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Beneath It All

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Gimli
***************

He lies there so still that almost you would think him a statue.

I know it’s a healing trance he’s in.

I know that he will be all right . . . eventually.

I know that when he recovers, I intend to kick his ass right around this damn forest.

He has no business to even need healing. If I needed a self-appointed keeper, I certainly wouldn’t have chosen an elf who doesn’t know enough to get out of the way of an arrow meant for me. I intend to tell him a thing or two when he wakes up.

When he wakes up . . . I have to believe he’ll wake up soon or go stark raving mad.

Mad-dwarf-with-an-ax . . . sounds like some silly tale that a halfling would tell the little ones around the campfire. I check his pulse again because there is something in my eyes and I can no longer see that infinitesimal rise and fall of his chest.

His chest . . . I’ve seen it four times without the cloak of clothing. It appears that Elves have no hair anywhere on their bodies. It might look childish if not for the lean muscles that ripple beneath his fair skin and stretch when he does. His strength is not like mine but more like the quicksilver that my people compare his people to with derision.

They’re wrong. He is not insubstantial or false ore. He is golden through and through. I enjoyed my time with his people although I rarely admit it. The travels we made together with the others of our fellowship have changed me out of all recognition. I no longer pine for the deep caverns far from the sun. I only miss them at certain moments of the night.

I wonder if he misses the forests of Rivendell or Mirkwood? He’s never said so but I see a wistfulness in his eyes sometimes. Perhaps we both miss the places where we were born and the people who knew us when we were young.

“He will be all right, Gimli.” The strong hand on my shoulder should startle me but I think I knew he was nearby. He crouches by my side and checks the pulse in the long, graceful throat. “An hour more will see him opening his eyes.”

“Stupid elf, he should have known that the arrow would glance off my breast plate.” I blinked back the moisture that had no business being in my eyes.

Aragorn laughed silently. “He said much the same about you when you shoved him aside and took that blow a moon ago. Neither of my friends are stupid but they may be a bit dense.”

I glared at him. “What do you mean? Dense?”

“Friendship is one thing, Gimli, but love is something else entirely. Look into your heart, my friend, and see what lies in his.” Aragorn smoothed back a tangled curl from Legolas’ cheek and I twitched at the tender gesture. “He won’t ever speak of something that he fears might offend you. Elves love to suffer in silence, unlike noisy dwarves.”

And with a chuckle, he arose and departed back to the outer fire while I sat still as if turned to stone.

Love? What in the world was the mad king talking about? Dwarves don’t love elves. It simply isn’t done. We are too different in body and temperament. He is sunlight and laughter while I am darkness and severity. He is tall and graceful while I stump along at his side, too grim to please . . . too . . . the world tilted on its axis and I fell off.

Love. I’d only been in love once and when she died of the birthing fever, I put that emotion aside and worked all the harder. I’d grown a thick skin so I wouldn’t want what I couldn’t have. Friendship and companionship were all I needed, until I got sent on a mad quest with the oddest companions that ever a Dwarf tale could dream up.

I found my hand stroking his long hair, the silky golden strands flowing through my fingers like cool water. It was finer than any thread from an Elven loom, alive with a crackling energy that burned. I tried to snatch my hand away from the flaming strands but knew with sudden clarity that I could not. The king-in-disguise had seen truly into my heart.

Could he have seen truly into Legolas’?

Bright Haven, I hoped so. It looked like this quest was coming to an end although whether for good or ill, I could not guess. The Ringbearer was hopefully nearing his destination and I knew that if it were at all possible, Frodo and Sam would do what had to be done. There was no time for this, no matter how much I might wish it. We were fighting for our lives and the odds of us winning through were so small as to be unforeseeable.

“Gimli.” His voice was so soft that if I hadn’t been leaning towards him, I wouldn’t have heard it at all. “My friend.”

I gulped hard and kept on stroking his hair. “I’m here, friend Legolas. How goes it with you?”

“I am well.” Those long eyelashes slowly lifted and I caught my breath at the spark in his gaze. “Perhaps . . . better than ever I have been.”

