Title: Cat-like

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Lord of the Rings

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: Legolas/Gimli

Disclaimer: The elf and dwarf featured in this story are not my property. I receive nothing for this story and mean no harm, even to the aforementioned elf and dwarf, whatever ills they might face within this story. This is only for fun, even if the elf and dwarf formerly mentioned aren't having the most fun. The cat, however, is mine- all mine.

Summary: Legolas and Gimli have a cat… but they disagree a bit about the role of the cat in their lives.

Notes: I had writer's block. I asked for suggestions and Lady Korana volunteered this idea. I ran with it and this was the result. I feel a little less stuck, though not 100% yet. I enjoyed this, though.

Feedback: I'd love some.

 

Cat-like

 

                Legolas heard neither the sharp snap nor the howl that followed it. What he did hear, and what made him look up from the book he was reading, was the front door slamming. As it was not a particularly interesting book, he did not think twice before putting it down.

 

                Gimli stood just inside their house, cradling one hand in the other. Legolas was there in a flash, worried beyond measure and fearing the worst sort of accident imaginable; Gimli had never been careless in his work down in his shop, but there was always a first time. Gimli shrugged off Legolas' soft touch of concern and grunted. He popped his thumb into his mouth and glared at Legolas over it.

 

                It took Legolas an instant to understand, then he laughed out loud. Gimli only glared harder. “Do not make light. This is the fifth time I have hurt myself on those mouse-catchers. The springs are defective.”

 

                Legolas was entirely sure the traps were in proper working order, but would not say so directly. Instead, he rubbed his finger under his nose, which was tickling from a fresh set of sniffles. “Next time, I will set the traps for you.”

 

                Gimli's glare was no less intense, but he added a huff and a scowl to the mix. “I do not need an elf to do simple work for me,” he spat.

 

                It was Legolas' turn to give a cold look. “The next time you even come close to insulting my race again, I will see to it that another part of your body meets a mouse trap, and I do not mean your other thumb. Sniff! Do you understand me?”

 

                Gimli nodded, continuing to suck his thumb. “This should not be a problem, you know.”

 

                Like Gimli's mishaps with the traps, Legolas had heard this before, as well. He knew what was coming and headed it off at the pass. “Sniffle! Sniffle! Faralavan is a wonderful companion-”

 

                “Yet she is no mouser!” Gimli insisted, his words obstructed by the thumb still in his mouth.

 

                This was true enough, though it was hardly unexpected. In fact, the reason they had purchased her, specifically, is because no one else had wanted her. She was a gray, long-haired ball of fluff. She had gorgeous blue eyes that rivaled Legolas' and a purr that could put Gimli's snores to shame. But she had been bred in a household, not a barn, and was far more comfortable eating from a bowl in the kitchen than catching her dinner outside.

 

                “Whatever you may say, I know you like her,” Legolas said. He had seen brief moments of adoration, recognizing the look in Gimli's face as one he usually reserved for Legolas or the Glittering Caves.

 

                “Hrmph,” Gimli said gruffly, shaking his head.

 

                 “Shhh,” Legolas hushed, rubbing his nose again. “You will hurt her feelings.”

 

                “You baby her. That cat has a life of luxury here.” She had her own pillow by the hearth to sleep upon, and she had her meals on a special plate when Legolas and Gimli dined. She was cared for and played with whenever she liked, and had free reign over most of the house, from which she could come and go as the mood struck her. “She is lucky that her feelings will be the only things hurt.” He laughed and took a step back at precisely the wrong time.

 

                As though she understood she was being talked about, Faralavan had made her appearance and wound up with her tail beneath Gimli's boot. Gimli shouted out in surprise, stumbled, and fell against the wall. The cat, however, yowled, hissed, and made a run for it. She hid under the couch where Legolas had been reading, and the elf went after her. Legolas crouched down, hand on the couch cushions and head ducking down. “Fara, are you all right?”

 

                “Mmrph!” Gimli countered, thumb in mouth, eyes wide at seeing Legolas more concerned with the cat than with him.

