Title: The Gifts of the Elf & Dwarf

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Lord of the Rings

Rating: PG13

Pairing: Legolas/Gimli

Disclaimer: In the beginning, the great prof created the elf and the dwarf. And it was good. And he got all the money and credit. But I say they belong together and declare so in fanfic. And while it is good, it is but humble, slashy fanfic. I don't own the characters or their world. And I didn't really come up with the plot either, to be honest.

Bunny: #2

Summary: As a love holiday approaches, Legolas and Gimli contemplate presents and their relationship.

Notes: This is a Middle Earth variation on a very well-known story. I think it's a bit rough still, so I apologize. Also, it's pretty AU and probably a little forced.

Feedback: I'd adore feedback



The Gifts of the Elf & Dwarf

     Legolas braved the cold outdoors as he headed from their home to the outside entrance of Gimli's workshop. He was not in the habit of going through the house and the cave-like tunnel in the basement to get to it as the outside route was far more efficient and he was always in a hurry to get to Gimli. Usually the cold did not touch him, but today he felt chilled as he made his way over. He had a terrible feeling that he knew what that meant.


     Cupping his hands to his face, Legolas breathed several warm puffs of breath into them. It was almost as chilly inside Gimli's workshop as it was outside, the only difference being the lack of wind. Legolas shifted impatiently from one foot to the other. "Gimli," he said. "You wanted me to collect you. Dinner's just about ready." Normally Legolas loathed disturbing Gimli during his work, but he was fairly certain Gimli must be hungry by now. Work could wait until dinner.


     Gimli stood between his anvil and his row of axes at his workbench. He was leaning over it, examining a shield. He had been working on it for weeks now, and every painstaking moment and every bit of care could be clearly seen. It was stunning. It was a perfectly round circle, with a pattern of intricate etchings around the boarder. A circle of smooth copper was inlaid in the center, worked and folded over and over so that the normally soft material was many layers thick and therefore strong. Several gems had been set upon the metal, some red and some amber. But there was a spot in the very center for one more. Rather than adding that last piece, Gimli was buffing the shield with a clean rag.


     The dwarf looked up, grinning. "I know it is not your style, but what do you think?" He nodded towards his handiwork.


     Legolas smiled warmly. "I think it is quite a masterpiece." He raised his hands and blew into them again. "I also think it is far too chilly out here. Are you not cold?"


     Gimli was still grinning as he rounded the workbench. His arms wrapped around the elf's middle. "You never were so at home in caves."


     "Bite your tongue," Legolas said, hugging him close for warmth and resting his chin on the top of Gimli's head. "I am at home wherever you are." He shivered, despite the warm dwarf pressed against his front. "Right now, however, I would like most to be at home in the house, in front of the fire."


     Gimli chuckled. "That can be arranged." He grabbed a small satchel and then walked quickly back through the cold to the front door of the house with Legolas.


     They ate dinner together in the dining room, and Legolas found he had to force himself to finish. He was not nearly as hungry as usual, and he worried about what that meant. But he pushed his worries aside when dinner was over. Legolas washed the dishes and Gimli dried them and put them away.


     When all was cleaned and put away, they settled in the main sitting room. The fireplace there was the largest in the house and the room was comfortable and cozy. Though they liked their couch, they sat on the floor tonight. The choice was an easy one, as it meant being closer to the fire and almost equally comfortable seats on their fur rug. The rug had seen them through a lot. It had met them as hunters out in the woods but had known them as lovers as well as they lay naked upon it together more often than not.


     Today, however, it saw them as something in-between hunters and lovers, as they sat side-by-side, working on weapons. Gimli was working on the leather straps for his nearly-completed shield, and Legolas was diligently filling his raggedy old quiver with newly-crafted arrows.


     "Looking forward to the outing tomorrow?" Legolas asked casually. "I've already got something in mind for the holiday."


     "Ohhhh the holiday!" Gimli groaned. "A whole day about love when one should express it every day anyway, such foolishness. I have always thought it was made up by women as an excuse to have their men buy them extravagant gifts."


     Legolas was silent in contemplation, but frowned slightly. "Does that mean we will not be exchanging gifts this year?"


     "Of course that's not what I meant!" Gimli exclaimed at once. "I already have a gift for you in mind as well."


     Legolas laughed and rested his head against Gimli's. "That is good." He yawned.


