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"My father is going to kill me, you know." A quiet voice rang out suddenly in the stillness of the forest.
The companion of the voice's owner snorted. "Well, thank you for telling me! I can arrange the funeral if you like."
The first voice replied very quickly. "No thank you! I may not know much about Dwarvish customs regarding funerals, but I'm fairly certain I don't want you arranging mine!"
"Very well, Master Elf, I will not interfere with your morbid customs in the least, however would you privilege me with the knowledge of WHY your father is going to kill you?"
"Great Valar!" The golden haired Elf jerked the reigns of his horse, almost sending his Dwarvish passenger tumbling to the ground. "Can you ask? I go to Imladris with a message for Lord Elrond, leave for some crazy quest without informing my father in any way, and now, NOW I am coming home with a Dwarf! A Dwarf, Gimli!" The Elf grinned. "And the most pigheaded Dwarf I have ever met," he added.
Gimli grinned. "Oh, stop your complaining, ye pointy eared princeling!"
Suddenly, Legolas pulled the reigns of his horse again. "What is it this time," grumped Gimli. Instead of replying, Legolas leaped off Arod's back, leaving behind an astonished Gimli. He ran forward, listened intently, then came back.
"Gimli, put up your hood!" he hissed. "NOW!" He insisted before the Dwarf could argue. Gimli grumpily complied, pulling the soft material of his Elvish cloak about his face. "There's a patrol coming. I will speak to them. You, keep quiet!"
With this last admonition, Legolas spun away and stood staring into the forest. Gimli couldn't hear a thing, and was beginning to wonder whether his friend was playing a joke on him, when suddenly a group of Elves on horseback burst into the clearing where they waited.
Legolas's face burst into a wide grin. "Mae govannen, Tawarwaith ned i Lasgallen (1)," he cried joyfully.
"Mae govannen, Ernil Legolas (2)!" The riders responded. "Your father was informed of your imminent return, and we were sent to meet you."
"Thank you, Neldormel (3)," said Legolas. "How is my father?"
The Elf named Neldormel grinned. "He isn't too happy with you for leaving like that," he said.
Legolas grimaced. "Well, it probably won't help to extend my absence any longer!"
The Elves all grinned. "On our way then!"
Everyone remounted, and turning the heads of their horses, galloped away to the Elvenking's palace.
The leader of the patrol, Neldormel, was a childhood friend of Legolas. As they rode, the two of them spoke of things that had been happening while Legolas was away. After a time Neldormel noticed Gimli sitting behind Legolas. "Who is your silent friend here, Legolas?"
"He was one of my companions on the Quest. We became very close, and I asked him to accompany me home before leaving to join his own people."
Neldormel would have liked to ask more questions but, luckily for Gimli, the palace gates came into view.
As they passed through the gates, Gimli found himself inside a large cave. Carved out of the living rock was a large courtyard, with passages going off in every direction.
There were many Elves in the courtyard, some talking in groups, some simply milling about. One group that had been standing off to one side turned towards the entrance, as the riders entered. An Elf broke away from the group and ran towards them. Gimli blinked. The Elf running towards them looked enough like Legolas to be his twin! Their dress was different, Legolas wore his customary short tunic and leggings, and the second Elf wore regal robes, but the face and golden hair flying in the air were identical.
"Ion nín!" The golden haired Elf cried out something that Gimli could not understand.
Legolas had dismounted, now he spun around. His face lit up. "Ada (4)!" he cried.
The golden haired Elf stopped and held out his arms. "Ion nín (5)," he repeated.
Legolas sprang forward, throwing himself into the other's arms. "Ada, ada, ada!" he murmured, burying his face in the strange Elf's shoulder.
"Ion nín. How are you?"
"I am well, ada," said Legolas.
"No injuries?" asked the golden haired Elf incredulously.
"Ada," exclaimed Legolas reproachfully. "Must I be injured every time I come home?"
