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Axe and Bow

A Legolas and Gimli fan archive


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Clouds in Edoras

by Ladyhawk and Saraid

Category: Romance
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: Yes
Summary: Sequel to Starlight in Fanghorn , fic 2 of 3.
A/N:

The ride to Edoras was rough. Gimli held onto Legolas's waist tightly, afraid of flying off. The horses were swift, but not swift enough for their now-White wizard. Still, he had to admit that the headlong flight was rather... stimulating.

Often, the elf would turn his head and glare at the dwarf as if annoyed by something. Was he slowing him down by clutching him too tightly? He understood the urgency, but dwarves did not do well on swift horses. Then his hands passed over a point in the elf's breeches and jerked away. Legolas was enjoying this, the shared contact, as much as he was. So why was he annoyed? Even so, Gimli tried to move away slightly so the elf wouldn't feel his hardness.

By the time Gandalf announced they had arrived at the village around the Golden Hall of Meduseld, Gimli's arms ached from the strain of staying attached to the elf. He sighed with relief, knowing they could not speed through the town.

Legolas urged his horse on, though it wasn't necessary. The horse of Rohan was committed to following Shadowfax. The hands on his waist held tightly and he enjoyed that. He would have enjoyed letting his imagination stray, if not for the urgency. However much he liked the strong hands that gripped so tightly, they held Gimli's body far too close to his own. And the armband pressing into his side was an aching reminder of what had happened the night before.

Twice he found he'd slowed the horse unconsciously, to better savor the sensation. The dwarf was half-hard -- and Legolas knew him well enough after one night to recognize this -- and his pelvis tight enough to Legolas' behind for him to feel it clearly.

Surely Gimli did not do it deliberately. The mission was too urgent, the situation too dire -- yet he almost hoped he did.

It would mean he had a fair chance of continuing what they'd started, even if Gimli did not yet know exactly what that was. He would have to tell him, and soon. His desire for this being, his one mate, was growing. One day it would become unbearable.

He needed to be in an established relationship before that happened, before he was overcome by the anguish that could drive an Elf to death.

When they entered the village of Edoras, he breathed a sigh of relief. He could feel the tension leaving him as Gimli relaxed and leaned away, his hands loosening.

Legolas knew he had to find the time to talk to his friend, talk him into more. The dwarf's reticence was painful to him. He worried that Gimli might never want a full relationship, as the stubborn dwarf seemed to be backing away from their shared pleasure since last night.

"You'd find more cheer in a graveyard." Gimli's eyes scanned the town around the mighty castle, horrified. These people lived day to day in fear, it was obvious. For a second, he felt guilty for the pleasure he shared with elf the night before. He dismissed it with difficulty. One must take what pleasure one can to survive.

As they wound their way to the castle, he mulled over this fact and the pleasure he had taken last night. Legolas had taught him much. It would be easy to become addicted to the new experiences. And if that were not enough, the elf himself was a joy. Gimli had never known someone so giving.

But he worried about the elf's want of a mate. He couldn't be that for Legolas. He couldn't. It would never work. But he had felt *something* with the elf. What that something was was still a mystery to Gimli though, after long hours of pondering during their journey. Was it fair to the elf to ignore it, whatever it was? Was it fair to Gimli to even consider the impossible?

The dwarf shook himself before he became entrenched in his memories. There were more important concerns at the moment. To dwell on pleasure and its consequences at such time was folly.

Accepting the elf's hand as he dismounted, he focused at the problem at hand. They had to enter the castle and meet with Theoden. His back stiffened as he mounted the steps. He met Legolas' determined eyes the one moment he turned back to look at him. Gimli, for once, was content do as the elf and Aragorn were doing. The older and wiser needed to lead this mission.

The guards moved to take their weapons. Gimli watched in amazement as the elf twirled his knives and handed them over. He grunted as he handed over his axe. Showy elf, was this his way of laughing in the face of danger?

Hearing Mithrandir's words of deception, Legolas immediately offered his arm, as if to a feeble uncle. He made a subdued show of helping the wizard up the steps and into the throne room.

Even as Aragorn watched the guards pacing them on the other side of the pillars, Legolas measured the room with his eyes, marking the exits and entrances. He kept to Mithrandir's side until some subtle movement of the Wizard told him it was time to let go, and then he backed off quickly, leaving him to confront the remnants of King Theoden.

Legolas had never met him, but he'd heard the Man was strong and wise. Today he looked nothing like that. Today he looked....on the verge of death, like he had been there for many weeks.

