Title: Discovering is Disheartening

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Lord of the Rings

Rating: PG

Pairing: Legolas/Gimli

Disclaimer: LotR was J.R.R.Tolkien's brain child and New Line Cinema owns the movie rights. I don't own a bit, none of it's mine, I don't get any money of any kind from this, and it's all for harmless fun and entertainment.

Summary: Sequel to 'Understanding is the First Step' where Gimli finally discovers what Legolas is actually allergic to, but finds out the hard way

Notes: The last sentence was an intentional joke referring to the number of times Leg does that in the movies

Feedback: If you have something to say, say it because I'd love to hear it :-)




Discovering is Disheartening


            They walked side-by-side, bow and arrows on one's back, two axes on the other's. It would not be uncommon to see them walking hand in hand, one's skin soft and flawless, the other's rough and worn. But they were on a mission now, and there was no time for their mind to stray to such pleasures. The taller stopped cold in his tracks, ears twitching as they picked up a sound. "They are just over this hill," he whispered. "A whole band of them." Legolas tightened his grip on Gimli's hand in anticipation. "Headed right this way."


            Gimli grinned, pulling out an axe. "Let them come. We will be ready!"


            "We will be *killed*. There are hundreds by the sound of it. And we're only supposed to be scouting. Aragorn will have our heads if the orcs do not take them first!" He grabbed the end of Gimli's axe and forced it down. "We need to take cover until they pass us by."


            There was an angry glimmer in the dwarf's eyes. "Dwarves do not hide! They stand and fi-arghh!" Legolas had grabbed him by the back of his collar and pulled him off the path.


            There was not much around to hide them. There were a number of trees, but though the dwarf could be persuaded to hide, he could not be persuaded to climb. There were a number of rolls and dips in the grass to the sides of the path, but nothing that seemed deep enough for them to hide in, and there was not enough time to make them deeper. The heavy footfalls were growing louder, with the chink of armor added to the sound. Gimli froze as now he heard them, too. Then he turned and grabbed Legolas by the hand. "Over here. In the bushes." He pulled.


            Legolas started to follow, but suddenly noticed what bushes the dwarf meant. "Oh no... Gim... I cannot--"


            "There is no place else!" Gimli said, pleading. He pulled them over to a small grove of bushes.


            "But..." Legolas closed his eyes, realizing that there really was nowhere else, and now he did not have the time to climb up a tree far enough to be hidden by the leaves. But at the same time, he knew what would come from hiding in these particular bushes. He had done it several times before. Resigning himself to the result, if only to keep Gimli safe, he crawled into the bushes.


            No sooner were they hidden when the orcs stormed by. They walked quickly, just short of running, seeming to sense their destination. Legolas began to count the seconds as well as the width of the group so as to determine how many there were in all. But his counting slowed as the effects of the bush took their toll. And although it was not unexpected, Legolas was surprised at how quickly he felt them. His eyes watered, his nose began to run, and little itches sprung up on his face and hands. He groaned, sniffling, and pinched his nose tightly. Gimli noticed the change in Legolas and laid a concerned hand on the elf's upper arm. Legolas shook it off roughly finding that the touch only made his arm start to prickle and itch. He turned away from Gimli and made no other reply.


            The orcs passed by at last, and they remained in the bushes a while longer to be sure they could not be heard. Legolas' nose tickled dreadfully by now, the urge to sneeze almost overwhelming. But he pinched his nose tightly and held his breath. He could not allow them to be caught because of something as trivial and pathetic as a sneeze.


            "I think that we are safe to go now," Gimli whispered. The sound of the group of orcs died away, and Legolas nodded, crawling out from beneath the bushes, hand still at his nose. "What would you say, almost four hundred?" Gimli asked and rubbed a crick out of his neck.


            Legolas straightened and leaned against a tree, deeply wishing he had at least tried to climb it before resorting to the bushes. With his free hand, he scratched the back of his hand that now cupped his nose. He sniffed once, a strong, wet sniff, and put all his weight against the tree. "IHkshhh! ihchfff! ichifff! ehchhh! ihshhhhh!" The first sneeze bent him in half, and he stayed there, shaking with the rest of the sneezes. "ikshhh! ihtchhh! cheshhhh!"


            Gimli looked up again in concern. "Legolas?"


            But the urge to sneeze had been so powerful, and the tickle had not been cleared from his nose from the first bit of sneezes. "ihtchhh! ihtch! ihshhhh!" Legolas tilted his head, resting it against the tree as well in order to catch his breath.


            "What is wrong?" asked Gimli, laying a hand on Legolas' arm again. "You cannot suddenly be sick! You are an elf..."