     Gimli eyed him. "Is there anything you wish to tell me?" he asked. Legolas shook his head and Gimli kindly let it go without mention of how tired Legolas looked. "Then perhaps it is time for bed? I know it is early, but we have a long day before us, tomorrow."


     "Sometimes, my Dwarf, you are far too sweet for your own good," he teased, twisting a finger in the hairs of Gimli's beard.


     "Bah," said Gimli, waving it off but letting Legolas' touches continue.


     "But I do believe you are right about going to bed," Legolas replied. He swept Gimli into his arms and they kissed deeply before going straight to bed and under the covers.


*          *          *


     This month's monthly trip into town saw Arod toting more packages than normal. The horse did not seem at all encumbered by the extra burden and carried Legolas and Gimli to town with his normal speed. There, the elf and dwarf removed the bags of items they had bought to barter with.


     "This should be enough for a little more flour and some more salt," Gimli said, sizing up what he was carrying. "Is there any other food we are running short of?" he asked. Now that the winter season was slowly fading their trips into town would most likely become more frequent, but the snows were recent so it did not hurt to stock up on what was needed when they had the chance.


     Legolas shook his head, slinging several of the bags over his shoulder to carry them. "We have food enough for ourselves and Arod, but Arod could use a new grooming brush and some new saddle pads. And I should have more than enough to trade for all that.


     In fact, the trading went better than expected. When the elf and dwarf met up in the early afternoon, it was with bulging bags and proud smiles on both sides. "I got an excellent deal on the flour," Gimli said as they headed into an eatery for a late lunch. "And he threw in a new pipe for me for free as I was admiring his."


     "I made out well with Arod's supplies as well," said Legolas as they sat down at a table. "They were having a special on sugar, so I have quite a bit of that. And I was able to find you the present I had had in mind. You are going to love it." Gimli blushed as he hung his head, smiling a silly sort of smile. "If I did not know any better, Gimli, I would say you liked this holiday."


     "Nonsense. The only thing I like about it is sharing it with you," Gimli said, just before the server arrived. He was lucky in that, for Legolas was just about to tease him for nearly getting too sweet.


     Gimli said nothing at the fact that Legolas kept his cloak on while inside. Legolas did not finish his meal, about which Gimli had no comment either. He did, however, help himself to Legolas' plate every so often, so as not to let it go to waste when the meals were already paid for. Frugalness was in his nature, whether they had an access of money or not. And, currently, they had just enough to be comfortable. But neither needed much, in truth, apart from each other. Not that either would say so and risk more teasing.


     When done, they headed to the stable and secured their belongings in and among Arod's saddlebags. Gimli had to reach up just above his head to tie the knots, and Legolas reached over instinctively to help him with them, wanting to finish up soon so they could get going. But Gimli pushed him away. "I may be short but I can still tie knots." Legolas waited patiently for Gimli to finish, which took longer thanks to his stretching. Then he gave Gimli his customary hand up and they mounted the horse.


     The journey back was as uneventful as the journey there had been, with the exception of Legolas' fatigue. Gimli couldn't help but notice Legolas' head dipping and the elf's body relaxing as they rode on. He held onto Legolas tightly, starting to fear the elf might fall asleep and fall off. Even while riding behind, Gimli could tell when Legolas dozed off for a few moments. When he did so, his grip on the reins loosened and he leaned to the side, thanks to the bumps and jolts of the ride on horseback. After a few moments, Legolas always woke with a start, sniffing or coughing and trying to appear as though he'd been awake the whole time.


     But Gimli was not the least bit fooled. And, after it had happened a half dozen times, he decided to take action. It was not a dire situation, as Arod knew his way home well enough. But from the look of the sky it was threatening to snow again and Gimli did not like the idea of slowing and being stranded in a blizzard. "Legolas, I need to stop for a minute. Dismount."


     Legolas seemed slightly reluctant, as it meant a delay in getting home, but he obliged for Gimli's sake. Arod slowed and then stopped, and Legolas gracefully hopped down to the ground. He looked up, expecting Gimli to need help doing likewise. Instead, Gimli scooted up in the saddle and took the reins. "I cannot see where we are going from behind you. Now get back down and slip your arms around me. I have rope to bind us together so that you will not fall off if you want to sleep."


     "Gimli..." Legolas hesitated, clearly not amused by the dwarf's assumptions. "I will not fall asleep."


     "I know," Gimli said, nodding firmly. "But you are tired, I can tell that much from one look, whatever else might be wrong. And we have a way to go yet. So if you do feel the need, I want you safe." He reached down, patting Legolas' head affectionately.


