Title: Defrosting

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: LotR, post-RotK

Rating: PG

Pairing: Legolas/Gimli

Disclaimer: I'm just playing with a world and characters I have no rights to at all

Summary: Legolas becomes an elfsicle and Gimli does some warming




     Having excused himself from the remainder of the afternoon meeting, Legolas had fully intended to return to the room he shared in Minas Tirith with Gimli. The idea of sharing a room in and of itself had seemed so logical at first, considering how close they had become during their travels during the war. Days of sharing carnage and nights of sharing a bedroll had resulted in sharing thoughts and emotions of all sorts. Their passion had been born out of tension and the mutual need for support they would not admit to needing. But passion and love were two different things and they had yet to work out how it was going to work between them. But the elf and dwarf were nothing if not willing to try.


     As Legolas walked along, a familiar voice caught his ear. Cautiously he peered through the archway to see Gimli with a small group of dwarves working out their plans for rebuilding one of the walls.


     All of the supporting walls had been carefully rebuilt and reset, but there was more than enough work still left to do before the white city was restored to its former glory. The dwarves and men worked together on the structural elements, while the elves helped the men with all things living, from carting in new soil to planting trees. And, once in a while, even the dwarves and elves worked together on landscaping.


     Legolas leaned against a wall and watched Gimli moving about, instructing and listening to the other dwarves' suggestions. Legolas knew most of the dwarves by name, if not more personally, and if he stopped to say hello he could be there quite a while.


     It was not the prospect of conversing with a large group of dwarves that kept him from going forward, however, it was the same reason he'd left the meeting. It was the strong tickle filling the end of his nose. Turning his head into the wall, he also pinched his nose closed. This was not a move he would have made had he onlookers, and he had not resorted to it during the meeting. But now that he was alone, he felt no shame in helping himself a little bit. "ehhhhh..." He breathed out heavily. "ihhhh... IHH!" The sneeze came silently, with a strong bob of his head as the only indication that he'd even sneezed. He sighed and stepped away from the wall to regard the dwarves again.


     They lay between him and the way up to level five which contained his chamber and his bed. As he thought more about it, however, the less he felt like going to bed. Perhaps if he could have persuaded Gimli to leave his work and join him it would have been different, but there was no comfort to be had there now. So instead, he turned around to seek another environment.


     It was cold out, and the winds were whispering of snow. But Legolas had made up his mind and had his heart set on finding a fine tree. The trees the elves had planted in the newly remade city ranged from saplings to old friends who had been overrun in their places in a forest. The new trees were becoming one with the city as new walls were built and new peace came. The older trees were thankful for the soil in which to spread their roots and settled into their new spaces just as others were moving into the city. Nonetheless, Legolas knew the older trees also felt sad to leave their homes and friends to start anew. And that was something Legolas understood quite well.


     As he walked along the trees marking the foot of the city and the edge of the battlefield, Legolas ran his fingers against their trunks in light, comforting pets. He listened to the sound of the wind in their virtually bare branches. Just by passing by, he felt their songs and stories. And though none matched the age and experience of the city's white tree, so that they would not overshadow its glory, they were all noble and strong. They were all special, all beautiful. Their songs blended together as he walked against the wind, hair streaming behind him.


     Of course the wind also helped his nose to run, and it made him shiver in a very unelf-like manner. So when he came upon one evergreen tree which seemed particularly lonely, he sang back to it and climbed up into its branches to escape from the elements. Even if it did begin to snow he would not be caught in it, he reasoned, but he did not intend to stay so long as to be caught in a storm.


     He found a nice, thick branch to sit upon and leaned back against the trunk which narrowed slightly as it stretched yet higher towards the grey sky. He stretched his long legs out in front of him, one pairing with the branch and the other bent and dangling down freely. At home there, Legolas closed his eyes and found the balance needed to stay put even when another sneeze seized him.


     This time he did not bother to pinch his nose. His fingers caressed the tree's bark, fingertips gently grazing over the unique lines and curves of the rough wood. It sang comforts to him as he closed his eyes and relaxed in its company. "hihh... ihhhh...K--" But still he stifled his sneezes, even as they came quickly and in great number. His head bobbed up and down with each restrained sneeze, the loudest of which was a tiny squeak he could not hear over the tree's song.


     Legolas thanked the tree with a smile and a low hum, which was as much of a song as he could manage. Then he slipped into a deep meditation which felt much healthier than sleep to him. Even sick, elves did not require much sleep, but comforted nerves and serenity were always beneficial.




