Title: Through the Night

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Lord of the Rings (post RotK)

Rating: PG

Pairing: Legolas/Gimli, past Legolas/Aragorn implied

Disclaimer: Ha! I'm just a poor fanfic writer. I own none of these characters and make no money from this.

Summary: Legolas and Gimli tend to Aragorn one night when he's sick.

Notes: written for weekly hatching #18- Write a story in one hour using 3 of the following words: sore, scar, sword, snow, silence, sleeping, snuffle



Through the Night


     Sliding an elbow out, Aragorn propped himself up a little in his bedroll. Handkerchief clamped to his face, he waited patiently for a sneeze he felt coming on. He breathed heavily into it as his nose and eyebrows twitched with the urge. When it struck, he snapped forward. "Har-shooo! HuhShooo!" Then he groaned as he sat back up.


     His eyes were slow to open again, and when they did they saw Legolas looking down at him. The elf prince's face rarely showed strong emotions, but Aragorn could read a bit of sympathy and a bit of disapproval there nonetheless. "The sun has long since gone to rest. I believe it is time you did likewise." Aragorn coughed into his handkerchief, then balled it up in his palm with a nod. He felt every bit as tired as he looked. "Good. I shall leave you to it, then--"


     "No," Aragorn pleaded softly, sounding very much unlike himself. "I would very much like it if you remained. I would feel more comfortable knowing a friend was here."


     Legolas understood the desire rather completely. Their party was small, only a few dozen men in total, and those on night watch had been personally selected by Aragorn. But that did not mean the defenses would be flawless. In his ill and weakened state, the king was quite the vulnerable target. Wanting Aragorn to sleep for his health, and wanting Aragorn to feel safe enough to do so, Legolas nodded his promise to remain.


     Aragorn smiled briefly in appreciation, then raised his handkerchief again. He shook lightly, and Legolas pulled the blanket up a little to cover the man's arm and shoulder. "hehhhhh... hah-Arh-Shooo! hehhShooo!" He froze in place, expecting a third. His nose was buried deep in the handkerchief, his eyes were shut tightly, and his breathing was unsteady and ragged.


     Sitting on a box beside Aragorn's low cot, Legolas reached down and pulled the man's long, brown hair back from where it had fallen in front of his face. Legolas' touch was so soft and gentle, the man could hardly feel it at all. Aragorn stayed in place, sounding as though the sneeze would come easily at any second.


     "With most of the whiskey gone, some mead was all I could find," Gimli called, slipping into the tent between the flaps. Where Legolas and Aragorn both had to bend over to get through the door, Gimli just cleared it and was able to keep tight hold of the mug as he breezed in, shaking snow from his shoulders. "But it is warm and thick and probably a good deal better for you in the long run."


     Still feeling rather sneezy, Aragorn lifted his head and looked up at the newly-arrived Gimli. In a split second, the sneeze seized him, and he was tossed forward again with it. "ARshoooo!"


     Gimli frowned at the display, both from the sound and the freeness of the sneeze. But then he broke into a smile, though neither could be seen behind his thick beard and instead showed only in his eyes. "Well, that is a greeting I've not had before. And you're welcome for the drink." He walked forward and handed the mug carefully to Aragorn.


     Aragorn sipped and smiled as the warmth of the honey wine spread through his body. "Thank you."


     Gimli automatically sat down sideways on Legolas' lap, facing Aragorn. He wrapped an arm around the elf's thin middle, and Legolas wrapped an arm around the drawf's smaller but broader shoulders. "Aragorn has requested," Legolas said softly, his words and breaths tickling Gimli's ears. "That I stay here while he sleeps. If you wish to return to our tent for the night, I shall understand. However--"


     "I'll stay right here," he said decisively. "If that's all right with you, Laddie?" he asked of Aragorn.


     Nodding, and pausing his drinking to answer, "Certainly. I should feel far safer with both of my most trusted friends beside me." Another two swallows and the drink was gone. Gimli took the mug from him, and Legolas pulled the blanket up again as Aragorn's elbow slipped back down along with the rest of his body.


     Exhausted from a day's journeying and trying to keep up appearances in front of the other men, Aragorn closed his eyes at once. Within minutes, he was sleeping and a few minutes after that, the silence in the small tent was broken by his snoring.