 

                Though it was dark beneath the couch, Legolas could see the gleam of eyes and enough movement to tell that she was washing herself. Satisfied this meant she was not too terribly upset, he smiled and sat up. Then he snapped back down again. “heeeIHTchhhhh!

 

                Gimli chuckled, striding over, his injured thumb forgotten now.  “Do we need to dust more thoroughly?” he asked with amusement.

 

                Legolas shook his head. His face was stuck between the relief of one sneeze and the onset of another. He lifted his hand to his nose this time. “Ihgggshhhhhh! Ah…” He breathed out and sniffled. “Sniff. Sniffsniff!

 

                Settling down on the couch beside where Legolas knelt on the floor, Gimli gently petted Legolas' head. “My sweet, sniffly elf…”

 

                “I am tough,” said Legolas. Sniffles were the very least of what he had been through thus far in life. Though it was still more than most elves were used to, which meant he was more than grateful for Gimli's sympathy and comfort.

 

                The dwarf's offers were not half bad, either. “May I help you to bed?”

 

                Legolas pressed his cheek to Gimli's knee. He sniffled again, then looked up. “I wish you would. That is, if you are not in too much pain.”

 

                Gimli waved the possibility away. “I am tough.” He picked up the brown blanket Legolas had been curled in, and he went down onto one knee. Then he scooped the elf up into his arms and carried him down the hall to their bedroom.

 

                “Wait,” Legolas said, gesturing and looking past Gimli as he was placed on the bed. “I left my book out th-”

 

                “You will not miss your book,” Gimli assured him. The dwarf's hands slid from Legolas' chest to Legolas' side, then he climbed up onto the bed and onto Legolas. Charmed and aroused, the elf smiled and settled back against the pillows, prepared to enjoy this.

 

*             *             *

 

                Legolas woke with a fit of coughs which would not stop until he'd rolled onto his side and blown his nose for minutes on end. He was no stranger to the sniffles, and certainly in no position to stay in bed just because of them, but he did linger among the comfy pillows and blankets a bit longer than he would have otherwise. Had Gimli been in bed beside him, Legolas surely would have rolled back over, snuggled up against the dwarf, and gone back to sleep. However, he was alone with his handkerchief in bed. So he stretched himself out, taking up all of the bed and pawing at the sheets as the intensity struck him. Then he rolled his head from one side to the other and smiled.

 

                He got up, pulling his brown blanket around him like a cloak, but not bothering to dress any further. On warm spring and summer days, he was contented to walk around their home without clothing. On this autumn day, however, he needed at least a blanket. A blanket and a cup of tea.

 

                Legolas hovered in the kitchen as he watched the kettle, willing the water to boil more quickly. A tickle on his leg made him look down in time to watch the cat, its back arched, rub against him. “Hello there, Fara,” he said, startled at the thick congestion in his voice. He cleared his throat several times and blew his nose again. The cat marked him again, and it was not difficult for Legolas to read those signs. “All right,” he said, reaching down and patting her head between the fuzzy gray ears.

 

                Then he took the kettle away from the flame and headed down the stairs. He shivered violently as he descended, bare feet feeling first the wooden steps and then the steps carved out of cold stone. By the time he finally reached the bottom, his teeth were chattering and he was hugging the blanket so tightly around himself that his knuckles were white.

 

                Legolas stopped just a few steps later and turned his head, breathing heavily into his shoulder. “ehh-hehhh-IhTchhhh! ih-Yihchhh!” As he sniffled wetly, scrubbing his nose into his shoulder and upper arm, he heard footsteps.

 

                “What are you doing down here?” Gimli asked. “You will catch a chill.”

 

                Fairly certain he already had one of those, he moved close against Gimli's body for warmth. The dwarf was sweaty and hotter than usual, and as he had a hammer in his hand, Legolas did not need to guess why. “I needed some milk… for my tea.”

 

                Gimli looked up at his face. “You do not take milk in your tea.”