Mithrandir exchanged words with Wormtongue. When the other man commanded the guards to attack the wizard, Legolas took care of it. He rather hoped Gimli had noticed. It was dangerous to think so, but he wanted the dwarf to see that Legolas was strong, that he was a brave warrior, that he deserved the dwarf's love.

There was a scuffle -- he saw Gimli deal with Theoden's keeper as he looked back over his shoulder.

"I would stay still if I were you."

He felt a shiver of need run through him, hearing Gimli speak so.

The guards were hardly a threat -- Legolas took them out, almost distracted.

Then Mithrandir showed his true self and Legolas was unable to watch anything or anyone else. It was all he could do to remain standing. A part of him wanted to fall to his knees and worship as a Man might.

He had come to expect bad things on this journey, and realization that Saruman himself was there, fighting Mithrandir, was only another of many.

He felt no fear, knowing the wizard was in his element. Mithrandir had come back to them more than whole.

The battle thrilled him, though he kept it from his face. The thrill was causing his body to stir. If they were alone, he would have Gimli stripped and on his stomach this moment.

Gimli thrilled at the face of fear beneath him. The wicked man deserved to cower.

"I would stay still if I were you."

The greasy-haired man didn't move. This was too easy. But he glanced up to see the real war commencing. Saruman! Crafty wizard. But Gandalf handled it well. He silently cheered as the king grew noticably younger with Saruman's temporary defeat.

He watched the elf stare intently at Theoden, seeming to encourage him back to strength. How he wanted that strength of gaze focused on him, but he knew the king needed it more.

Gimli tried to keep the blackguard on the floor as the king gathered his strength and his sword, but the slimy one slipped away.

The dwarf stood back with the rest of his group as Theoden grabbed his aide and threw him down the castle stairs. He then took Legolas' arm as they headed outside to keep things under control. "Is Saruman hiding in that one too?"

Glad for the chance to speak to Gimli, Legolas covered his hand.

"He is only a servant, a worm at the feet of the evil. Do not worry about him."

He wanted to hold onto Gimli much more firmly and obviously, but there were too many eyes.

Legolas watched as Aragorn announced Theoden's presence to his astonished and excited populace. Aragorn's presence was powerful, his words rang with conviction. It was a moving moment, and was made more so when Theoden asked for his son.

As Gandalf took Theoden to visit the grave of his son, the warriors followed Eowyn into one of the meeting halls. Aragorn conferenced with Hama in one corner of the large, drafty room.

Gimli decided he'd rather be warm than warlike at the moment and decided to move near the fire. Sitting down in one of the highbacked chairs, the dwarf removed his headgear with a sigh.

Seeing his mate go to rest for a moment, Legolas felt a surge in the desire within him. It had simmered within him since the night before -- one night was not nearly enough to satisfy him.

Without thinking further than the need to be close to Gimli, even if that was all he could have, Legolas padded across the room. He stood behind the dwarf for a second and then moved around in front of him.

The memory of the night before sang in his veins, though this was not the time or place to actually sing.

Moving closer, his arms at his sides, he nudged his way between Gimli's knees and turned to fold himself on the floor, sitting between those strong legs as he had the night before.

He felt Gimli tense. Fearing the dwarf would pull away, he restricted his touch to one hand on a heavy ankle, unable to even feel skin under the thick trousers and heavy boot.

He stared into the fire.

Gimli looked down at the elf, bemused. "What are you doing, Master Elf?" Not wanting others to see him this close to Legolas, he moved his chair backwards slightly. He whispered. "This is neither the time or place for what I believe you want."

"There may never be another time or place, melethron-nin," Legolas answered just as quietly, discretely moving, following Gimli and increasing the contact with his cheek pressed to a wide dwarven knee. "I wish no more than this." He felt a measure of peace in his blood, just being this close. This close and basically alone.

Gimli held back the volume of his voice, but could not hold back the anger.

"Theoden has gone to visit the grave of his son! He did not even realize the boy had died. It would not do him any good to see us here like this." The dwarf glanced behind him to look at the conversing men across the room. He did not like being watched, especially with a lover. "There is much to be done to protect this kingdom. Let this be for now."

"I ask nothing more than the chance to sit close and touch you," Closing his eyes, Legolas nuzzled against the rough fabric. He ran his hand up Gimli's leg, knowing it could not be seen. "You have become... important to me, Master Dwarf."

Frustrated at the elf's apparent lack of hearing, Gimli grabbed Legolas' arm and shoved it away from him.

"How important can I be if you do not do as I ask?!"