            Legolas rolled his eyes, wishing that Gimli could have figured it out on his own. He was in no condition to answer, but tried his best. "ihhtchhh! It is... ehchuhh! Ikchushhh! It is... it... an... ihchuhhh! Ikchuhh!" He tried hard to finish, but the sneezing was too much. "ikshhh! itshhh! Allergy!" he managed to just get out between sneezes. "iktchh! ehchhh!"


            Making the connection, Gimli looked startled, and immediately gazed up to the sky. "Crebain? Here?" He pulled Legolas over to the other side of the tree, only half hiding behind it as he peered out to look at the sky. "I do not see them! Or perhaps there are other birds? Are you allergic to all birds?"


            Legolas shook his head weakly, still unable to answer. "ihchuff! Ihshfff!"


            "Just crebain, then?" Gimli tried, retreating behind the tree so the crow-like birds would not be able to see him. The tree was skinny, but birds at a distance could be fooled more easily than orcs.


            But Legolas shook his head again. "ihhhtchhhh! Ihtshhhh!"


            Gimli tried to look at things logically, which was very difficult to do with an elf a foot away from you, sneezing his beautiful blonde head off. "Not the crebain... and not birds?" Legolas managed a nod. "Then what is making you sneeze like this, my love?"


            With a meek smile at the name, Legolas pointed with his free hand to the bushes they had been hiding in. "ehshufff! ihshff!"


            At first, Gimli did not understand. He stared, looking hard at the spot, expecting something to appear to him and explain. Then, slowly, he looked from the elf to the bush and back again. "Do not tell me," he growled so angrily that Legolas took a step back. He knew better than to get in Gimli's way when the dwarf was angry. "He lied to me." Suddenly relieved that the object of his anger was Aragorn, not himself, Legolas nodded. Gimli clenched his fists and pulled out an axe. Turning on his heels, he started marching back the way they had come. "I. Am. Going. To. Kill. That. Man!" he roared as he walked.


            With a laugh, and thankful for long legs with which he could take one step for every three of Gimli's, he caught up with the dwarf. He rested his hand on Gimli's shoulder and slowed him to a stop. "Gimli... don't... ehhShhh! ihhhShhh! ihhtchhh! Sniff!  Don't be angry with him. He was... heh-ihhShhhh! ihchushh!" Legolas dragged a sleeve beneath his nose. "He-was-only-trying-to-spare-me-embarrassment," he unloaded quickly, cupping his hand over his mouth and nose quickly. "ehhhIhshh! Ihhtshhh! ehtChihh!" In an attempt at making them stop, he pressed his hand harder against his face. "iihhChufff! ihhShffff! ehhShffff! ihKshfff! ihshffff!" Winded, he closed his eyes, trying to find his balance.


            And he did find it, against Gimli. "Whoa now, Laddie!" The dwarf grabbed him, holding him steady, and quickly guided him down. Legolas crossed his legs, feeling much steadier this close to the ground. Gimli wrapped an arm around Legolas' back and pulled him close, the elf's head resting on the dwarf's shoulder. "Better?" Gimli asked softly.


            Legolas shrugged and immediately began to scratch his cheek where it brushed against Gimli's rough clothes. The little bit of scratching only seemed to make the itches worse, and he raked his fingers against his chin and neck, hand diving beneath his collar to scratch his shoulder and chest. Meanwhile he rubbed his cheek and chin against Gimli's scratchy shoulder. It looked as though he were nuzzling but the opportunity to get rid of the itch was just too good to pass up.


            Gimli chuckled and bent his head, allowing Legolas easier access. "Embarrassment?" he asked, wanting Legolas to continue the explanation.


            "Yes," Legolas said, continuing to scratch madly. "Out of all the places I could have chosen to... h-hide... ihhChufff! ihhShhh! ehhchfff! Sniff! I chose that bush and I knew I was aleh-heh... aler... hehIHHChff! ihhSCHHfff!" he sneezed violently, shaking even though Gimli still had a tight arm around him. "Allergic to it," Legolas finished in a dejected sort of whisper.


            "And now..." Gimli trailed off, his large, dark eyes going wide again. "This is all my fault!" he exclaimed, pulling away from Legolas who was shaking his head, trying to protest through terrible sniffles. "I pulled you into that bush! You could have hidden in the tree and I made you... oh Legolas..." he hung his bushy brown head miserably. 


            "You didn't... ihhchufff!  Didn't know. Hah-KEHshhfff! Sniff! Not... ehkshfff!  Not you fah... fault-ihhkshfff!" He managed, one hand cupped at his face, the other still scratching anywhere he could reach for everywhere itched.


            Gimli dug out a handkerchief, small, gray and wrinkled, and handed it over, feeling mildly ashamed at having nothing better to offer. "It *is* my fault." He pulled away, standing up with a grunt. Then walked a few paces away, swearing rather profusely in Dwarvish.