 

                “I do todah… today… ihhh-Kehtchehh! erKihshh! Sniffffff!” Legolas had left the handkerchiefs upstairs, much to his dismay. He pressed the back of his hand to his wet nose, still gripping his blanket as best he could. “Sniff! Sniff! Snifff!” He smiled, however, as he saw Gimli dip into a pocket and pull a handkerchief out. He could always count on Gimli. “Thank you.” He blew his nose as Gimli held the blanket in place.

 

                Then Gimli disappeared to get a small cup of milk. They were high enough up in the mountains to count on ice and snow being readily available any day of the year, and if they kept it down in the cellar below Gimli's work area, anything could stay cold for as long as they needed it to. This milk was only a few days old, but was as fresh as ever. Legolas might have smelled it to verify that fact, but his sniffles got in the way. “Thank you,” the elf repeated.

 

                “Now go upstairs, get under the covers with your tea, and get warm. I am making great progress here, but I will be back up well before dinner.” Gimli hugged Legolas, then spun him around and forced him up the stairs. Once Legolas had begun walking, it was easy to stay on that course. He was exceedingly glad when he was back in front of the fire and had the teakettle heating up again.

 

                He had a tickly nose again, as well. It twitched as he picked up his handkerchief. He breathed a sigh of relief as he snuffled into the cloth. “iihhh… hihhhh…” His nose was extra runny from the cold of the lower level of the house and he rubbed it hard, first massaging his nostrils then rubbing the hanky back and forth against the tip. That seemed to do away with the intense, sneeze-inducing tickles well enough.

 

                He also had the cat curling around his ankles in a figure eight. Faralavan stopped in front of him, then tried climbing up him, sinking her claws into the blanket. “Mew?”

 

                “All right. Sniff! Sniff! All right, I didn't forget you. Sniff! How could I?” He rubbed his hands together in front of the fire, then bent down and placed the cup on the floor. It was wide at the mouth, almost as though Gimli knew it was intended for the cat and not his tea.

 

                And what lovely tea it was. The kettle whistled moments later and he poured the water in over the strong tealeaves sitting in a strainer. He considered for a moment, then shook a few of the leaves into the cup. With his nose all stuffy and runny, he could make it extra strong without offending his delicate senses.

 

                Holding the mug in both hands, he carried it from the kitchen back to the bedroom. Gimli's order about getting under the covers sounded beyond delightful. It wasn't until he was stretched out in bed, about to get comfy, when he realized that his book was still out in the sitting room. Since he could not possibly do without his book, he immediately got back up for it, leaving the tea and blanket behind.

 

                He tiptoed naked through the house, quick and nimble.  He kept one hand on his nose and the other one snatched up the book. It took Legolas twice the time to make it back to bed. “Sniff! Sniiiffff! Ehh-HIHTchhh! ihhKshh! Sniff! iihhhhkk… ihhKtchhh! Ohhh…” Legolas fell upon the bed, cold and exhausted, rubbing his nose with two fingers. “These sniffles…” He wrapped himself up in the blankets, sinking into the feather mattress and snuggling up to his pillows. Then he pulled his tea and his book close.

 

                His eyes felt tired, but luckily they could still focus on the bound pages of parchment. Otherwise, he would have had an awful time waiting for Gimli. No matter how tired and sick he became, Legolas could never manage to fall asleep without Gimli next to him, touching him, holding him. Legolas had never been much of a sleeper, though most elves required so little sleep that it wasn't noticeable until illness struck. After years of living with Gimli, he had grown so used to the sound of the dwarf's snores, he could not imagine trying to sleep while surrounded in complete silence. Then there was the fact that with all he'd been through, he was loathe to sleep without a lookout or at least another set of ears. The only time he could manage to achieve a good level of comfort was with the dwarf at his side.

 

                “Mew.”

 

                 Legolas was mid-way through his tea when he heard the meow and felt the bed shake. Unless Gimli had shrunk and had learned to do an incredible imitation of a cat, he knew who it was. “Fara, you are not allowed up on the bed, and you know it.”