A bit hurt by the vehement rejection, the elf looked up at the dwarf, not knowing how his eyes shined.

"Important but not considerate," he observed, still speaking softly. "No one is watching us and I would not care if they did. Melethron-nin, I wish only to be close to you. There is no shame in this."

Leaning close again, he let his hair slide across his face. Two thousand years had taught him something of seduction.

"Can I not touch you, even in this small way, Gimli? If you knew how I yearn, you would not push me away."

"Why is it you want to be this close? Is this how elves conduct their nightly events? In the day, for all to see?" Gimli sighed, wanting to touch the elf, but knowing it was best saved for another time. His hand trembled with his indecision.

"Elves are not ashamed of who they love -- especially if they find the one true mate they seek. Do dwarves hide everything in dark caves and silence?" He laid his hand on Gimli's thigh, where it was plainly visible to anyone that glanced over.

Gimli's eyes widened as he took in Legolas' words. "Mate? Are you mad, Master Elf? We are comrades, fellow warriors. But mates?! That's preposterous."

He stood up, ignoring the hand on his thigh. Troubled by the situation, he backed away from the elf and tried to restore his mental equilibrium. They could never! But the feelings he had for Legolas, could it have to do with mating? No!

Even if his feelings were of any consequence, it would never work. "Look elsewhere for one to share your life, Legolas. It cannot be me."

Left sprawling on the floor, Legolas shivered with both lust and dread as he heard his name fall from the thick, cherry-red lips.

"I fear the decision is not yours to make, melethron." He stretched, the arguement giving him the same rush the fight earlier had.

Knowing he was making a small spectacle of himself, he sat up, knees drawn and arms around them. Aragorn had already noticed. Without making it obvious, the Ranger was staring at them from beneath dark brows. Legolas knew he would be curious, but he found that he himself was not ready to share this, even with his friend and once-lover.

"Gimli-nin, do not reject the thought so quickly. There is much I could offer you.."

Gimli leaned against the wall and glared at the elf. "Even if I was so inclined, it could never be. Our worlds are too different. We are too different!"

Hearing a small clatter from across the room, Gimli turned his head and stared right into Aragorn's questioning eyes. A small growl started to rise in the dwarf's throat.

Legolas felt cold, and made himself stand, watching Aragorn walk toward them. He did not want his friend to know his folly.

To claim a dwarf as his mate, Gimli was right, it was preposterous. Ludicrous. And, unfortunately, all too real.

"Legolas," Aragorn said his name in that particular way he had. "There is no time for your games today." He looked them both over. "Put aside your differences once again. We who remain as the last of the Fellowship must work together, or all hope is lost."

"Of course, Aragorn." He was blushing, and knew they could see it. At least the full extent of his embarrassment wasn't understood. "Gimli and I will come to an understanding."

"Curse that elf," Gimli muttered under his breath. But to Aragorn, he nodded. "We have more urgent matters than those that distracted us. I will not let it happen again."

Aragorn nodded, and looked them over. Legolas saw the way his eyes took in everything. Estel knew elves well enough to suspect what was going on. Legolas found himself hoping his friend would let it go and not try to speak to him about it.

He was too uncomfortable with the situation at the moment, and it would only get worse if Gimli continued to deny him. How could he get through to the dwarf? He could almost believe Gimli when he said that a mating between them wouldn't work.

If he was rejected entirely, then he would turn to his old friend. For comfort, if possible, and physical solace if he could get it.

There were so many legends about what happened to elves who did not succeed with their one mate -- he did not want to find the truth of them.

"There are many things yet to do," Aragorn said softly. "First we will eat and discuss." His eyes on Legolas were gentle. The elf shivered slightly in response.

Gimli walked behind Legolas and Aragorn into the dining hall. What do I do with that elf, he asked himself. He wants more. . .more than I can give?

He didn't want to think about that right now. He needed to concentrate on what needed to be done right here, in Edoras.

He heard Aragorn speaking to Legolas about the defenses of the town when he spied Gandalf coming around the bend in front of him.

"What must be done now, Gandalf?" He asked as the wizard came near with the King by his side.

"We must get some food, and then we will discuss our plans." Theoden replied for the wizard.

"Finally. I was beginning to wonder if we would go into battle with growling stomachs."

The wizard and two men laughed heartily at the dwarf's words. But Legolas was silent, as if pondering something.

They sat down at the long tables with metal plates and all were silent as they ate. But Gimli couldn't swallow, as the elf's pondering seemed to be intensified by staring at the dwarf.