            "ihhKushhhhh!" Legolas crawled after him on the ground, not wanting to risk standing up again. "Not!" he protested honestly, between rather vicious sneezes. "ehhhKetschhhhh!" He reached up for the dwarf, but Gimli was moving too fast and he fell forward, missing him by so little that the fabric of the dwarf's cloak just touched his fingertips. "hehKshhhh!" He sneezed again, rubbing nose, then eyes with the handkerchief. "Gimli!" he called out, trying to make the disgruntled dwarf stop. "Please! ihkshhh! ehhKetchhhh! Gim, I can't ehhKshhhh!" This was getting him nowhere. He blew furiously into the handkerchief to relieve the tickle in his nose long enough to string enough words together. "I need you!"


            The dwarf stopped in his tracks, back to Legolas. Then, slowly he turned. "But I'm responsible for this." He had a clearly pained look on his face as he looked down at Legolas, teary red-rimmed eyes, twitching nose, and a light red rash covering his face, neck and hands. "Let me go get Aragorn? He is better at this then I am, obviously."


            Legolas shook his head, nose still buried in Gimli's handkerchief. "That might be, but I still want you." He held out a hand as though to pull Gimli closer though the dwarf was quite a few paces ahead.


            With a bit of a whimper, or as close as a dwarf got to one, he raced back to Legolas. He slid onto the ground, resting with his head in Legolas' lap. "I am so sorry," he repeated, a heavy hand on one of Legolas' thighs. Legolas rested his hand on Gimli's head, digging his fingers into the familiar thick hair for comfort. "If only I had known..." Gimli sniffed hard, holding back the rest of his emotions as he sat back up. "What can I do for you?" Legolas could tell that Gimli was thinking that Aragorn would already know what to do. But if Gimli and Legolas were to be together, the dwarf would need to learn what to do just as Aragorn once had.


            "Scratch my shoulders?" Legolas begged, wiggling them in hopes that parts of his shirt would scratch them in the process. Gimli reached over and unbuttoned the elf's shirt, sliding his hand up the strong chest to his shoulders. He scratched carefully, just enough to stop an itch, not enough to do too much damage. Legolas' shoulders sagged with relief and he let out a deep sigh at the sensation. Gimli leaned closer, hands moving down his back, across his shoulders, against his neck, and down his chest.


            "I seem to recall something you took for this?" Gimli asked, continuing to scratch. He pulled off his cloak and lay Legolas down on the ground upon it so he had better access to the back and shoulders.


            Legolas practically purred as the scratches came against the back of his neck. "Lotion," Legolas said. "No idea where we might... find-the-hehKetchhhh!" The sneeze's swiftness took him by surprise but he raised the handkerchief in time for its brethren. "ihhTchffff! ehhChefff! ihhChfff!"


            "What about the sneezing?" Gimli then asked, sweeping the elf's blonde hair out of his face from behind.


            Legolas' face, screwed up and squinting showed he was clearly expecting another sneeze, but he tried to answer anyway. "It'll... ihhh...heh...ihh..." he froze, expecting the sneeze in full force but finding nothing. Legolas sniffed wetly with annoyance and scrubbed at his nose. "It'll go away in time," he explained. "Oh... you have it... right there..." he muttered, lowering his head as Gimli's scratches struck the very spot on his back he wanted scratched.


            The scratchings and rubbings were so nice that Legolas drifted off for a quick nap which did his itchy eyes a lot of good and calmed his nose for a little while at least. Gimli continued to scratch, sitting atop the elf's rear for a better position.             When he woke, Legolas looked back with a grin. "I can think of... ihhhChiffff! ehChfff! Something better for you to do there."


            Gimli grinned back, glad to see Legolas feeling well enough for such playfulness. He slapped Legolas' rump. "Naughty elf." Legolas only grinned more and wiggled his rump to shake Gimli off it. "Do you want to try and stand up?" he asked with terrible timing.


            Legolas had already taken the handkerchief back up, holding it just a bit in front of his face as he gasped with the need to sneeze. The tickle built slowly, drawing out his suffering. "ihhKshhhh! ehChhhh!" he sneezed finally, panting from the effort and looking dizzy as well.


            With a sigh, Gimli brought Legolas against him again in a hug. The elf leaned against him, sniffling, sneezing, regaining his balance and breath. It did not take as long as he thought it would, and the itches weren't half as bad, even as he pulled his shirt on again.


            It was quite some time before Gimli permitted Legolas to rise. They did need to get back to Aragorn eventually. But this time as they walked back, Legolas had a hand on Gimli's shoulder to support himself, and Gimli carried Legolas' bow, quiver, and cloak. "And to think," Gimli muttered, looking up at Legolas with a smile. "All this time I thought you and your nose were the perfect crebain warning system." Legolas laughed and gave his shoulder a tight squeeze.