     Gimli leaned his side against Legolas' chest and rested his head on the elf's shoulder. Legolas squeezed Gimli close with one arm, while reaching out and stroking Aragorn's cheek with his other hand. "You are certain you want to stay here through the night?" Legolas asked, resting his head upon Gimli's.


     The way the dwarf snuggled against his chest was all the answer Legolas needed. He kissed the top of Gimli's head and hugged him even closer. "Legolas?" Gimli asked after a few minutes. "What's that..." he coughed in slight embarrassment about his wording "What's that bulge in Aragorn's bedroll?"


     Months of traveling with Aragorn and Gimli had just now noticed this? This time Legolas could not hold back his emotions. Chuckling softly, "See for yourself."


     Gimli reached down and carefully pulled back the blanket a little. The hilt of a familiar sword gleamed back at him. Gimli had to work hard not to laugh loudly enough to wake Aragorn. He slept in his armor sometimes, and with an axe nearby. But to bring a weapon all the way into his bedroll was almost unthinkable. Not to mention dangerous. Legolas clapped a hand to Gimli's mouth to smother the sound of soft laughter, though he hugged Gimli affectionately for it just the same.


     Though the laughter was soft, Aragorn woke to it. He lifted his head, blinking his eyes blearily. In mere seconds his body tensed and he sneezed, shaking the whole cot in the process. "HERShhoo! HEHHH-Shahhhh! Arshuhhhh!" He felt around, not finding the handkerchief. Gimli pulled out one of his own and handed it over at once. Aragorn rubbed at his nose, looking up at the both of them. "Something the matter...?"


     "Everything's all right," Legolas soothed, holding back laughter. Searching for an excuse, he pulled off his cloak and draped it over Aragorn, tucking on the side he could reach. "You looked cold. I simply thought you might like this."


     Aragorn nodded and closed his eyes, weighted down under the warmth. "So long as you do not need it..." He yielded to a strong yawn and shivered.


     "I am fine without it." Though snowing outside, inside the tent it was not the least bit cold. And, after all, Legolas had his Gimli to keep him warm should the cold somehow chill his elven bones. He hugged Gimli again, then bent and brushed fingers over Aragorn's forehead. "Go to sleep, my friend. We will wake you when it is morning."


     Aragorn seemed to fall asleep quietly under their watch. Picking up where they'd been before the interruption, Gimli chuckled and shook his head. "I know I have seldom seen him without it... but do you mean to say he sleeps with his sword every night?" Legolas nodded. "Even when he has... well..."


     "A bed partner?" Legolas guessed tactfully. He reached down and pulled the handkerchief from Aragorn's fingers. The man's hand had gone slack beside him and Legolas did not want another handkerchief misplaced when he woke. It was folded neatly and placed beside Aragorn's head where there might have been a pillow had it been an actual bed.


     "Mmm," Gimli confirmed, leaning against Legolas again with a nod.


     "That he does," Legolas replied, knowing from experience. "Presents a bit of a problem at times, let me tell you. The number of injuries I received in my sleep simply by rolling the wrong way..."


     Gimli looked up at Legolas, grinning. "So you would suggest I leave my axe out of our bed?"


     Grinning back, "My love, there is no room for it. Let it sleep with my bow when I sleep with my dwarf." Legolas welcomed a tender kiss in reward for his comment.


     The sound of a moist cough caught their ears. They broke the kiss off to look over at Aragorn. The man spoke slowly and drowsily, "You two aren't going to be at that all night... are you?" He tensed up, trying to get to the handkerchief but pushing it onto the ground by mistake. "Ahshooo! Harshooo!" Gimli hopped down and retrieved the handkerchief.


     "If we are, you should not be awake to see it," Legolas told him. "Sun-up is in a short while. And you were supposed to be asleep already."


     Aragorn nodded. "All right. I get the message." He yawned widely. "Goodnight." He sniffled and closed his eyes obediently, leaving Legolas and Gimli to wonder if he would remember all they had said the next morning. They waited to be sure Aragorn was asleep with snorts and snores and all, before Gimli settled back down on Legolas' lap for the night and Legolas wrapped his arms again around the dwarf.