As he promised Aragorn no more arguments, he stayed silent, but only gazed at his food as the others ate.

Leaning with forced casualness against the pillar, Legolas watched Gimli eat, and listened to Theoden with half his attention.

It was dangerous, to be so distracted. Dangeorus and foolish. No one had ever called Legolas a fool.

Something had to be done, right now, before this took over and his mind was closed to all else. The thought of Gimli being angry with him... he couldn't define how that made him feel.

Pushing off the pillar, with a vague plan in mind, he went to the table and grabbed the dwarf by the arm, pulling him up. He was pleased to see Gimli remember Elven strength as he didn't resist, but came unwillingly.

Leading him to a secluded spot, a niche set deep in the walls where they could see anyone coming, Legolas let go and leaned down.

"Gimli, I must speak with you."

Gimli was disturbed by the intrusion into his meal, but as he wasn't eating anyway, he let the elf lead him.

"What could you possibly say that wouldn't make matters between us worse?" Gimli crossed his arms in front of him and glared at the pointy-eared annoyance.

"I seek only to say I am sorry." He swept his hair back with an irritated motion. "I do not apologize for what I said or the intention behind my words, for only the timing was in the wrong." He waited a moment for Gimli to sort out his statement before continuing. "I would address the issue again, in a more private setting. Could we meet later this night?"

"I suppose," Gimli agreed grudgingly. "We should try to sort this out before we go into battle or aid the town."

Gimli sighed as turned toward the table, where the men were discussing strategies. "I am sorry for my anger. The things I said to you shame me now."

"Later, then," Legolas let slide the comment about shame. He would use it when he needed it. "When I complete my tasks I will seek you out."

With no hesitation, he reached out and stroked Gimli's cheek above the beard. The skin was dark and rough, but felt like nappy leather to his hand.

"Thank you, dwarf."

Gimli looked at the elf quizzically, but decided he was now indeed hungry. He sat down to eat. As he did so, Theoden took his place in his throne and the rescued children were brought in for a meal.

The men argued, but he realized the plan of defense had already been decided. The town would head for their fortress at Helm's Deep.

So he enjoyed the food, maybe a little too much. He heard a light snicker as a burp overtook him.

He smiled slightly. Maybe this would indeed work out. There was hope in the air.


CHAPTER 2

Legolas trod the bowels of Edoras, intent upon his mission.

A part of him knew Aragorn had deliberately sent them to separate tasks, though he wasn't sure why.

Had Aragorn seen the light in his eye when he spoke to the dwarf? Was his friend trying to protect him, or their journey? Could he be jealous?

He dismissed that idea without another thought. Aragorn had been too long among the elves to feel such a petty emotion.

That meant he had made sure they were a castle apart for another reason. To preserve the peace, perhaps.

The peace of the night was long past disturbed, as they set forth on this foolhardy trek.

Still, it was better than staying put and letting the enemy's army find them here. Without proper defenses, the population was vulnerable.

Suddenly, his senses became alert. He lengthened his stride as he realized he was close to Gimli, to his one mate, whether admitted or no.

It had taken some careful badgering to work the location out of Aragorn, caught distracted. Now Legolas approached a buried armor room, determined to get through to Gimli. Feeling his body respond, he grinned. He had no intention of wasting this time talking.

He slid through the cracked door soundlessly and melted back to the wall, hidden in darkness.

The stuffy stone room reminded him of the worst parts of his father's home, so deep underground it was sometimes said they could hear the dwarves digging to meet them.

Gimli had a lantern with him. It cast only a small pool of light in what was, to Legolas' surprised eyes, a far bigger room than he'd expected. But still stuffy, so far from the open air and greenness outside.

There was nothing beautiful, in this damp stone room.

Not even the dwarf that labored in his undershirt, armor and overclothes laid aside despite the coolness. Not beautiful, even to this elf's highly biased eyes. Instead he was well-made, sturdy and strong.

He had seen trees like this dwarf, in his home forest of Mirkwood. He had known trees like him, sang to them, loved them, almost the way he would someday love this dwarf.

The beauty of a knotted trunk and twisted limbs thick with strength -- he could see that, in his dwarf, as well as strength of heart beyond anything he'd known.

Even Frodo, with Sam by his side, could not match Gimli's steadfastness.

There were faint patches of damp on his shirt, where he had perspired. The scent came to Legolas on a slow-moving wave, heating his loins.

He was behind the dwarf and wrapping his arms around him before Gimli knew he was there.

As the dwarf felt the arms wrap around him, he startled, then jabbed with his elbow at the intruder's stomach.

