Day 8

Title: Day 8
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Rating: PG
Pairing: Legolas/Gimli
Disclaimer: Not my characters, not my 'verse. I don't get paid a cent to play. Please don't sue and make things worse.
Summary: Gimli really wants to be with Legolas when the elf is ill, but that’s easier said than done.
Note: Part of the 12 Ficlets in 12 Days project 2011-2012. Requested by Lady Korana.

 

Day 8

“I do not like this. I am not comfortable being shadowed by guards.” Gimli glanced suspiciously toward the wood-elf guards, one stationed at either side of the door.

“Escorts, Gimli.”

They would have to agree to disagree about the name of Gimli’s new shadows, but their function was clear. “Legolas, we have been together for years and have never harmed you. I helped to save all of Middle Earth, including the Woodland Realm. What more could I do to earn your father’s trust?”

Legolas pressed a kiss to Gimli’s forehead. “It is not you he distrusts, but your father and your race. Give him time to get to know you and he will come around, just as I did. He is not used to having dwarves in his realm.”

Gimli huffed, arms crossed over his chest. “I think it is that he is not used to having his son’s lover in his realm.”

A smile played at the corners of Legolas’ mouth. “That might be it as well.” It had all been a bit of a shock to Thranduil. To the king’s credit, he had not banished Gimli straight away upon seeing the way the dwarf and his son looked at each other. And he had merely turned his head without a word spoken as the two lovers kissed in greeting before the welcome feast. But he had drawn the line at letting them share the same room. Legolas had his old room, deep at the heart of the palace, and Gimli had been given one quite some distance away. Thranduil had assigned them both escorts to ensure that the separation was kept, but Legolas was certain this situation would be nothing but temporary.

Legolas put his arms around Gimli and hugged him. “I will not sleep for a moment until you are at my side, I assure you.”

It wasn’t saying much, considering elves needed so little sleep, but the sentiment was most appreciated. Gimli smiled and lifted his head, catching the elf’s lips in a deep kiss, not caring about the stares the on-looking guards gave them.

“I will come for you at first light to take you to breakfast.”

*

Gimli woke early, rolled out of bed, and threw on some clean clothes. He wanted to give the king no reason to look down on him. He waited for a while, sitting on his bed. Then he headed to the window and looked out. The trees of Mirkwood were tall and thin, much like Legolas himself. Gimli had no doubt that the wood would always be green and lush so long as the king had his way, much as Lothlórien remained golden because of the Lady Galadriel.

The morning came, but Legolas did not. Gimli’s stomach rumbled with hunger as he paced across the small room. Gimli went from expectant to patient to hopeful to anxious to worried as he waited. Finally, he left the room. The guards at his door were different elves than the ones who had been stationed there the night before. And while they didn’t stop him from leaving the room, the elves did not tell him where to go to get to the main hall or wherever breakfast was served. Gimli was used to the warren of tunnels in caves, so he retraced his steps from the night before. Legolas had taken him to the room in a roundabout way, to show off various parts of the palace he remembered from his childhood, so Gimli had no choice but to go that way as well. He passed the room where Legolas had been schooled. He saw the course where the young elflings still learned how to shoot a bow. And he saw the water-gate and the Forest River where, dozens of years before, his father had escaped from the elf king’s dungeons in a wine barrel, thanks to Bilbo Baggins.

Now, here he was, as the prince’s lover and the elf king’s guest. True, he did not get to stay in the same room as the king’s son, but the room he had been given was far better than a dungeon. Perhaps his elf was correct; they should take small steps and eventually Thranduil would come around.

Thranduil was not at the hall in the morning, though a large variety of foods were spread out on the tables for breakfast. Gimli scanned the hall, looking for Legolas, but Legolas was nowhere to be found. Sure this couldn’t be a good thing, Gimli grabbed a piece of bread and set out again to look for Legolas. He didn’t have to wander far before he found a door which he was not allowed to enter. Then another. And another. There was a whole hallway out of bounds to him. And, at the end of the hallway, was a door with a leaf carved into the wood and painted green. There was a guard stationed outside that door and no other throughout the hallway. “Is that where the prince’s quarters are?” Gimli asked the guards.

They nodded slightly, perhaps not sure that they should reveal this or perhaps impressed that he had guessed correctly.

“And I am not allowed to go in there to see him?”

The guards exchanged a look. Then one suggested, “Perhaps you would like to see the old forest? We can show you the way there.”

More trees. Exactly what Gimli had been dying to see. “Perhaps after lunch. I think I will wait for Legolas, thank you.”