 

                Faralavan might have known it, but she didn't seem to care one bit. She pranced softly around the bed on padded feet, circling once, twice, pausing each time as she walked over either Legolas' lap or his legs. Her third time around, she stopped on his lap and looked up at him. “Mew.” The cat sounded decisive. She stretched her front legs out, up Legolas' chest.

 

                Legolas thought about setting his tea aside, marking his place in the book, and reaching down for her. She didn't like being picked up, so if he even got close to that she'd get the message and jump off the bed. But as he watched her getting settled, he didn't have the heart to push her away. Faralavan flexed her large paws and sunk her claws deep into the blankets over Legolas' chest. She began kneading instinctively and inched up a little. Then she closed her eyes and nuzzled into his chest. A few seconds later, he felt her little nose brush against his nipple and he realized she was trying to nurse. She'd done this before, trying to suckle. Faralavan had clearly been taken away from her mother at far too early an age, probably one reason she'd never really learned to hunt properly. Now he absolutely could not push her away.

 

                Instead, he set his book aside, forgetting to mark the page, though it was no great loss. He patted her head between the ears. She nuzzled closer, sucking at the blanket. It was really kind of spooky how she knew where to try to nurse, but also fairly cute. What remained to be seen, however, was if she would find his sneezes cute. His nose had felt ticklish for the last few minutes, and now it was building unavoidably. He rubbed a corner of the hanky back and forth under his nose, then froze in place. “ihhh-hihhh-hih-“ He paused briefly, then felt the sneeze come. “HIH-Chihhh! hihShihhh! Snfff!” He felt the cat move halfway through and, cautiously, he opened his eyes.

 

                Strangely, Faralavan had not jumped down off the bed. Instead, she had found a nice spot on the bed beside him. She turned around in a circle, then lay down with one paw stretched out over and her head on his thigh like a pillow. She curled up against him and seemed to have no intention of jumping off the bed. In fact, the moment his hand touched her again, she purred.

 

                He gave her a smile, and then a warning. “Sniff! I feel another coming on… ihhh… going to… ehhh-ihhh…” He cupped the handkerchief to his nose and mouth as securely as he could. “ihhh-HIHChhhhh! hihChuhh!” Legolas was further surprised to find Faralavan right as he had left her. Surprised, and quite impressed. “Sniff! You're a dice kitty,” he said. “Very sweet add loyal. SNIFF!” Legolas sniffed harder than usual. “You rebide be of subode.”

 

                Legolas stroked the cat's head gently, repeatedly. As his long fingers touched the spot between the cat's thin gray ears, her eyes closed as though squinting and her ears lay back. But the ears sprang up again as his hand moved past them, but her eyes remained closed for a few seconds longer. “Sleeby, are you? Sniffsniff! Lucky.” He yawned powerfully in envy. The more he petted her, the more trouble she had opening her gorgeous teal eyes again. He watched her intently, staring at her eyes and feeling his own eyes close in time.

 

                In fact, his hand was becoming just as heavy as his eyelids. Through squinting eyes, he watched Faralavan's eyes close. With another smile and a sniffle, he opened them back up a little as he finished a stroke and saw her eyes open as well. The more she watched him, the sleepier he felt. After a few minutes, her ears grew acclimated to his touch and stayed put as he stroked, but his own ears twitched a little. Though he felt another sneeze coming on, it seemed impossible to take his hand off the cat to go to his hanky. The urge to sneeze was strong, but his yearning for sleep was stronger. Before he could stop himself, he drifted off to sleep.

 

                It lasted seconds only, his head bobbing down then snapping back up again as soon as his chin met his chest. He gasped in surprise and rubbed his nose. By all logic, he should not be able to fall asleep now; Gimli was not there. What he should be doing was finishing his tea and finishing his book. Although, he was warm and comfortable, with the cat halfway on his lap. The cat did not snore, but her purring filled the silence in a soothing sort of way. It was also true that he was not alone now.