The woosh of air that came out of him sounded familiar, the blonde hair that fell around him looked even more so.

The dwarf sighed. The elf must be a glutton for punishment. Grabbing Legolas' arms, he tried to support him while the breath came back to him.

"Gimli!" Legolas gasped, then laughed. "I will never fear for your safety, Master Dwarf, even when caught unawares."

"You instead must fear for your own, if you insist on sneaking up on me." He watched as the elf straightened up, satisfied that he was not injured. "Did you want something?"

"I want everything, dear heart," Legolas straightened, still chuckling. Then he leaned further over the dwarf, making sure to wrap his arms *over* Gimli's for his own protection. He nuzzled deep under the fall of thick hair, braided and clubbed back, hanging on his neck. Legolas sucked at skin softer than he'd imagined.

Gimli struggled under the elf's mouth.

"What are you doing? I thought you wanted to talk."

Getting his mouth to an ear, Legolas breathed his reply. "I think I'm saying what I need to."

Gimli shivered as the breath vibrated in his ear. "I told you before, this is not the time."

"It is the only time we have."

"This will not solve anything. We need to talk about this." Gimli tried to free himself from the elf's embrace, but Legolas held him securely.

Gimli wondered at the determination of the elf. All this for a roll in the woods?

"There is no problem to be solved. If we find pleasure in each other's touch, this is not a problem." Legolas ran his hands down Gimli's front, seeking something harder to touch.

"Will you stop?!" Gimli finally wrenched away from the elf, and turned and glared at him in the lamplight. "Why do you insist on doing this?"

"Because I need to," Legolas sighed, and held out a hand. In the flickering light, he thought it trembled. "Gimli. Do not deny me this small thing."

Gimli became concerned as he saw the elf go pale in the dim light. Foolish elf, causing himself so much trouble.

But he could alleviate some of it. As long as it was just tonight, Gimli decided, he could bear to give the elf some of what he wanted. He didn't want to admit how much Legolas' pain shook him, so he just took him by the hand and led him out of the room.

Smiling gently, lest he warn Gimli of his need, Legolas allowed himself to be led through the hall. He was pleased Gimli didn't remove his hand, and that he didn't seem to be worried someone might see them.

When Gimli reached the hallway where the rooms were, he paused. Glancing into each of the two rooms, he saw that Legolas received the bigger bed. Just as he was about to head into the elf's room, Aragorn came around the corner.

"Gimli! Legolas! The plans have been made for our departure."

Gimli could see the ranger look at his hand clasped with the elf's. Muttering under his breath, he moved away from the elf slightly but did not remove his hand from the strong grasp. He glared at the ranger for a second, but realized the damage was already done.

Aragorn glanced at Legolas with a raised eyebrow.

The elf smiled back softly. "That is good, Estel. Could you see that we are not disturbed until the appointed time? Our tasks are completed..." He tightened his hand on Gimli's, not wanting the dwarf to pull away.

Aragorn grinned at the elf. "I will make sure you are not bothered. Just make sure you two get enough rest." He walked past them as Gimli grumbled under his breath.

Once he was gone, Gimli looked up at the elf. "Why did you tell him? Won't he become jealous?"

Leaning over him, Legolas breathed deeply. Could Gimli smell how aroused he was, the way Legolas could smell him?

"I explained my relationship with Aragorn to you. If you are going to become jealous, I'd like to know in advance." He grinned, a rare expression, and ducked his head to press a quick kiss to Gimli's furrowed brow. "I'd like to enjoy it as much as I can!"

"No elf, I'm not jealous. I was just worried that I'd have a ranger's sword at my throat." Gimli pulled Legolas into the room, distracted. Tomorrow they will be pressed to find any rest. Should we really be doing this now?

Feeling Gimli's hesitation, Legolas shut the door behind them, making sure the latch caught. Still holding his hand, the elf ran his own free hand down his chest, from neck to navel in a long, slow stroke. He felt the tiny fine hairs on his skin rise. He would not be turned away now.

The candle in the room has been lit previously. It gave a golden glow to the elf's skin.

Gimli shivered as he watched the elf's motions. He is too good at this, the dwarf thought. Deciding that he needed this more than he needed to worry about tomorrow, he grabbed the elf's hands and pulled them down.

"Let me." Gimli's fingers slowly followed the trails he watched the elf's hand take.

His lips followed the trail until he felt the elf gasp. Smiling at the reaction, he moved his hands lower and skimmed the top of Legolas' breeches.