     Legolas closed his eyes at the touch and found it difficult to open them again. Knowing Gimli was right, he nodded back and mounted the horse again, behind Gimli for a change. He huddled close to the dwarf in the saddle, feeling strange in the different position. His arms wrapped around Gimli's middle, not to keep himself there, but to keep himself close to Gimli's warmth. They slipped a rope around them both, as Gimli had proposed, and Legolas was rather glad for it when they started up again. He bounced in place, hugging Gimli and shivering, but still feeling tremendously sleepy. He closed his eyes and, before he knew what was happening, he was asleep.


     Legolas did not wake until they reached the barn. He shivered repeatedly as Gimli unbound them and tumbled off the horse. Legolas felt a bit light-headed for a while after he woke, but managed to get off Arod anyway. He leaned against the wall for a little while. By the time Legolas had regained his faculties, Gimli was finished with the horse. Just as he'd led the horse into the stall, he led Legolas by the hand into the house. Not bothering with anything, including food, Gimli led the elf straight through the house and into the bedroom.


     "Into bed," he said, using his tone to leave no room to argue. He deposited Legolas on the bed and hurriedly began undressing him. Legolas stared at him curiously as he did so. Gimli untied the boots before slipping them off, and was gentle with the leggings, tugging them down an inch at a time. He pressed his body close to Legolas' to keep the elf warm as he pulled off Legolas' cloak and layers of tunics. His fingers slid against the warm elf skin as he untied ties and unbuttoned buttons.


     Lying limp, Legolas let Gimli strip him down to nothing, then pull a thick nightgown over his head. Then came the pillows and blankets, piled high atop him. Legolas was tucked into bed before Gimli had even taken off his cloak. "What is the meaning of this?"


     Gimli smiled as he slowly got himself ready for bed. "Tis easier to argue with you about getting into bed when you are already in bed."


     This was certainly an indisputable statement, and Legolas chuckled. "Yes but, Gimli, why--"


     "It is clear you are ill and in need of sleep. I may be short, but I'm not deaf and blind." He kicked their discarded items of clothing into a pile. Then he climbed into bed, wearing nothing at all. He scooted right up against Legolas and the elf shivered and clung to him. "What is it, Love?" Gimli asked. "Do tell. I will not be angry that you were withholding."


     Legolas sighed and nuzzled his face into Gimli's head, finding comfort in the familiar, bushy brown hair. He was glad it muffled his voice. "I think it is only a cold, but it is coming on slowly. A case of the chills and quite a bit of drowsiness. I've felt cold and achy all day."


     "Well," Gimli said, snuggling as close as he could get and rubbing Legolas' shoulders at the same time. "Those are things I can help with, now that we're in bed together. You get some rest now, all right?"


     Nodding, Legolas could not help but relax and allow himself to sleep. Gimli was making it far easier than usual, which was a sure sign that the dwarf was worried about him. He had tried his best to give Gimli no reason to suspect anything was wrong, but he had a feeling, now, that he would never be able to keep a secret from Gimli. He only hoped his gift for the holiday would be something of a pleasant surprise.


*          *          *


     Legolas woke the next morning, coughing, to find his nose stuffed and his throat sore. He had known it was coming upon him, but it still felt somewhat sudden when he felt a tickle rising up in his nose. Not wanting to leave the warm embrace he was part of, he merely cupped his hand to his face and hoped he would not sneeze too loudly and wake Gimli. "hihhh!" However, Gimli woke before the sneeze was even upon Legolas. "hihh-Chsshhh!"


     Gimli, only half awake, pulled away and tumbled out of bed. Naked and shivering, he searched around the room for a handkerchief. First in the trunk, then in the dresser, and then amongst their discarded clothes.


     "Sniff! ehhhCushhhh! Sniff! Sniff! hihhhShuhhh! Sniff!" In the absence of a handkerchief, Legolas used his sleeve. He sniffled and felt amazed at the way his nose could run while still feeling so stuffed.


     Gimli returned with a handkerchief finally, shaking with cold. He dove back under the covers and handed the handkerchief off to Legolas. Legolas spent the time it took Gimli to warm up again blowing his nose as many times as it took until it felt less tickly and prickly and ready to sneeze. Then he sighed in frustration and even a few gentle kisses from Gimli did nothing to cheer him up. He had hoped whatever he'd been coming down with might not require sneezing his head off. But, naturally, he was not so lucky.


