out with their contents spilling over. Here and there a cat nested while others wondered about in obvious dismay at a possible change in routine. Mithrandir had been snooping. At least, reflected Legolas, he would have time to restore some sort of order before Gimli returned home. Mithrandir had never learned that if one must snoop it was polite to keep one's ill-gotten knowledge to oneself. Mithrandir's comments on the dungeon room had been loud and extensive and the wizard had completely refused to believe that the cuffs and chains were simply an experiment in form. Worse he had blabbed. Even now, a thousand years after the event, Haldir was prone to winking at him at parties and asking if he was "still into all that kinky stuff?".
Legolas showed Mithrandir the various lists he had made how much and often the cats should be fed, how much and how often the plants should be watered, when and how the various appliances in the household worked, where to find the key to the wine cellar. It was form really, since Mithrandir was clutching a bottle of wine in one hand and anything that caused trouble would be either regarded as a challenge or instantly zapped into oblivion.
Lists shown, house tidy, cases packed, wizard unpacked and Gimli had still not returned.
"Shall we go and get him?" suggested Mithrandir as Legolas paced up and down irritably. He had promised not to work late tonight. There was such a thing as being too conscientious. Still, a walk under the stars would be nice. Legolas hummed as he strolled. Mithrandir blew smoke rings out of his pipe.
They found Gimli as expected in his office. The dwarf was surrounded by a mountain of papers, giving last minute instructions to his assistant Celebrían. Both were engrossed but turned at Legolas' greeting. . Gimli lit up at the sight of the elf and came forward to wrap Gandalf in a hug. Celebrían gave her fragile smile.
Mithrandir bowed gravely and produced a small bouquet of elanor from the folds of his cloak.
Celebrían accepted with thanks. "Arwen's favourite, " she said, burying her nose deep.
"I'm finished here. We were just going through some bits and pieces while for Elrond," Gimli explained. Over Celebrían's head he met Legolas' glance. Another bad day. There was no need for words some wounds went too deep,
"You don't have to wait," said Celebrían, looking up from the flowers. "I don't mind staying here on my own. I know Elrond will come."
"Of course, Celebrían," said Gimli, gently. "But we wish to wait with you. Unless, would you like us to take you home?"
Deep eyes with their friable glance, liable to shatter at a breath, flittered to each of them, before she smiled gently, "No. Elrond, is coming. I'll be fine until you get back." To Legolas, she added, "No galloping, Legolas!"
Mithrandir muttered something about riding making you numb in all the wrong places.
They bowed and went on their way. Celebrían bent once more over the yellow elanor, her pale hair mingling with the petals of the flowers. Legolas hoped Elrond would get there soon.
"I suppose I'll enjoy myself. I usually do," said Gimli. He walked by Legolas' side. Mithrandir strode ahead singing a pornographic song about hedgehogs. "At least horses don't sing."
In the darkness Legolas smiled. Gimli didn't know it, but this year they
were going pot holing.
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Anyone who was anyone had been invited to Galadriel's birthday party.
"How old is the bint anyway?" asked Legolas as they prepared to leave. He was in a bad mood, having spent two weeks solid cleaning up after Gandalf's house-sitting stint. Sitting had caused no problems but picking up and washing were apparently alien concepts for the wizard. "It's not like he had to do anything," Legolas had complained to Gimli in the privacy of their bedroom, watched by the cats who crouched fearfully on top, around and under the bed. "All it would have taken was a wave of his staff and the place would have been clean. But, no! And I'm sure he's traumatised the cats you must have noticed they haven't gone in the same room with him once since we got back."
Gimli glowered at Legolas. He was also in a bad mood, having come upon Legolas and Gandalf playing skittles with 20 empty wine bottles and the Lady's crystal doorstop. Plus, he had lost the coin toss over who would be the one to hint to Gandalf that it was time to go visit another friend. He was sure Legolas had cheated. There was no mathematical way he could have lost every single throw out of twenty and, whatever Legolas said, Gimli was not convinced there really was a rough and a smooth side to an arrow. If it was so obvious why hadn't Legolas allowed Gimli to feel for himself? What if Gandalf refused to go? Gimli didn't think his relationship could survive another five year visit. Irritation roughted his voice. "It's not done to ask a Lady her age. Anyway, it doesn't matter how old she is, she still looks like a young girl."
"At least seven thousand," said Gandalf loudly
"Is that all? She looks older." muttered Legolas. Gimli didn't bother replying. He picked up the wrought iron rose he had fashioned for Galadriel's birthday and tried to ignore the way Legolas was kicking their beautiful doorstop as he passed. The last kick was especially hard. He just hoped the elf had hurt his toe.
"Let's go! I love a party," urged Gandalf, ignoring this by-play. The wizard picked up a badly wrapped tiara under one arm and motioned them towards the door. "We're going to have a great time."
Great that is as long as you like large parties full of people you want to avoid thought Gimli. After walking in offended silence for an hour during which Gandalf gave a full, frank and unasked for session of relationship therapy, Gimli and Legolas had parted company at the door of Galadriel's mansion. "Let's circulate, shall we?" Gimli asked to Legolas' back as the elf headed determinedly towards the wine. Celeborn was bearing down on them with an expression that clearly said ?'I don't like you but I am prepared to be a gracious host'.