“When you are well, we will have a long talk about silly Elves who put themselves in the way of danger. But for now, know that we are all safe and for tonight we merely sleep to gain strength for the morrow.” I dared to leave his hair and stroke one soft caress to his fair cheek.

His smile lit the small cave with only his radiance. “Safe indeed, Gimli. I could wish for nothing else.”

“I could.” I muttered to myself then blushed crimson at the startled look on his face.

“Wishes might become hopes, Gimli.” He turned his head a little, trapping my hand beneath his soft cheek.

“And hopes might become reality.” I let my thumb graze his lips and they parted to allow his tongue to dart out. The small lick against my skin made me shiver.

“Hm-m-m, reality would be better than any waking dream that I have ever dreamt.” Legolas nibbled at my nerveless fingers and each nip went straight to my groin.

“Was this then a dream of yours?” I needed to know when he’d begun to feel something other than just friendship for me.

“For long moons, Gimli, since I ceased to see just a humorless dwarf and found a friend and companion who fit me like a glove.” He smiled to take the sting away from the word ‘humorless’.

So I sniffed, the way I had done at the beginning. “Well, it has been some time since I ceased to see the frivolous elf and instead found a friend who made my heart sing with his caring.”

“Who ever said that dwarves had no poetry was a fool and a dullard.” Legolas’ hand found mine and I clasped it close to my heart. “Should we survive the last battle, may we speak of this again?”

“Yes.” I gave him my pledge and watched his eyes light up.

***********

Tired.

I’d never felt this tired before.

If I tried, I didn’t think I could lift my ax even once more.

In fact, leaning on the blood soaked handle, I was afraid that it was all that was holding me up. The enemy was no more and we’d won the day. But I feared for the Halflings who had succeeded so well. Gandalf had flown away to try and find them. A shrill whistle brought my head up and I saw Legolas wave from some distance away. That sight gave me the strength to move again.

And damned if I didn’t have one last task to perform before getting a rest. In a heap of bodies, I spied a Halfling foot and uncovered small Pippin still alive. Leaving him with the healers, I finally found Legolas and allowed myself to look my fill. A streak of blood marred his pale cheek and his hair was more disordered than I’d ever seen it. But his dark eyes were sparkling and that was all that mattered.

We shared a room in this city of stone and once the door was closed fast behind us, I leaned against it and saw him head for the fireplace where a small fire blazed. He tested the small kettle that hung over the fire and found it to his liking. “Gimli, we have hot water for washing and I, for one, could use a bath.”

“I, too, Legolas but I fear I may be too weary to enjoy it.” The door just might be the only thing holding me up, I thought while I toed off my boots and flexed my toes against the cold stone.

“Then come to me, Gimli, and I will see to your comfort.” He stretched out a long fingered hand and I had to answer that summons. Crossing the room took the last of my strength and I sank to the thick green rug on the hearth by his side.

The small basin smelled of some kind of sweet herb that seemed to clear my head of the fatigue of battle. His gaze was soft yet searching while he wrung out a cloth and cleaned my face. It felt so good that I closed my eyes and let him have his way. Clever fingers undid my mail shirt and the loss of that weight helped me relax further. Finally, my shirt was gone and the warm wet cloth moved through the matted hair on my chest.

My sigh was heart felt and he chuckled before moving my braid over my shoulder so he could get to my back. Water trickled into the waistband of my pants and we both stilled. I looked into the beautiful face before me and threw my caution right out of the window. Leaning in, I brushed my lips over his and tasted the sweetness that was Legolas.

His gasp opened those pouting lips for me and I slid inside the warm wet haven of his mouth. My tongue rubbed against his while my hands slid up his chest to the leather ribbons that held his shirt together. I needed skin . . . soft . . . satin skin and I needed it now. But his elusive taste was driving me to madness and a growl vibrated between us when he pulled away to shrug off his shirt.

I approved of that but even more I wanted nothing between us and I pushed my breeches down to the ground, kicking them aside. His soft sided boots were easily removed then my hands were pulling off the rest of his clothing. Finally, we were both naked and we took turns with the wet cloth, cleaning each other with care. Legolas undid my braid and combed the snarled strands with his fingers while our mouths tangled together.