     Gimli frowned as the snow began building up. At first, the walkways and winding paths up through the city were warm with the footsteps of those traveling upon them. However as the snow increased, those venturing out in it decreased, and the stone walkways cooled considerably. The snow accumulated on everything it touched now. Gimli threw his head back, the hood of his cloak slipping off, and looked upwards. The sky was covered in grey storm clouds, blotting out the sun that would normally have kept things warm enough for them to work without worrying about their tools freezing. The clouds were hard to see clearly, however, as the snow which feel from them was thick and constant. But it seemed as though the snow was not going to let up any time soon and they would have no choice but to call it a day.


     "All right then," Gimli said, holding up a hand to motion for the dwarves to pause in their work. "Let us cover this up as best we can. It will not do for the mortar to get wet while it tries to set."  


     Gimli saw to it that the site was protected and cleaned up, with tarps thrown over the stonework and tools moved away from the walkways. He shivered as he looked up at the sky again, wondering if it was the cold that made it seem that the snow was falling faster now. He looked favorably upon getting back to his room and crawling into bed with Legolas.


     Of course, any reason to get into bed with Legolas was a good one. But he picked that particular action as he knew Legolas was probably already in bed. The elf had admitted to a sore throat the night before, and had woken with a bit of a head cold that morning. It had not been enough to prevent him from his duties for the day, and he had not allowed Gimli to be a fussy caregiver. But to Gimli, it seemed as though it would be a formidable cold nonetheless, made worse by the storm that had only now settled in.


     As he reached the rooms he shared with the elf, however, he noticed the bed was made and unoccupied. "Legolas?" he called, but received no reply. He looked about the rooms more extensively, finding it to look just as it had that morning when he had left to inspect the walls and Legolas had left for the meeting with the men and some of the other elves. The bed still held six layers of blankets and extra pillows were stacked at the head. Used handkerchiefs were scattered across one of the bedside tables, along with a glass and pitcher of water. "Legolas?" he checked the bathroom and living room a second time, just to be sure, then headed back into the snow. Surely the elf was all right, where ever he might be. But Gimli's anxiety would not be lessened until he knew where Legolas was for certain.


     The wind was terrible, and the snow growing thicker. Gimli walked slowly as he made his way head-first into it. Luckily, the streets through the city wound around so that half the time the storm was at his back and he made up for the slowness in those short distances. But he found the meeting room deserted when he arrived, with no Legolas in sight.


     "I do not need to ask for whom you search, My Friend Gimli." Gimli turned to see Aragorn standing in the doorway of the room. "Legolas left the meeting early. I'd assumed he headed to your rooms."


     Gimli shook his head. "I have already been there. He was feeling poorly this morning. Perhaps he went to see the healers. I shall look for him there."


     Aragorn chuckled lightly and shook his head once as well. "If he is ill, I think instead, you should look for him in the trees."


     "In the... trees?" Gimli looked stumped.


     "You shall see," Aragorn said, nodding. "Look in the trees."


     When Aragorn left, Gimli paused for a moment on the balls of his feet. The Houses of Healing lay in one direction and the trees in another. With a sigh and trust in his friend, he turned and headed down the city streets in search of trees. Plants had been added throughout the city, from a fresh new herb garden by the Houses to flowerboxes outside some windows. But apart form the great white Tree of Gondor, the only trees that were large enough for an elf had been planted in the ground in front of the city walls. Gimli tried looking over the walls towards them, but saw nothing but leaves if anything at all.


     When he reached the bottom, he looked harder, gazing up into the branches in confusion. Gimli simply could not fathom why Legolas would choose to work with the trees when he was ill instead of going to bed like any sensible being. The cold and the snow did not help him understand. As he looked up, the snow hit him in the face and stung his cheeks. Though he had been out in the weather for a while, his breath still came out in white puffs as though he were smoking. But through the snowflakes he watched the branches of the trees he walked past until he caught a glimpse of something yellow.


     Gimli squinted and looked harder until he realized it was Legolas stretched out upon a branch. The elf was asleep and unmoving, even as Gimli called out to him. Then Gimli's gaze looked past the tree for a moment and fell upon the top of the wall far above his head to see a familiar face again. "You've found him?" Aragorn called down, his arms crossed upon the wall.


     Gimli nodded and waved Aragorn down. "Come down and help me, if you will. I'd rather your aid than your gloating."