He waited, breaking off mouthful after mouthful of bread. He waited, leaning against the wall and staring at the door that did not open. He waited, sliding down to sit on the wooden floors. He waited, not stoic and patient but stubborn and devoted. He waited, knowing that Legolas had to be allowed to leave some time.

It wasn’t long before his waiting paid off. From a side hallway came a half dozen elves, bustling about Legolas’ room. Some were rushing in and out with items in boxes or on trays. Others were standing in front of the door, speaking in hushed tones. Even the king came and went. Gimli called out, trying to catch someone’s attention, but none of the elves responded. He knew that he could fight his own guards and break free. Sure, there were two and he was but one dwarf, but Legolas had taught him much about the weaknesses of elves and Gimli felt sure he would be able to best them without doing damage, if not for the damage that would do to the meager amount of trust he had already built. Thranduil would never allow him in Mirkwood again if he beat up two elves and made a charge for his son’s bedroom.

So Gimli waited again. And he tried to figure out what was going on. It had to be some sort of emergency for Legolas to fail to meet up with him. At first, he thought it must be something to do with other elves, perhaps some strange political move threatening the Sindarin Elves. Then he thought it might be something more serious, perhaps something left behind of the Shadow which had once tried to take over their realm. Gimli was good at reading elves’ expressions now, and he could see the worry on their faces, even from down the hallway.

It wasn’t until one of the elves came down the hallway that Gimli knew he must take action. He did not have his axe, but what he lacked in height, he made up for in determination. He jumped to his feet as quickly as he could. “I demand to know what is wrong!” he insisted, blocking the elf’s path, thanks to the two guards who almost literally stuck to his sides.

The elf was far older than Legolas, his blond hair, streaked with gray, down past his waist. With a hesitant glance over his shoulder, the elf answered, “It is nothing for you to be concerned about. The young prince has caught a chill. It looks unlikely that he will be able to perform his duties at the ceremony tomorrow or see any visitors.” He looked down at Gimli, and not because of their height difference. “Now, if you please…” He pushed past Gimli, who suddenly felt sick himself.

Without thinking, Gimli began down the hallway, toward Legolas’ room. But his guards reached him before he made it halfway and pulled him back. Gimli struggled, despite his better judgment. But all his senses told him to get to Legolas. He knew well what his elf was like when ill. Legolas would need tea. He would need handkerchiefs. He would need his dwarf to snuggle with under the warmest of covers. Gimli managed to throw off one of the guards and make it another few feet before being restrained by the other. Gimli was just about to lash out with a punch in a weakened location that happened to be convenient to a dwarf of his height, when the king himself emerged from Legolas’ room and looked straight at Gimli.

They stared at each other for a moment, Gimli straining to get closer and Thranduil looking… angry. A chill passed through Gimli. He knew what Legolas looked like when angry, and Legolas’ father took the emotion to an extreme. There was rage in his eyes as he stared down Gimli. And Gimli found himself taking a step backward. Without Legolas to speak for him, Gimli might very well find himself sleeping in the dungeons as his father had. Startled and a bit apprehensive, Gimli was nonetheless determined. “I would like to pay Legolas a visit.”

Thranduil narrowed his eyes. “My son is ill. He is not to be bothered. He needs his rest.” Thranduil stormed off and Gimli was pulled back by both of his guards.

Gimli stood at the edge of the secure hallway, staring stunned at the room. He couldn’t help but remember Legolas’ words from the night before, about how he would not sleep until Gimli was with him. Legolas needed him, of that Gimli was sure. But the question was: how was he to get to Legolas now?

*

Gimli watched the door to Legolas’ room open and closed as elves came and went. He tried to crane his neck or bend down or lean against the far wall, but no matter how he positioned himself, he couldn’t catch a glimpse of Legolas. What he did see, however, was a fat brindle cat emerge from the room. It held its tail high as it walked, owning the hallway.

This had to be Misty, the cat Legolas had told him many stories about. Or perhaps it was one of Misty’s descendants; Gimli couldn’t recall how long Legolas had said cats lived. Either way, it was a cat which was clearly welcome in Legolas’ room, and that gave Gimli an idea.

The cat pranced past him, and Gimli noticed a ribbon around its neck. Gimli sat back down and felt about in his pockets. Legolas called him a packrat sometimes, but the things he carried on him almost always came in handy. His hand dove into one pocket, and his fingers brushed a handkerchief; his heart ached to not be able to give it to Legolas… yet. Some more searching turned up a small dagger, which stayed in its place; a few nuts, which he popped into his mouth to make up for skipping lunch; a piece of charcoal and a scrap of parchment, which were exactly what he had been searching for.

