You Can Lie Down In My Bed If You Need To

 

“You can lie down in my bed if you need to.”

 

Legolas set down the shield he’d been cleaning and turned toward Gimli who stood at the same table a few paces away. There was no missing the fact that the dwarf’s stack was considerably larger than his own. “You just want me to give up.”

 

Gimli gave one of his crafty smiles, though he tried to hide it in his beard and his shoulder as he gave his head a shake. “What I want is for you to get well.”

 

ihhhh…” With no better option at hand, Legolas folded the cleaning cloth in half and pressed it to the lower half of his face just in time. “ihhh-h’schhihhh!” Legolas coughed lightly and rubbed his nose dry. “I am not so ill.” It was true. He always caught cold when he visited Gimli’s caverns, and he usually spent days with a nose so itchy and tickly that he sneezed almost constantly. This was just a light sniffle.

 

“Yet.” Gimli nodded toward the cloth. “That is the fifth one you have sneezed into since we began this task. If you keep working and tiring yourself out, that cold will only get worse.”

 

Legolas snuffled into the cloth and set it aside with the other four. There was only one more cleaning cloth in what used to be the pile between them. One cloth and more than a hundred swords, axes, and shields left to clean and polish. Giving up was not in his nature, but he seemed to be left with few options.

 

“I do have some sway around here. Icould get someone to do this for us, you know.”

 

Legolas shook his head, rubbing at his nose. “We lost that fight. Honor dictates we do this on our own.”

 

Gimli did not reply, but his silence was telling in and of itself.

 

“Gimli… we did lose that fight…” He rubbed harder at his nose, feeling a sneeze trying to build there.

 

Gimli winced. “I may have—“

 

“No….”

 

“Aye, I may have let them win.”

 

Legolas exhaled in frustration and surprise. “Why would you—“

 

“You were getting ill. I wanted the competition over and done with. And it builds up their confidence for the others to think they can beat me.”

 

Legolas gave a laugh. “Then I think it is good for you to clean these. I, on the other hand…” Legolas picked up the last clean cloth, cupped it to his nose and mouth, and blew. His tickly nose seemed to cooperate for a brief moment, satisfied at the attention he had paid it.

 

“You will go lie down?”

 

Legolas nodded. “It will be a much… much…” The tickle sprang up quickly, but he wasn’t about to sneeze on the newly-polished shields, so the elf reached over, plucked Gimli’s cleaning cloth from his hand, and brought it to his face. The strong scent of cleaner filled his nostrils for a moment, overpowering them and making them twitch even more violently. Then he snapped forward, nose into cloth, hand reaching out for support and finding the dwarf’s immoveable form there for him. “ehhh-yitchhhh! Ihtchhhh! Ee… ih-hktschhhh!” He massaged the rest of the tickle out of his nose, rubbing as he finally finished. “I will go lie down. It will be a much better punishment for your dishonesty to have to clean the rest of these on your own, knowing I am lying naked in your bed without you.”

 

Gimli growled a low and frustrated growl. Through gritted teeth he responded, “Just as long as you get into bed.”

 

Legolas promised and started back without the customary kiss they typically exchanged, because already his nose was running and tickling once more. He did turn in the doorway to see Gimli beginning to clean again with the tail end of his shirt. Wondering how long he could make that work, Legolas left him to it, sniffling all the way back to Gimli’s chambers.