It all felt so good that I could feel my cock hardening to the point of pain. He pulled away just far enough to rest his forehead against mine. “Bed, Gimli. I don’t want our first time to be on the cold, hard floor.”

“Finicky Elf.” I took a deep breath.

“Stubborn Dwarf.” He teased me, standing and pulling me up with him.

Luckily, the bed wasn’t far away. We were both laughing for some reason when we rolled on the fresh smelling linen. I ended up on top of him, all those long lean limbs entangling with mine and his fair skin glowing against my darkened flesh. For a brief moment, I wondered how he could possibly want me . . . me, a son of the mountains.

“I love you, Gimli, son of Gloin.” He read my mind while both his hands framed my face with his strength. “I think perhaps that we were born to love each other.”

“Well, one of us was born into the wrong race, then.” I tried to joke but could only feel the sharp stab of reality pierce my heart.

“Nay, my friend, I think we were born into the families that we should. Had you been another Elf, I would not now have all this wonderful hair,” he combed through the thick curls on my chest, “to play with or feel it tickle my skin.”

Amazing, I thought with a flush, he likes my hairiness. Gulping, I took a good look at his naked limbs and the long, slim cock that bobbed between us. “You may be right, Legolas. Dwarves do not have such arrow-like weapons.” I leaned in and ran my tongue over the crimson head to drink in a tear of fluid. “Nor could another dwarf ever taste of sweet honey as you do.”

He gasped and shivered. “Gimli! Do that again, please.”

Smiling up at him, I lapped another tear of shining translucent seed from his cock. Then another and another until with a sigh, Legolas shot forth his arrow, giving me the honey that I craved. He shuddered beneath my hands and I gentled my coaxing forth of that pale elixir. The look of relaxation on his dear face soothed away any lines of fatigue that the last battle had etched around his eyes.

Eyes that were even now opening to gaze upon me. “Dearest beloved Gimli, thank you. But I see yet another reason that I am glad that we are who we are.”

With just a slight flexing of those long lean muscles of his, he rolled us over so I lay beneath him. His hands ghosted over my flesh, tickling and teasing me into complete arousal. “I have heard it said that dwarves have great stamina in all things. Is that true, my love?”

At that moment, I’d have traded a cave of gold and jewels for that sparkling look from his eyes. “It is true, Legolas. We are slow to arouse.” His fingers wrapped around my granite like cock. “And we believe in long . . . hard . . . hours of labor.” I felt the delicate tickle of his hair brush my thighs and had to close my eyes lest I spend myself prematurely. “Of course, we also have a short temper and are liable to go off at any time with sufficient provocation.”

The hot moistness of his mouth descended onto my shaft, enveloping me with heat and I shuddered. But then his tongue lapped at my crown and I found my hands on his head, tangling in the long strands. He chuckled around me and the vibration spread throughout my body until I could no longer hold back from thrusting up into that haven of warmth. He sucked a little more, his fingers finding the sac between my legs and gently rolling the three balls held safe there.

I was drowning in the sensations he invoked within me and my stamina was quickly spent within his mouth. I shuddered through my release with a groan, falling into sleep as quickly as I’d fallen into his arms.

*****

I awoke to the smell of fresh baked bread but not even that wonderful smell could obscure the delicate scent of the hair that tickled my face. Legolas was the only being I knew who still smelled like flowers even after a bloody great battle with insufficient clean up. Opening my eyes, I found myself with my very own living, breathing elven blanket to go with the soft wool coverlet that warmed our bed.

He slept still, his breath gusting lightly out over the hollow of my throat. My hands spanned his back and I traced the muscles there but gently, not wanting to wake him from his healing rest. Even Elves can grow tired and I had the urge to fall asleep again myself but that yeasty smell made my stomach growl. It seemed like weeks since my last meal.

Turning my head, I found Pippin sitting quietly in one of the chairs by the table. His gaze was pensive as he studied our close embrace. He blushed a little when he saw I was awake, whispering to me. “Sorry, Gimli, I didn’t mean to wake you up. I brought up some dinner for you since you didn’t come down to eat.”

I smiled at him. “That was most kind of you, little one. How are you feeling?”