"Oh, ion nín, how I have missed you!" said the Elf with tenderness. "Now tell me, what on Arda kept you away for almost 3 years?"
Legolas opened his mouth to reply, but was cut off.
"No, wait. If the tale involves Master Elrond, I fear it will take much time to tell. Tell me after dinner tonight!"
Legolas looked relieved. "Thank you, ada," he exclaimed.
The Elf smiled. "Why don't you go to your chambers now, and get settled? I will see you at dinner."
They embraced swiftly, and with one last smile, the golden haired Elf turned and disappeared down one of the countless passages leaving the courtyard.
Legolas returned to Arod. Murmuring something into the horse's ear, he turned and walked toward another passage, Arod following with Gimli still seated firmly on the horses's back.
The passage led to a stable. Legolas helped Gimli down, hissing at him to be quiet when the Dwarf started to speak, then removed the bags from Arod's back. Setting the bags aside, he led the horse into a stall already complete with hay and water. After being sure Arod was comfortable, Legolas picked up the bags again, beckoned to Gimli to follow him, and led the way down a short hallway to a heavy wooden door. Opening the door, he went in, Gimli followed.
Once inside, Legolas dropped the bags and sagged wearily against the door. Gimli was unimpressed by this display of tiredness, and stood with his feet wide apart, crossing his arms defiantly.
Legolas opened his eyes, and sighed. "What is it Gimli? Are you angry that I treated you like a piece of baggage, made you stay silent, and did not introduce you?" Gimli's scowl only deepened. Legolas sighed again. "I thought so. I'm sorry my friend, truly I am. I just wanted to try to diffuse some of my father's anger at the fact that I brought home a dwarf." A dreamy look entered the Elf's eyes. "He was glad to see me, don't you think?"
Gimli snorted. "How should I know, ye daft princeling? I've never even seen your father!"
Legolas gaped at him. "What do you mean you've never seen him?" He exclaimed, in confusion. "Didn't you see me greet him in the courtyard?"
Now it was Gimli's turn to gape. "You mean, you mean that golden haired Elf in the courtyard was your father?" Legolas nodded. "The Elvenking of Mirkwood?" Legolas nodded again. Gimli looked flabbergasted, and could not speak anymore; his mouth hung open.
Now Legolas looked confused. "If you didn't know he was my father, who did you think he was?"
Gimli slowly regained control of his tongue. "Oh, I don't know. Your brother maybe. I don't know."
Legolas burst out laughing. Gimli looked annoyed. "What on Arda is so funny?" he demanded.
"Oh, nothing,"said Legolas, rather unconvincingly. Gimli raised his bushy eyebrows. Legolas grinned at him. "Oh, Gimli! It's nothing, really! It's just not very ofter that you are that confused!" He grinned at the Dwarf's annoyed expression. Suddenly, they both burst out laughing.
"Oh my, laddie!" said Gimli after a moment. "I guess the joke's on me after all!" Then he grinned. "But I'll get back at you, never fear!"
The two friends grinned at each other, embraced swiftly, then slowly sobered.
Legolas was the first to stand up. He offered Gimli his hand, which the Dwarf grinned at, but accepted.
"Well," said Legolas. "Father is expecting me to be ready for dinner in about 2 hours. Do you wish to take a bath? I know he isn't expecting you, but it will be as good a time as any to tell him."
Gimli grimaced. "Well, if that's the plan then I think I will accept your generous offer of a bath."
Legolas smiled indulgently. "All right my friend. The bathing chamber is through that door there." He pointed to a door off to the left side of the room. Gimli picked up his small pack, clasped Legolas's hand once more, and departed for the bathroom.
Legolas picked up his own, smaller, pack, and his beloved bow, and took them over to a chest of drawers beside his bed. He laid his bow on top of the dresser, then emptied the contents of his pack into a drawer. He slammed the drawer shut and dropped the pack on the floor. Spinning around he dropped unceremoniously onto the bed and closed his eyes. He was suddenly overcome with weariness.