 

                Legolas blinked sleepily and managed to stretch his arm out far enough to set the cup on the bedside table. “Fara,” he muttered, putting a hand on the cat but feeling too tired even to pet. “I do love you, but you bust go… you caddot…” With that, Legolas closed his eyes yet again, and this time they remained closed.

 

*             *             *

 

                Much later, Legolas woke slowly, completely unaware of how long he had been asleep. He understood instantly that Faralavan was still with him on the bed. In fact, she had stretched out across his lap now, with more of her touching him than was touching the bed. He summoned his energy to whisper. “Fara, you really should dot be up here od the bed.” Sounding terribly stuffy, he made a move to locate a clean hanky to sniffle into, and a sight caught his eye.

 

                The dwarf was not still downstairs at work, but standing in the doorway to their bedroom… with his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes trained on the feline.

 

                Legolas scrambled to explain. “Wait, Gibli. Sniff! Snuff! It is edtirely by fault. By sdiffles were worsedig add I was feelig boorly. She jubped ub add I beadt to direct her off, sniff-sniff, but thed she crawled odto be and was so warb. She started burrig add I could not resist. I ab sorry. Do dot blabe her for by bistake-”

 

                “Hush, you.” Gimli walked over to the bed and climbed up onto it. The cat looked wary, but remained where she was. Gimli gave Faralavan a pet. “If she can make my elf fall asleep without me when he is ill, any skills that she might lack are of no concern to me.”

 

                Legolas looked into the dwarf's eyes, almost surprised to see that Gimli meant his words whole-heartedly. In fact, that fondness for the feline he had shown before in small amounts seemed to be bubbling to the surface now, ready to overflow. Legolas knew Gimli would regret it later, if it was allowed to come out, so he swiftly changed the subject. “Sniff! Sniff! What is the hour?”

 

                “It is late in the afternoon.”

 

                Legolas suspected as much, as the light outside the window felt fuzzy before the onset of sunset. As he began to think about dinner, he felt the familiar, sniffly, little tickle return to his nose. He held his handkerchief up, preparing while he willed it away. “ehyeh-hehhhhh-hihhhhshhh!” Faralavan stirred as the elf's whole body shook from the force of the sneeze. She almost glared at him, then she looked around, as if sizing up her situation.

 

                Faralavan decided to stand up. She got to her feet then arched her back with a stretch. The pressure of those four feet on his chest completely took Legolas' breath away. Just as he was about to swat at her, she stepped off him. Instead of getting off the bed, and perhaps just because she knew Gimli did not want her to, she turned in a circle and nestled down between the two of them. Legolas felt a rush of panic seize him, but Gimli kissed it away to show he was all right with the cat staying on the bed.

 

                “Should we not be snff getting ready for dinner?” Legolas whispered into Gimli's mouth, following a deliciously encouraging kiss.

 

                Gimli shook his head. “No, we should not. It is early still. There is time enough for a wee catnap.” He placed another kiss on Legolas' lips, this one softer and sweeter. “That is, if you are still tired.”

 

                Naturally, Legolas was. He slid down and rolled over onto his side, snuggling into the pillows and blankets properly. Gimli did the same. The cat was still between them and Legolas was the only one of the three underneath the blankets.

 

                As Gimli pulled Legolas close, Legolas grabbed a fistful of Gimli's tunic. Realizing it looked a bit desperate, Legolas released it. Then, realizing he really wanted to hold onto Gimli, Legolas grabbed it again.

 

                Legolas was as warm as could be, nuzzling his face into Gimli's chest. Gimli stroked Legolas' head, running his hand over the smooth blonde hair. Legolas practically purred, with a contented sigh and another nuzzle. Sniffles soon joined the mix, but Gimli stayed put and continued petting. Legolas' eyes closed and his ears twitched but he remained relaxed. “ihhh-hihh… hihhhTchhshhhh! Ktchuhh! Snfffff!

 

                After the sneeze, his eyes remained closed. In fact, he could not have opened them had he wanted to. With all the warmth and the petting… he was running out of reasons to stay awake. The only one he could still think of was his unfinished book. Luckily, it wasn't a very good book.