     Aragorn hurried down and put a hand on Gimli's shoulder when he reached the dwarf's side. "I do not gloat; I simply know elves. I lived with them for many years after all, and I know how Legolas thinks. Shall I give you a boost?"


     Gimli soon found himself being boosted up so that he could just reach Legolas. Up close and with the leaves blocking the snow, Gimli could see that the elf looked not only asleep by frozen. He was so deeply asleep that he could not be woken even as Gimli poked him gently. So Gimli finally resorted to scooping the frozen elf into his arms. Aragorn lowered him to the ground.


     "My thanks to you, Aragorn," Gimli said, his voice strained as all his energy was going into holding the elf. "I can handle it from here."


     "I am certain you can," Aragorn replied, knowing enough not to spark the dwarf's stubbornness.


     Given the elf's size, Gimli found it difficult to walk while carrying Legolas, but he did manage for both their sakes. His strength was a boon to the task and he walked steadily with Legolas' head on his shoulder.




     Gimli took Legolas home and set him down right in front of the fire. He immediately stripped the elf out of the stiff, cold clothes. Then he brought a blanket over from the bed and wrapped it around them both. Beneath it, he hugged Legolas tightly to warm him up. The elf's body was cold but far from lifeless. The combination of the fire and the blanket and the warm dwarf finally resulted in Legolas opening his eyes.


     The elf looked momentarily confused. Then he seemed to understand where he was and what had happened. He leaned into Gimlis's side, the movement causing his cold hair to fall against his neck and naked back. He buried his face against Gimli's neck and shoulder. His breath hitched and his eyes closed. "ihhhh... hihhh... ihh-Kxtt!" He stifled the sneeze but could not restrain it entirely. With it came others, however. "ehhhh-Ngt! ihnGtt!" He sniffed hard and rubbed his nose against Gimli's shirt. Then lifted his head, looking bashful. "I am so sorry." His voice was gentle and regretful.


     "Well," said Gimli, leaning back a little so he could get a better look at Legolas and give the elf a cold stare. "That you should be. You might have died up there."


     "It was not snowing so hard when I climbed up. I must have fallen asleep somewhere during meditation."


     "And you just assumed I would be able to find you?"


     Legolas shrugged. He truly had not thought about being found or being in a position where he would need to be found. Though he was grateful he had been. "You did," he pointed out.


     It was the wrong thing to say, and Gimli retorted with, "Only after a considerable amount of worrying."


     Legolas put his head back down on to Gimli's shoulder. "You were worried about me?"


     "Certainly," he replied with annoyance still in his voice, though that was hard to maintain given the delightful way Legolas was snuggling up against him. Nonetheless, he had revealed his anxiety to the elf and he would not allow himself to be the only one revealing his feelings. After all, he was only worried because he cared about Legolas. "Are you saying you have never been worried about me?"


     Legolas shrugged.


     "After Helm's Deep, perhaps?"


     Legolas smiled again. "All right. Yes. Perhaps then. But that was battle. That was different. I am at home in trees. I would have been looked after. I did not wish to burden you."


     "You are no burden, even when you are not at your best."


     "hhh... huhh..." Legolas' hand and arm moved unnaturally slow as he raised it to cover the lower half of his face. "huhh-ehhhh-Kngt! Ngtt! H'inkk! Ihgk-uhhhh!" He let the remainder of the last sneeze out in a deep sigh.


     "And you are certainly not at your best right now."


     The elf shivered and pressed himself hard against the dwarf's body. He shook his head and closed his eyes. "hehhh... ehhh..." He pressed the back of his hand to his nose. "IHHH--!" He kept it in, though his head bobbed down with the force of the silent sneeze.


     Gimli smirked. If Legolas was sneezing silently once again, that was a good sign he was regaining his faculties. He spoke in a soft, solemn voice. "Can you not find as much comfort with me as you do in the trees?"


     Legolas' fingers were ice cold as he reached beneath Gimli's shirt and touched the warmth of the dwarf's skin. "Your song is just as sad right now."


     Gimli touched Legolas' cold lips with his own. "Then make it sweet again," he whispered just before Legolas kissed him back. Then Legolas wrapped his arms around Gimli's body and hugged. After Gimli hugged back, Legolas curled up and rested his head in Gimli's lap. Gimli stroked his head gently, soothingly, and Legolas felt Gimli's song change. Legolas smiled and closed his eyes. With the fire crackling and the blanket soft around him, Legolas felt not only comfortable but right at home.