His elf guards were talking amongst themselves, providing just the distraction Gimli was looking for. He scribbled the first thing that popped into his mind: Under the Lórien waterfall. Even ill with a bad cold and all the misery that came with it, Legolas had to remember the time they had spent together in those golden woods and how the had gone from members of a fellowship to fast friends and then finally to lovers in the wake of that waterfall.

Gimli waited for the cat to return. When it did, he lunged forward and scooped it up. It gave a startled purr to find itself suddenly hanging in his large hands. Holding it close, the cat latched onto him. It kneaded its paws into his beard, getting a blissful look in its eyes that reminded Gimli so much of Legolas when the elf snuggled up to him. Under the pretense of petting the cat’s head, Gimli slipped the note beneath the cat’s ribbon, wrapping it around so it stood a good chance of staying on for a while. The cat looked annoyed to leave its new nest of dwarf beard, but once on its feet again, it continued down the hallway and slipped right into Legolas’ bedroom.

With any luck, the elf would notice the note and know Gimli was outside. Maybe if their prince asked for Gimli specifically, his subjects would actually grant Gimli access. Or maybe the note would just make Legolas smile.

*

“I believe I would like to take an afternoon walk,” Gimli told his guards about an hour after the cat had gone into Legolas’ room and there had been no developments. Instead of going back to the old groves, Gimli chose his own route. He walked around the palace. He glanced at every window he came across, trying to merely look as curious about what was behind them as he was about the plants and trees surrounding the palace.

Gimli’s abilities to navigate tunnels in caves came in handy, allowing him to instinctively map out where each part of the palace he had seen was. It didn’t take long until he was on the outside of that area so restricted to him. Most of the windows were closed or too high up for him to see into. But he could hear what was happening in some of the rooms. And, naturally, he was drawn to one window in particular.

ihhKshh! ehhhptchhh! Ih-ihhhhhh-ihhtchhh!

That sounded to Gimli like much more than a chill. The elf definitely had another of his colds.

Eh-HEPTchhh!

And from the sound of it, it was a bad one. Gimli looked up at the window, yearning to be in there with Legolas. He ached to not be able to hold Legolas. It was true that he had grown up here, but Gimli was sure that none of the elves knew how to care for him the way Gimli did.

Gimli considered calling up to Legolas, in hopes that his elf might poke his head out and beckon him up. The window was a good six or seven feet off the ground, but Gimli could rig something up to get up there. But he did not want Legolas to get out of bed unless he had to; this was an option, but perhaps not the best one.

Still, Gimli could not bring himself to pass by Legolas without at least sending a message. From the sounds of his sneezing, Legolas was definitely awake to hear. Gimli bent to inspect some mushrooms growing around the trunk of a fallen tree. Then he raised his voice. “What lovely woods. I appreciate you two escorting me here!” He tried to sound casual and could only assume he had succeeded when neither of his guards showed any reaction to his words. “It was getting tedious just standing around and it was a bit stuffy inside, I know that, but I am looking forward to being back there tonight!”

He wasn’t sure if Legolas had understood his meaning, but Legolas would certainly have heard his voice. And perhaps just knowing that Gimli was so close was an improvement.

*

After spending years with Legolas Greenleaf, Gimli Elf-Friend had learned a thing or two about elves. And one of the many things he had learned was what herbs to use to help an elf fall asleep.

Before they left the woods, Gimli took advantage of the setting. He remarked on the beauty of the trees, and pocketed a bit of moss. He bent to caress a fern and picked a weed. When Legolas fell ill and couldn’t sleep for all his sneezing, Gimli had mixed these into his tea to help the elf find some rest. Gimli just hoped it worked in wine as well.

The evening meal was a spirited one, for elves at least. There was music and singing and plenty of spirits to go around. Wood-elves were known for their fine wines, cultivated throughout generations. The goblets they served wine in were large and plentiful, quite easy to switch without an elf noticing. It did not take long at all for Gimli to slip his personal guards the mixture.

After the meal, Gimli headed back toward the hallway as his guards yawned. Before they reached the spot where Gimli had spent so much time waiting, both his guards were asleep on the floor of the palace. Gimli had thought to bring the guard standing outside Legolas’ room a cup of his own. He had to put on a cheerful air, pretending to be a bit drunk, but the guard couldn’t help indulging. And then it was only minutes before Gimli slipped in, free and clear.

