Title: Hitching
Fandom: Middle Earth

Pairing: Legolas/Gimli
Rating: PG-13

Summary: Gimli knows far more about sneezing than Legolas does

Notes: Written for day 18 of my 23 Ficlets project to celebrate my 23rd anniversary in the community

 

Hitching

 

Hhh! Hih!

 

Gimli pressed the handkerchief to Legolas’ nose.

 

But then the elf relaxed, let out his breath, and shook his head. “I am sorry,” he whispered.

 

“Don’t be.” He lowered his chin, just managing to kiss the top of Legolas’ head where it lay on his chest. Absentmindedly, Gimli traced the elf’s ear with a finger, following its curve to its pointy tip and its smooth slope to Legolas’ chin, then back again.

 

“I know how much you desire me to sneeze.”

 

Gimli bristled at this. “What I want is for you to feel better.”

 

“What I feel is frustrated.” He lifted his hand and swiped it under his nose. “And-hih and sn-sneezy. IH!

 

Though he really didn’t expect this to amount to anything, Gimli made sure the handkerchief was back in place just in case.

 

Hihh! IHH!

 

Legolas froze then let his breath out.

 

This wasn’t just frustrating; it was wholly unsatisfying on multiple levels. With Legolas starting and stopping like this every few moments, they couldn’t even talk. There was nothing but silence and hitching breath and disappointed sighs when nothing came of it all.

 

Gimli had already offered to help a dozen times, but Legolas had refused, certain every time that the next build-up was going to finally be the one to bring about a sneeze. Gimli had also tried to think of other things, to take his mind off what was happening. He tried thinking of his task list for tomorrow or of what he might like for breakfast in the morning. He considered places they might go when the elf was well enough again to travel and friends he should like to visit. But every time Legolas gasped with the sudden urge to sneeze, every thought flew right out of his head. The only thing that felt truly important was this sneeze.

 

This sneeze that would just not come. And, in Gimli’s experience, there was only one option left to him now.

 

Hih! Ihhh! Ihhhhh!” Nothing. “Hih! HIH! IH-HIHH!” Still nothing. “IHH!” Gimli could feel the elf’s nostrils twitching madly against the cloth but that still did not amount to a sneeze.

 

With a sigh to match Legolas’, Gimli pressed the handkerchief into Legolas’ hand. “That’s it. I’m off.” He pushed Legolas up by the shoulder and slid himself out from under the elf. Then he replaced himself with a pillow. It was a poor replacement, but it would have to do. “I’m leaving.”

 

“Leaving?” Legolas sounded confused and a little hurt, but that couldn’t he helped. “You shall ihihh! You shall miss…”

 

“Aye,” Gimli agreed. “I’ll miss your beautiful sneeze. I want to see it so badly, so it’s just my luck that as soon as I leave, it will come.”

 

Legolas shook his head a little, even as it rested in the squishy feather pillow. “I am not sure that ihhh is how it works… ihhhhh…

 

“Of course it is.” He climbed off the bed, circled around to the other side, leaned over, and kissed Legolas’ slightly pink nose. “Galu, in advance.” Then, before he could let himself fill with regret and reverse his decision, he strode to the door. With his back turned, his hand only had to turn the door handle to pull it open for his exit.

 

That was when he heard another quick gasp of breath and just as quick a sneeze, followed by a second more forceful one. “hih-IHHHShhh! HIH-SHKkkxxx!

 

Smiling, Gimli turned back around and saw Legolas dabbing at his nose. “Let me,” he said, walking back to the bed and reclaiming the handkerchief. Tenderly he wiped Legolas’ sore nose. “Feel better?”

 

“Mmm,” Legolas agreed, closing his eyes at the sensation. “I believe I am closer to understanding why you dwarves love that so. However did you know that would work?”

 

“Yours isn’t the first shy sneeze I’ve encountered.” He bent and kissed the bridge of Legolas’ nose again. “But it is my favorite by far. Those sounded exquisite.”

 

Legolas’ cheeks flushed pink. ‘Next time, you should see them. Or feel them.”

 

“We should take it slow,” Gimli advised. “With such a cold in your nose, I am certain there will be plenty of opportunities for your sneezes to become comfortable with me.” He ran a finger down the bridge of Legolas’ nose, circling one nostril than the other. They flared at him in response.

 

Ihhhhh…

 

Gimli smiled.