When Gimli came out of the bathroom a short time later he found Legolas sprawled on the bed, sound asleep. Gimli smiled. The Elf had been so exited to get home that he hadn't been able to sleep for several days. Well, this Dwarf certainly wasn't going to wake him, YET.
Gimli had been going to ask Legolas to help him braid his beard and hair, but they could wait till Legolas woke up.
A short way down the hall Thranduil Oropherion, king of Mirkwood, was just entering his chambers. He was thinking about his son, Legolas, especially how glad he was that Legolas had come home safely. Suddenly a piercing cry echoed through the hall. Thranduil knew that voice! It was his son, Legolas! What was happening?
Back in Legolas's room Gimli son of Gloin leapt to his feet, his hand unconsciously going to his axe hilt. Legolas still lay on the bed asleep, but now instead of sleeping peacefully, he thrashed wildly, crying out unintelligible words.
Legolas screamed out the one word, then went limp.
Gimli rushed forward as fast as his short legs could carry him. When he reached the bed, he stood for a moment, trying to decide what to do. Deciding quickly, he climbed up onto the bed. The Dwarf picked up the limp form of his friend, holding him close and talking to him, trying to make Legolas wake up.
Thranduil ran down the hall. Coming to Legolas's room he didn't even bother to knock, but flung open the door and rushed in. The sight which greeted the Elvenking's eyes almost made him faint. A Dwarf was sitting on his son's bed, holding Legolas in his arms! Thranduil took only a moment to take all this in, then he hurried over to the bed. There would be enough time later to find out what the Dwarf was doing here, first he had to help his son. When he neared the bed, the Dwarf looked up. The king wasn't to surprised at the look of fear and anger that he received from the little creature, but what he was surprised at was the look of love that was given to Legolas by the Dwarf. (6)
"He was asleep," said the Dwarf. "I think he had a nightmare. He started screaming and thrashing, then suddenly he went limp." The Dwarf bowed his head, but continued to hold Legolas tightly. Thranduil wasn't sure what to do, but the decision was taken out of his hands. Legolas started to scream again. Earlier, when Legolas had first started dreaming, the words he screamed were barely intelligible; now this was not the case.
"Gimli," he screamed.
"Who is Gimli," hissed the Elvenking.
"I am," growled the Dwarf.
"No, father, no," cried Legolas, even louder this time. "No father! You must understand! He is my brother, father! No, Gimli!" Legolas fell silent. Gimli and Thranduil tensed, was Legolas about to wake up? "Gimli!" Legolas did not wake up. "Namarie, gwador nín. Namarie, elvellyn. (7) Now I shall kill you, father!" Legolas struggled, as if trying to draw his knives. The fact that there were not on his back seemed to make the sleeping Elf even more angry. "Ai, so you would steal your own son's weapons so you could murder his best friend in peace? Ai, traitor! I shall kill you with my bare hands!" Legolas thrashed wildly, then stopped, holding his body tense. "Ai, father! What have I done?" he screamed. "And so it begins again, as it was on the shores of Aman. (8) Alas for these days! Death, death take us all! (9)"
After screaming out these last words, Legolas fell limp again. Gimli gasped.
"What has he done," the Dwarf exclaimed.
Thranduil glared at him. "I certainly don't know, but it seems to have something to do with you!"
"Well, Your Majesty, it seems that you are involved also!"
The two of them would probably have come to blows if, at that very moment, Legolas had not stirred.
"Gimli?" he murmured, looking at who held him.
Gimli grinned broadly. "Aye, laddie, it's me," he said.
"But I thought Ada killed you!" cried Legolas in confusion.
Here king Thranduil burst in. "Why would I kill the Dwarf? It is true I do not love Dwarves, but I kill no one needlessly!"
Legolas burst into tears. "But I thought you killed Gimli, and I killed you!"
Thranduil and Gimli both gasped. "You thought you killed your father because he killed me?" exclaimed Gimli after a moment. Legolas sobbed loudly and nodded. "Oh, Legolas!" cried Gimli.