It looked like someone had spilled green paint everywhere from floor to ceiling. The only thing that wasn’t green was the giant wooden bed and the elf with golden hair who lay within it. Legolas had a green hanky placed strategically in front of his nose and mouth to catch his sneezes. “ihhh… Ih-Tchhhh! Sniff, sniff. Ih-hihshhhh! Sniff!” He shook with each one and sniffled, which Gimli knew meant he was too tired to even blow his nose. His head was probably so stuffed with cold by now, all he could do was lie there and sneeze.

Gimli was sure he could help change that. “Galu.”

Legolas jumped. His mouth hung open, nose twitching with the need to sneeze again. But his eyes opened, spotted Gimli, and lit up. “Gih-Gibli!” At once, Legolas pushed off his covers and tried to get out of bed. Gimli sprinted across the room to stop him. And, instead, he climbed into bed with Legolas. He didn’t care if it wasn’t proper and didn’t even think about whether or not Legolas’ father might find out. All he cared about was getting to Legolas as quickly as possible. And the way the elf put his arms around Gimli was all the reassurance the dwarf needed.

Legolas snuggled against him, curling his body around Gimli’s and hugging him tightly. “I kebt askig for you, eved before I got your dote add heard you outside by widdow. But they said you were too busy add did dot wadt to see be.”

“They would not let me see you. The guards—”

“Escorts.”

Gimli rolled his eyes. “The guards would not let me get to you. So I was forced to drug them.”

Instead of being appalled, Legolas hugged him more tightly. “By father will dot like that.”

“Somehow I do not care. I am not leaving this bed until you are feeling better.” Gimli looked up to see Legolas’ slight smile. Even though the smile was barely on Legolas’ face, the brightness in Legolas’ eyes made him look worlds better than he had when he had been alone in bed moments ago. Gimli knew without a doubt he was right where he should be. And he knew that, even ill, Legolas would not allow them to banish Gimli from the room now. “So now that I am here, how about you tell me how you feel.”

Legolas let his head fall onto the pillow. His body shook once as he gave a strong cough. “Do you rebeber that cold I had back id Bidas Tirith that widter?”

Gimli nodded. “That bad?”

“Worse, I thidk.”

“Worse? Frankly, I do not see how that is possi—”

Legolas pulled back a little, handkerchief to his face again. His eyelids fluttered shut and his nostrils flared. “ihhhh… ihhh… ihh-hehhh-ihhhhh-IHTChhhh! Sniff! IHIShhhhhh!

“Galu. All right. Perhaps it is possible.”

Legolas nodded in agreement, mouth still hanging open. “ihhh… Hekitchhhhh! Sniff!

“All right. First, you have got to blow your nose, or it will never stop tickling.” Gimli pulled his own handkerchief out of a pocket and held it up for Legolas. Legolas’ nose found it at once, nuzzling into it with a series of tiny snorts and blows. Then Legolas sighed deeply. “And second, Galu, again.”

“I love how you say that.”

“Because I am a dwarf and I have probably been pronouncing it wrong this whole time?”

“Doe, silly, because you’re a dwarf add you’re blessig be id by owd ladguage.” Legolas kissed Gimli’s cheek. Then he pulled back, his breath catching. “Ex… excuse… ihhhh-ihhhhhhhh-Hihshhh! Ih-ih-ih-ih—“ The elf wavered, right on the edge, ears twitching constantly. “ihhh-HIHShehhhh!

“Galu.” Gimli reached up and ran his finger along the ridge of Legolas’ ear, the curve, the point, the lobe. Legolas practically purred at the touch, and once again Gimli was glad he had taken such measures to get to Legolas. “Have you had any herbal tea for that cold?”

Legolas nodded. “Yes, bud dot the tea you always give be frob those herbs Estel had.”

“How about food? Are they feeding you all right?”

Legolas shrugged. “Dot very hudgry. Ihhh-Hitchh! Sniff!

“And sleep? You have been in here all day. Surely you got some rest.”

“Doe,” Legolas closed his eyes. “After so bady years together, I caddot sleeb without you id by arbs.”

“Good thing I am here, then.” Legolas yawned violently and smiled as Gimli traced a finger around Legolas’ ear again. “I will look after you.  I do not have my axes here with me, but I am certain I could hold off any enemy with that wooden chair by your bed alone.” Legolas hugged him even closer. “Sleep, my elf. Sleep.” Legolas was asleep in mere seconds.