     "Galu," Gimli murmured, nuzzling close, taking advantage of the pause between sneezes and blows and whatever else might be in store. Legolas smiled, recalling vividly now with fondness how affectionate Gimli became when Legolas was unwell and needing snuggles. "It looks like you will be spending the whole day in bed," the dwarf said.


     "Yes," Legolas agreed. "What a dreadful way to spend the holiday. Sniff! Sniff! I suppose you are glad and relieved."


     "I am never glad to see you sick," Gimli said seriously, staring back at Legolas. "And you have not ruined the holiday. In fact, I think your cold will make it even more romantic." A laugh of startled disbelief escaped Legolas, and Gimli continued despite it. "I can bring you your meals in bed and snuggle up beside you during naps. We can lounge about all day, a welcome change from our usual pace." Though both liked to always stay busy, they did not dislike occasional chances to relax. Legolas still did not seem convinced. "And we can start by opening presents in bed together, if you wish."


     At once, Legolas' face brightened. He managed a quick, enthusiastic nod, then brought the handkerchief up. "Sorry I... must... hehhh... sn... heyyyyihShhhh! ehhhChishhhh! Sniff!" He dabbed at his nose as Gimli again climbed out of bed to retrieve the gifts. Among the few bags he had brought in from off the horse was a package wrapped in brown paper that was the present he had purchased for Legolas. But he did not know the location of the one Legolas had for him in return. Gimli looked about the room, shivering as he stood in place. "Id by bocket," Legolas said, frowning at his stuffiness. He gestured towards his clothes from the night before and Gimli rooted around in the pockets until he withdrew a small, heavy something wrapped up in a swatch of deep, blue velvet.


     They exchanged presents along with kisses. Legolas sat up in bed, wrapped in blankets, and Gimli sat not a foot away partially beneath the covers as well. "Prepared?" Gimli asked, eyeing his gift eagerly as it sat heavily in his cupped hands.


     Only the briefest pause followed as Legolas realized suddenly that he was not at all ready. Shaking his head adamantly, "No I... hih... sneezy again..." Deep, heaving breaths followed, allowing Legolas time to drop his mouth open behind a handkerchief and close his eyes. "ihhhh!" He took a very deep breath and froze in place, apart from slightly-twitching eartips. Then he shuddered forward. "hihh-ihhh-HIHShhhh! ihhhChhhh! ehh-hehhh-IHHHShihhh!" Legolas gave an almost dwarf-like grunt as he wiped his nose dry and dropped his handkerchief into his lap. "Excuse me."


     "Ready now?" Gimli asked, not wanting Legolas to dwell on his symptoms, especially not when there were gifts to be opened.


     Legolas nodded and they quickly opened their gifts at the same time.


      Legolas ripped off the brown paper to find a quiver. Not an ordinary quiver like the kind he used to carry his arrows, but a handsomely-crafted one. It was made of several layers of pressed and polished leather. Stamped into it on the sides but concentrated at the opening was an arrangement of leaves outlined in a gentle green. The strap was trimmed in a light gold with an intricate, interweaving design. The inside was lined with something dark and smooth, allowing for arrows to slide in and out swiftly, and its capacity was greater though it did not look significantly bigger. It was strong and tough but incredibly light. And, to Legolas' eyes, it was beautiful. "Gimli..." he gasped. Though his expression remained calm as usual, deep emotions played in his eyes.


     "Do you like it?" Gimli asked concernedly. "You arrows deserved a better holder, I thought."


     "I absolutely love it," Legolas said quickly to put Gimli at ease. Then he gestured towards the gift he'd given Gimli.


     Beneath the velvet Gimli had found a very round, very flat, cut diamond. It fit easily in his palm but its size was not small by any means. He held it with the sort of reserved gentleness that he usually reserved for touching Legolas. And he held it up, inspecting it with a trained eye, finding no fault within it. "Legolas..." When he finally looked up, his eyes were noticeably wet. "It is stunning. "But how could you afford it?"


     "I... ah..." Legolas stalled, hoping for a sneeze. There was a minor tickle in his nose, but it was not amounting to anything yet. He sniffed and twitched his nose a little. "I believe I have another sneeze... coming on..."


     "You do not!" Gimli exclaimed. "I know well what you look like when you are about to sneeze, and that is certainly not it." He reached up and ran his finger around the very stationary tip of Legolas' ear.