"I'm off," said Gandalf, suiting words to action.
Gimli sighed and prepared to be polite for all three of them.
"Gimli," gushed Celeborn, air kissing a spot a foot or so above the top of his head. "So lovely to see you. Have you just arrived? Come and talk to Thranduil, I'm sure you'll love his new girlfriend."
** "Move over!"
"Ow! Watch it!"
Gimli squeezed into the cupboard reserved for smokers with a series of apologetic grunts and pats until at last he was established in a corner and able to look around. He knew from the complaints that Merry and Pippin were amongst his companions. Peering through the gloom he was able to make out Gandalf's pointy hat and Sam's gardening boots. Same old crowd, except--
"No Frodo?" he asked, surprised.
Sam shook his head, causing the clouds of smoke to waft around lazily. "He's trying to give up."
A chorus of sympathetic groans greeted this. Frodo's attempts at ?'giving up' were inevitably doomed to failure causing much heartache and soul searching about his unworthiness. Gimli reached out and patted Sam awkwardly. "I'm sure he'll manage this time."
Sam did not reply. Pippin's voice broke into the silence in an unsubtle attempt to change the subject.
"Did you and Legolas have a good holiday. Riding, wasn't it?"
"Not this year," said Gimli with satisfaction. "Potholing."
Pippin giggled rudely.
There was a muttering and Merry's voice could be heard explaining in stage whisper "Exploring underground caverns."
"Oh," said Pippin. "I thought---" More stage whispering and then Merry snorted with laughter.
"We enjoyed it," said Gimli succinctly.
There was a muttering from Gandalf's corner from which the words "bloody cats everywhere" could be distinguished.
"Gandalf house-sitting?" Sam was sympathetic, although it was hard to tell if his sympathy was reserved for Gimli and Legolas or Gandalf. "How many cats is it now? Twenty?"
"Twenty-one," said Gimli.
"They acquired one on holiday. "Gandalf took a long draw of his pipe and exhaled. The smoke changed colour and formed a small image of Legolas and Gimli fighting what appeared to be a large bird of prey. Legolas held it off with a arrow judged perfectly to fall just right of the great beast's hooked beak while Gimli could be seen lobbing a large crystal and gold ball at its head. A tiny grey kitten mewled pathetically in the foreground.
The bird gave a squaw of fright and flapped its wings nervously before taking off. Legolas turned to Gimli, took him in his arms and --
A square-palmed hand dissolved the picture. "Don't you have any sense of privacy?" Gimli felt sure he was blushing.
"No." answered Gandalf, unperturbed.
Pippin and Merry smothered giggles.
"So you rescued another cat?" said Sam, in peacemaker mode.
"Yes." said Gimli. Conversation died. He took a pull at his pipe but found it had gone out.
** Returning to the main room Gimli met Elrond putting together a plate from the buffet for Celebrian who had retired to a small ante-room. Gimli made a note to go and talk to her later. He knew she found loud noises and lights stressful and was only attending tonight for her mother's sake. He selected a piled of sandwiches for himself and retreated to an empty table to eat. He considered himself a sociable dwarf but sometimes it really didn't seem worth the effort.
Haldir glided up to his side. Gimli looked around, nervously, but Legolas was nowhere to be seen. It would do no good, Gimli knew Haldir would corner Legolas sooner or later and ask impertinent questions about whips and chains. Then there would be more arguments later. Gimli braced himself for an arch comment but found his companion staring at Elrond. Haldir turned back, and immediately the longing expression was erased to be replaced by the familiar hauteur.
"Dungeons," began Haldir.
"Hair dye," countered Gimli allowing his eye to follow the track Haldir's glance had taken across the room.
Haldir didn't pretend to misunderstand. The elf gave a tight smile. "He's wasted on her."
The comment wrong-footed Gimli with its sincerity and he swallowed his prepared retort. "He'll never leave her."
"Never is a long, long time."
** Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Everyone blew together and the something-thousand candles on Galadriel's birthday cake flickered and blew out.
"Make a wish!" cried Galadriel. Did he imagine it or did her eyes meet his for an instant? She really was something special.
Gimli shut his eyes. He knew what he wanted. A tall form drew up to his side. "Come on," said Legolas grabbing him by the hand.
"But, the toasts haven't finished."
"Forget the toasts," said Legolas. Gimli allowed himself to be pulled out, through the crowds of people, talking, drinking, and laughing, into the quiet of the night.
"What about Gandalf?" he asked as they walked down the long tree-lined drive. Multi-coloured torches flickered on either side painting the ground with rainbow shadows.
Legolas kept walking, not letting go of his hand. He continued facing forward so that Gimli felt, rather than saw, the slight smile. "He passed out earlier. Smoke inhalation, I think. Celeborn offered him a room to lie down. He said Galadriel had seen Gandalf lying unconscious in her mirror and had a guest room prepared."
Gimli felt his lips own curve upwards. Legolas turned to face him, grinning openly now. "Yes. I told Haldir we'd send his bags over in the morning!"
He thought of a comment, but before he could make it Legolas had claimed his lips in a passionate kiss.
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