Sucking in a breath, his stomach tightening, Legolas let his weight rest on the door behind him. He spread his legs slightly, hoping to encourage Gimli's attention downward.

His hands wandered over the Dwarf's hair, molding it, then slipping under the heaviness of it to work it loose.

"Gimli, melethron-nin, please..." Legolas' whisper was loud in the silent stone room. No fire was lit, so it was cool. His skin tingled from the cold and arousal.

As the elf slipped a little lower down, the dwarf moved to mold their lips together. He pushed his bare chest against Legolas', causing the heat to rise between them. He laughed as something began to poke at him. "Your tool wants out of those breeches, Master Elf."

Grinning, Legolas decided to take control of the situation and backed them both to the bed, letting Gimli fall back on it.

Climbing on top of him, knowing the sturdy form could take his weight, he just held onto the dwarf for a moment.

"Indeed," he said softly, "- I do wish to bare myself to you, in all ways, master dwarf. Let me give you a taste of that this night."

Gimli fingered the elf's silky hair as he gazed into the sparkling eyes. "You give me more than I know what to do with, Master Elf. But in return, I'll give you all I can in return, my passion, my body." Pulling on the locks he was holding, he dragged the elf down so he could lick at a pointed ear.

As he did so, their erections began to rub together. "And of course, my drill."

Laughing, Legolas grabbed Gimli's teasing hands and forced them out to the side, trying to hold the dwarf still while he clamped on with his knees.

"Everything, Gimli? You'll have to get free first," he teased, his eyes darkening.

Gimli shook his head, grinning. "It takes strength to lift the heavy rocks in the mines. I should have no problem with a skinny elf." Gimli lifted his legs and began to raise Legolas' body off the bed.

When the elf was raised all the way, the dwarf let his legs drop swiftly, knocking the elf off and giving the dwarf a second to scramble free. In that moment of confusion, he launched himself on top of Legolas, laughing.

"Now I am free, so now I shall take what I want from you." Still snickering, the dwarf launched himself on the dishelved elf.

"And what do you want, Gimli-nin," Legolas stretched slowly, relaxing under him, welcoming. "What can this homely elf give you?"

Gimli looked down at the elf below him, smiling broadly. "All that this most handsome of dwarves could ever need..."

Using his beard, Gimli tickled Legolas' chest, making him squirm. The dwarf held down the strong arm reaching for him and trailed his beard down Legolas' abdomen.

As the dwarf watched Legolas arch and wriggle, he realized what he had just said. I can't be his mate! He's going to think I accepted his proposal.

But in the heat of the moment, Gimli wondered if he really needed any more than this. He wasn't sure anymore. His thoughts distracted him, making him lose sight of the elf, his own arousal, even his concerns for the dawn.

His brow furrowed and he shook his head, trying to bring his attention back to the present. He could see the elf gazing at him, concerned.

"I am sorry, it is not you." He lied and did not at the same time. The elf was the problem, but it was Gimli himself who had done wrong this time. He did not want to offer the elf something he could not give.

Trying to focus on Gimli's words and not the feel of his hands on his body, Legolas took a minute to register what was happening. Freeing his arms, he reached for the dwarf and pulled him down.

"There is nothing but you and me in this moment, Gimli son of Gloin. Do not carry sorrow. Do not concern yourself with the meaning of words spoken in passion, or the fears of the future."

He kissed him, tasting the meat and mead of dinner. "Just this, and us." He spread his legs wider and arched provocatively under the heavy body, and reminded himself to keep his own words light. "It has been many years since anyone ventured down this path. Are you an explorer at heart?"

Legolas' words and actions had the desired effect, bringing Gimli back to the feast displayed below him. "Exploring is second nature to a dwarf. And there is much to explore here."

Suiting actions to words, Gimli moved his lips on the skin his beard had touched. He licked at the small, pert nipples, making them tighten even further, and moved south slowly, delighting in the small jumps and gasps beneath him.

Legolas grabbed Gimli's head in both hands and pressed his mouth to his own bare chest, encouraging him to do more.

"Melethron-nin, yes...." he sighed hungrily.

"Gold and jewels are nothing when compared to your skin. You glow, my friend." Gimli swiped his tongue over the elf's ribs and lower, smelling the earthy scent of his arousal. Taking Legolas' shaft gently in his hands, he buried his nose underneath, inhaling. "Shall I explore your cave, Legolas? My drill wants to find your treasures."

Shuddering from the sensation of Gimli talking so close to his genitals, Legolas reached across the bed. Earlier, when shown the room, he'd hidden a small pot of oil at the top of the headboard. He'd meant for this to happen, even if he had to track Gimli down and seduce him.