“Better. Aragorn took away the headache.” He smiled at me but it took some effort and I wondered what could be wrong.

“Pippin, is there something you need to ask me?” I thought I might know what he was thinking but needed the words to be sure.

He blushed again. “Do . . . is . . . can males love males?”

“A year ago, I would have said no.” I smiled at him then down at the fair hair fanned out over my chest. “Six moons ago I would have said that a Dwarf and an Elf couldn’t possibly love each other. Since I fell in love with Legolas Greenleaf, I now know that anything is possible in this wonderful world of ours.”

That golden head raised up to look at me. “To wake to such a heartfelt declaration, my love, is one of the marvels of Middle-earth.” He turned his head and smiled at Pippin. “And yes, little one, one male can indeed love another male.”

“Oh,” he nodded but left his head down. “How do you know . . . um.”

“If your love is returned?” Legolas sat up gracefully, making sure the blanket stayed tucked around us both. “Merry loves you very much, Pippin, but you are younger than he and he feels a keen sense of responsibility for you. It may be that you will have to ask him if what he feels is more than that emotion.”

Eyes brimming with tears finally met our gaze. “He’s my best friend and I’m afraid of losing that friendship.”

Legolas sighed and uncurled himself from my side, leaving the bed and crossing to the table. Kneeling in front of the distraught hobbit, he lifted the quivering chin and spoke. “The very best kind of love starts with friendship and deepens to all encompassing passion. Ask him, Pippin. I do not think he will say no.”

The hobbit burst into tears and my lover swept him up in his arms and brought him back to our bed. I sat up enough to accept the sobbing halfling into a hug, rocking him as tenderly as I could. Legolas returned for the tray of food and carried it back to us. Reaching for a robe, he belted it around him then took back the little hobbit who was in such distress while I got out of bed to clothe myself. An old nightshirt that had traveled with me from home was enough and I crawled back into the bed, taking the tray of food onto my lap.

Legolas hummed quietly and slowly Pippin stopped crying. I buttered some bread and set it aside so I could check the teapot. The brew was opaque so it just might be strong enough to finish waking me up. I poured some into the two cups and drank it down like a fine wine.

“Ah, now that is the way tea should be brewed.” I smiled smugly at Legolas who chuckled and took a sip from the other cup.

“Tar, that’s what it tastes like. Perhaps some sugar to sweeten the taste?” He smiled at me, fluttering his eyelashes just a bit and I felt a shiver go up my spine.

“Honey . . . honey would sweeten it immeasurably.” I growled and watched him blush at my tone. “But some sugar is available at the moment so hand it over.”

He held it out and I spooned in two heaping teaspoons full of the brownish substance, which was all that this city under siege could muster. Pippin had finally stopped crying and he sniffed endearingly, scrubbing at this face with both hands. I fished out a handkerchief from under the pillow and he blew his nose hard before taking a sip from the other cup.

“Th-h-hank you, both. I’m sorry to be so silly.” His smile was shaky but I was glad to see it.

“Not silly, Pippin.” Legolas reassured him with a little hug. “Eat a little something and we’ll answer any questions you might have.”

The young hobbit accepted a muffin and began to nibble. “Um, what can you do together?”

I chuckled. “Everything that you can do with a female can be done with a male. There are just a few adjustments to be made. Legolas has those great long legs so I had to wrestle him down to the bed so we had a level playing field.”

Legolas finished a bite of apple with a swallow that rippled the muscles in his throat. “I must admit that Gimli was a surprise to me but kissing a face with a beard is surprisingly erotic.”

“The shape is different, Pippin but strong arms can both hold and be held.” I took another sip while he thought about that.

A knock at the door startled all of us. But the door was already opening before we could respond. “Pip, aren’t you finished yet?” Merry’s head peered around the door and his eyes widened when he saw the three of us in bed. “Oh!” He began to disappear but I hastily called out to him to join us.

He hesitated long enough for my lover to leap from the bed and pull him into our room. “Merry, we were just talking about you. You must join us.”

It wasn’t quite what I’d had in mind for our first morning as lovers but we had the time now to take things slowly. And that felt very good indeed.