Legolas wrapped his arms around Gimli, holding him close, like a small child who has had someone come to comfort him in the darkness of the night. Thranduil, seeing this, rose, and left the room.
The two friends sat still for some time, until Legolas had stopped sobbing.
"Legolas?" murmured Gimli hesitantly.
"Yes, Gimli," replied the Elf.
"When you first started dreaming, you cried out 'Gandalf'. Why?"
Legolas shuddered. "Moria," was all he would say.
Gimli gasped. "You were dreaming about Moria?" he cried in surprise.
Legolas only nodded.
"But why?" pressed Gimli.
"Did you notice I haven't been able to sleep for some days?" asked Legolas.
"Why, yes. I thought it was because you were so exited to get home."
"If only that were the case. The truth is, I was scared Gimli!"
"Scared," echoed the Dwarf.
"Yes, scared. Me, the wonderful Elf who helped to save the world, who killed a cave troll, and an Oliphant, I was scared. I've never felt comfortable in my own home. Haven't you noticed where I live, Gimli? Gimli, my home is a cave!"
Gimli gasped. "Oh, laddie, I'm so sorry!"
Legolas bowed his head. "Don't be sorry Gimli. It's not your fault."
Suddenly Gimli chuckled.
Legolas looked up. "What amuses you so, my friend?"
"Oh, I was just thinking," said Gimli. "Remember in Lothlorien, when the Lady offered us each our most inner wish?"
"Yes," began Legolas in confusion, but Gimli cut him off.
"Did I ever tell you what she offered me? She offered me peace. Peace between men, and Elves, and Dwarves, and Hobbits, and all free creatures. An end to all strife. A return to the ways of the Elder days."
At this mention of the Elder days, Legolas gave a start.
Gimli grinned. "Oh yes, laddie. Did you think the Elves were the only ones who remember? We may not live as long as you, but we still remember. As unchanging as the rocks we love, are Dwarves. We don't change, we don't forget."
Legolas was staring at Gimli as if the Dwarf had suddenly sprouted horns out the top of his head!
"Gimli," he stammered. "I don't understand!"
"Don't understand what, laddie?" asked the Dwarf patiently.
"That was my wish also," murmured the Elf quietly.
The two friends stared at each other for a long moment. Finally Gimli broke the silence.
"Well!" he exclaimed. "I don't quite know what to say!"
Legolas only shook his head in astonishment. "Me neither," he admitted.
Gimli grinned. "Well in that case, laddie, it would probably be best if you went to get ready for supper! We've probably ruined any chance of your father not being angry, but it won't help to be late for dinner."
Legolas smiled at the Dwarf. "All right Gimli, I suppose you're right."
"Of course I'm right, ye blasted Elf! I'm done in the bathroom (10), so off you get!"
Legolas suddenly pulled Gimli into a tight embrace.
"Thank you, Gimli!"
"What, for being a quick bather? You're welcome, laddie!"
Legolas looked him in the eye. "You know what I mean."
"Aye, laddie. I do," Gimli replied in a voice thick with emotion. "Now off you get! We'll be late for dinner!"
Legolas grinned at his friend and left to go get ready.
Gimli sat in silence. He never would have thought the day would come when he and an Elf would be as brothers. "Oh, well," he thought. "That's what one small seed of friendship can do!"
(2): Well met, Prince Legolas!
(3): Beach lover (An OC of mine, please don't steal him!)
(5): My son!
(6): This is NOT slash. This is the kind of love shown between brothers. If you want to make something out of it, talk to Gimli!
(7): Farewell, my brother. Farewell Elf-friend.
(8): On the shores of Aman, refers to the Kinslaying committed on the shores of Aman. (Silmarillion)
(9): This is a line of Eomer's from ROTK. I borrowed it because it was perfect.
(10): I couldn't decide what the Elves would call a bathroom, so I just called it a bathroom. If you have any better ideas, leave them in the comments box.