"There are treasures yet to find, dwarf," he mumbled as he retrieved the pot and held it out blindly, body shifting restlessly on the bed. "Grease your drill and seek them."

Gimli looked up at the elf's face as he grabbed the pot. I've done this to him. I've made Legolas lose that stubborn control of his.

The dwarf stopped in awe for a minute before coating himself with the oil. He floundered, wondering if he should roll Legolas on his stomach. But no, he wanted to see the elf's face. He had had enough of hiding this act in shadows. But he had never done this before with an elf. He wanted this to be better than those gropes in the dark in his past, even if he could not give Legolas everything he asked for. "Help me, Master Elf. I do not want to hurt you."

"You could start with using my name, Gimli," Legolas laughed breathlessly. Arching his back higher, he stretched his legs over Gimli's shoulders, knowing they were strong enough to bear any burden he could place there. The movement put his entrance at a good height for the dwarf and he twisted his hips slowly. "Can you find your way from here?"

Gimli wrapped his arms around the elf's thighs to steady himself. "Yes, Legolas, that will do."

Thrusting forward, the dwarf sank into the invitingly hot chamber. Looking into the Legolas' eyes, he hoped that he hadn't crossed the line of elvish culture by doing this. He loved the tight feeling around him, but for a moment he was scared. What if this was akin to mating to elves? Did Legolas trick him into a commitment?

Feeling Gimli stiffen, Legolas tried to open his eyes and reassure him, but the pressure was too intense. It had been too long since he did this. He thought the dwarf was anxious, because of what they did. He hoped he would get over it soon and get on with it. Legolas' body cried out to be possesed, to be taken.

"Do not go gently, Gimli-nin!" he groaned, using his hands to urge movement. "I am here -- take me!"

Laying his fears to rest for the moment, Gimli started to move within the elf. Copying what he remembered of Legolas' technique, he started slowly, smoothly. He found himself being jolted by pleasure as he stroked in, a jolt that seemed instantly to flow through the elf as well. As he gathered a rhythm, he smiled at the glowing eyes in front of him. "A jeweled cave, indeed."

As his soul seemed to expand, filled by Gimli's possession, Legolas began to return the sentiment in kind.

"Indeed," he managed to gasp as he arched off the bed and he strained for deeper contact, "- a sharper drill... ah, Gimli!"

He lapsed into his own language, the words aching in his heart. "Im baur sen, im baur bronwe, mil-nin, gur-nin (I need this, I need faith, my love, my soul.)"

His hands traveled feverishly over the dwarf, mapping the muscled planes of his back, testing the firmness of his skin and the thickness of the hair he was learning to love.

Gimli heard the elf only vaguely, as he was entranced by the writhing body attached to him. His body insisted he speed up, and as he did, Legolas moaned and arched, nearly throwing the dwarf away from him. I do that to him? How is it I have missed this, this very diamond?

Gimli grabbed at Legolas' hands, trying to calm the elf slightly before he ended up on the floor. But when the long fingers wrapped around his, he felt. . .a connection. Legolas' eyes bored into the dwarf's as his hands tightened. Gimli realized that the elf's only focus was on him. This was so very different from what he knew before, and as he was in control here, he could use it as he willed.

So he focused himself on Legolas as if he was extracting a jewel from a awkward crevice. Slow, careful thrusts, caresses on his abdomen, through his hair, on his pointed ears. He watched every reaction to his every move, focusing on the elf's pleasure, even to the point of ignoring his own.

With every gasp and moan from the elf's mouth, Gimli's wonder grew. It was as if he could do no wrong. Every caress was absorbed wholeheartedly by the shuddering skin, every thrust produced a cry. He shook off his own pleasure. It meant nothing compared to the spectacle before his eyes.

Sweat glued the elf's hair to his shoulders, pleasure made his eyes wild. He looked entranced. . .as if by the One Ring. But no, there was no evil here. Only a trust in a companion, trust so complete that Gimli gasped at the realization.

His body stretched tight, Legolas felt the wave rise in him as never before. He wanted, he *needed*, to touch himself and bring an end to this. It was too much-- especially knowing that Gimli did not experience what he did. Suddenly it was bittersweet and almost painful.

He mumbled softly as he gasped, the words unclear to the dwarf. Long, slender hands that gripped with amazing strength slid around from Gimli's buttocks to Legolas' own groin, where they rested quiescent for a moment, as if he was thinking. The tension in his body didn't ease; if anything, it increased.