     Legolas closed his eyes at the touch and purred softly. "So nice," he murmured and leaned in for a kiss.


     Gimli pulled back, giving a laugh. "Legolas Greenleaf! Is it my imagination or are you purposely avoiding answering me?" Legolas hesitated a moment more, and at least Gimli's answer to his most recent question was clear. "I ask again, how did you come to purchase such a beautiful diamond?"


     Legolas looked down at his new quiver, not with awe as before but with regret. He paused, giving his nose just one more chance to help him. Then he cleared his throat. "I sold my arrows to pay for it." He looked up, dreading the dwarf's reaction.


     "What, all of them?" he asked, amazed.


     Nodding back, "Yes. A gem such as that did not come cheaply, I assure you. Sniff! Sniff!" He cleared his throat. "I bought it because it looked like it would be a good fit for that shield you have been working on for so long," Legolas told him. He brightened a bit, "Do go retrieve it now!"


     "Ah..." Gimli said, nodding and staring at the diamond again. "About that..."


     "Yes, I would love to see how it fits, how it looks."


     Looking a bit green, Gimli rubbed the back of his neck. Then a thought occurred to him and he reached out, rubbing Legolas' shoulders instead. "How about that kiss now?"


     "Gimli?" Legolas said, pulling back skeptically. "What--" he broke off. That sneeze he had been hoping for had finally decided to strike at the worst moment. "ihhh-hihhhhh!" He reached for his handkerchief, finding it damp. Fighting against the sneeze, he folded it a different way and just got it to his nose in time. "ihhhhKShuhhh! hihh-ih-HIHSchhhh! Sniff! Excuse me." He refolded the handkerchief to blow his nose.


     Gimli frowned. "Galu. I will get you a new hanky." He moved to begin a crawl to the edge of their large bed but Legolas reached out and stopped him.


     Gripping the dwarf's shoulder, Legolas held him there. "I am more interested in why you are stalling, Gimli. Sniff! I am the one with the cold, but now you look sick. What is it you are not telling me?"


     With a sigh, "I regret that I no longer have the shield," Gimli admitted. "For I sold it to acquire the quiver."


     The loss of the prized items was not the best way to spend the holiday. The quiver was of no use without arrows, and the center of a shield was no good without the shield itself. An inevitable and understandably uncomfortable silence followed, during which time Legolas and Gimli studied each other and struggled to think of which words to use. Finally, Legolas laughed.


     Elf laughter, rare as it was, was more than enough to make even a miserable dwarf laugh as well. Arms reached out and wrapped around, and the two went from sitting to lying down in bed, snuggling as close as they had the night before, still laughing. "Arrows can be remade," Legolas declared.


     "As can shields," Gimli nodded. "I will begin one specifically to compliment the beauty of this diamond and the sacrifice you made to present it to me."


     "And I will start on a new batch of arrows right away," Legolas said. His ears twitched through the statement, and fingers twitched against the damp handkerchief. "ihhhhTChhh! HihhhKehshh!"


     Gimli administered a kiss to Legolas' cheek and then slipped out of the bed in order to retrieve another handkerchief. "As I said before, you are not to do anything until you are feeling better."


     Legolas agreed between blowing his nose multiple times and finding the comfortable fit against the contour of Gimli's bare body. "Arrows and shields can be remade," said Legolas. "Sniff! Sniff! The important thing is that I still have you, that we have each other. I do love the quiver, Gimli, but I am most glad just to have you at my side and in my heart--"


     "Do stop," Gimli said, rolling his eyes. "As a mere dwarf I am liable to die from so much sweetness." He paused, with another kiss. "And, more importantly, that does not need to be said." He nuzzled into Legolas' neck and closed his eyes. "No gift could ever equal my love for you. Even sick and sniffly you."


     Legolas felt quite at home and comforted in Gimli's arms. "Perhaps breakfast can wait a little longer?" Legolas asked. Thanks to his cold, he did not feel at all hungry, though he knew Gimli would make him eat something and he guessed Gimli must be hungry by now. "Sniff! Cough! Sniff! I am too happy here. ihhh!" He rubbed his nose into the fresh handkerchief. "hehhhhChihhh!"


     Gimli said nothing about the absurdity of Legolas being happy when the elf sounded and felt so sick, because he understood. "Breakfast can wait until lunch."


     "Gimli, I believe that is the most romantic thing I have ever heard you say," said Legolas, chuckling.