Gimli watched as the elf's eyes dulled slightly. Suddenly, Gimli was reminded of those gropes in the dark he used to have. I hurt him, somehow. The tension in the dwarf's body was no longer pleasant, it was the stiffbacked tension of an alert warrior. But Gimli was out of his element. He couldn't fathom why the elf seemed less pliant, and almost..wounded.

He had done all that he could think of to please Legolas, and yet he stumbled. The diamond was shattering before his very eyes. But no, he could please his friend, he had seen it before. This wasn't about him, he supposed. The elf wanted too much. He wanted a mate, but Gimli was content with this moment in time.

So the dwarf resumed his thrusting, whispering, "I can give you this, my friend. I would not see you deny this pleasure for something that does not exist."

Hearing the words, feeling the movement, Legolas moved his hand, just enough to hold himself, pressing his arrow to his stomach though he did no more. "Yes, melethron-nin," he whispered. "This is pleasure indeed..."

Without asking, Gimli gently moved the smooth hand away from the shaft. He wrapped his fingers so that his rough hand touched the most sensitive spots. The other hand found its way to the elf's hip, to help the dwarf move in rhythm with his own hand.

Gimli sighed contentedly as Legolas seemed to lose at least some of his sadness and resumed his writhing. Watching the elf caused his own control to loosen. Soon he found himself thrusting deeper and harder, and growling, aiming to uncover every last jolt of pleasure. Somehow, he didn't lose sight of Legolas' pleasure, and continued to pull his rod, pulling moans and gasps from the elf as he did.

The dwarf went deeper, deeper into Legolas and he found himself rising to meet each thrust. Wanting him inside, as far as he could get him. The noises, the growling -- the stocky, strong hand on him, it all coalesced suddenly, shockingly.

Legolas lost his breath in the fire of it, giving his body to Gimli as he wished to give his heart. Panting, he rode the end, watching his dwarf with half-closed eyes, needing his seed inside almost as badly as he needed his heart.

The feeling of Legolas' quivering, sweaty body released Gimli's mind somehow. The thrusts came easier, quicker. The pleasure roared in his ears. . .or was that his own voice? With the roar, pleasure bolted through him one last time. He buried himself into the elf, and gave up his seed, gasping.

Gimli fell on his side as he regained his breath. His heart's pounding, although good when joined with Legolas, began to take on an ominous quality. It was no longer in sync with the passion of the elf, but now seemed to run away as Gimli saw his face. Legolas' face was blank, bordering on cold. The dwarf shivered. This is what I do to him? Does a commitment mean that much to him?

Gimli turned his face away from the sight of the elf, unable to bear the guilt that it caused. Feeling his body weighed down as if by a cave troll, he slowly moved to get up.

Gimli moved away from him and Legolas mourned the loss. He suspected he was responsible for it, though, so he couldn't vilify his lover. In the seconds after orgasm, hearing and feeling Gimli's response to him, all he'd been able to think about -- as much as he could think, enjoying it so much -- was that this might be the last time. Gimli could leave him at any time, go off and find a grumpy dwarf woman, search under her beard for lips to kiss. The pain in his heart had been surprising. Unable to show it, unwilling to begin another conversation that would end in rejection, he retreated into the unemotional calm that allowed his kind to survive the millenia.

It was clear now that Gimli hadn't taken it well.

Gimli looked back at the bed as he felt around for his breeches. "We need to get some rest. I should go to my own room, let you sleep, or whatever it is elves do when they rest."

"This bed is large enough for two," Legolas said after a moment. "It would be warmer with both of us in it." He didn't move or make any other invitation, only held his breath and hoped Gimli would accept this one.

Gimli was startled to hear Legolas actually asking him to stay. He was silent a moment as he put on his breeches, not wanting to torture himself and Legolas by sleeping here tonight, but knowing his leaving would hurt the elf. Deciding he could withstand any torture except for the guilt, the dwarf climbed back into the bed and laid flat on the mattress.

"Would you like me to put out the candle?" Gimli turned his head to stare at the flickering light. Minutes ago it was an aid to his pleasure, but now it only illuminated the tension in the room. He watched as the elf leaned over and snuffed the candle himself rather than speak.

Contrary to the laws of Nature, it was colder in here now than it had been when they arrived. When Gimli was settled, the elf reached down and pulled up the rough blanket to cover them both. In the darkness he lay quiet, listening as the dwarf's heart began to slow from its hammering pace.

Perhaps later, after the dwarf slept, he could slip over and be close. When it would not be noticed.



-End-

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