Title: Time to Come in From the Cold

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Lord of the Rings

Rating: PG13 (slash and implied sex)

Pairing: Gimli/Legolas

Disclaimer: Goodness no! These boys and their world are certainly not mine and I'm not getting a cent for this!

Summary: Lots of snow that needs shoveling, lots of sniffling from the pretty elf, and lots of snuggling done by both.

Notes: Written for the Sneezefic Winter Celebration Challenge using bunny # 8- Write a story using the situation 'Nice winter evening at home'

Feedback: I would love some



Time to Come in From the Cold


     Gimli's attention was caught by the sound, and he looked up, critically. Legolas' face was beautiful, soft, and pale. His eyes were dark, deep, and had seen many more winters than Gimli's had. Gimli swung his shovel around as though handling an ax, pausing further in his work to inspect the elf. If he didn't know any better, he'd suspect the flush in the elf's cheeks was just from the healthy amount of work, and that the pink at the end of his nose was only from being out in this blustery cold all afternoon. Unluckily for Legolas, Gimli did know better. "Do my ears deceive me?" He asked, turning the shovel again, this time leaning forward on the handle while the metal shovel part sank into the large snowdrift. "Or is the pointy-eared prince actually coming down with a sniffle?"


     Legolas glared over at him, brown eyes flashing. His face was, as it was always, soft and expressionless, unless one looked deeper into it and read the small twitches of his mouth and curves of his eyebrows properly. And Gimli never missed a single detail in Legolas' face. "I am not coming down with a sniffle!" he replied, his voice steady and gentle, but with strength of conviction behind it.


     "Oh, is that so?" Gimli saw his mouth twitch, and raised an eyebrow in doubt. There was no hiding it now. Legolas looked as though he were about to sneeze, that unmistakable, uncontrollable need sneaking up on him. Gimli grinned. It felt good to be right.


     "Yes, that's... that's so..." The elf's breathing was unsteady and the shovel slipped from the gloved fingers of one hand. The hand reached up, cupping over nose and mouth, nostrils twitching slightly, ears twitching slightly. There was a brief pause, during which it was thought the inevitable might not happen. But then he snapped forward. "heh...heh-Ggshhuhh! Ihgshhhhh!" He sniffed and wiggled his nose as he lowered his hand. "I am not coming down with a sniffle," he repeated firmly at Gimli's smug smirk. Legolas was stern, unyielding, determined to convince Gimli that he was right. "Because I've already come down with one." He sniffled very lightly, with politeness. "I believe it is already fully upon me."


     There was a pause, in which Gimli blinked and Legolas sniffed, the dwarf and elf glaring at each other, each fully prepared to have let the argument escalate but realizing that it didn't have to. The smug grin on Gimli's face turned into one of humor and deep, jaunty laughs burst from him. Glad he had his shovel to hold onto, he doubled over with laughter. Laughter so contagious that Legolas joined him seconds later, rubbing a gloved finger at his nose, but shaking with a gentle smile on his face.


     "Ah, Laddie, you got me," he said, walking over to where the elf stood, slapping him on the back. "That was a good one." He leaned into Legolas, whose laughs were gentle and calming. Then, taking him unawares, snatched the elf's shovel from his hand.


     "What do you think you're doing?" Legolas asked, grabbing for it. He lunged and snatched, but it escaped his grasp. "This walk is far from being cleared."


     But Gimli danced backwards, carefully avoiding the still-snowy parts of the walk, and holding the shovel behind his back. "And what do you think you're doing, shoveling while you're sick? I want you to go right back to our room and start a fire to get warm because you, my dear friend, are indeed done shoveling for the day."


     Legolas stopped grabbing for the shovel and looked around. The paths snaking their way through Minas Tirith were relatively clear. But most of the walkways on the tops of the walls were still buried under feet of snow and would not do at all. Legolas and Gimli had insisted upon helping, and while shoveling wasn't exactly the noble task the two warriors had had in mind, they had promised Aragorn they would complete the job with their normal skill and perfection. It seemed fitting, as they had helped rebuild the walls along with the rest of the city in the first place. "But the celebration is tonight," Legolas said. "Half the city will want to climb up here to see the fireworks and it's still covered in snow."


     Nodding, "Aye, it is. But you shouldn't be out here in the cold, with the sniffles, just to do some shoveling. Aragorn wouldn't want that." After making another, failed attempt at getting the shovel, Legolas sighed and rubbed the back of his neck where a light pain seemed to be settling. Gimli tossed both shovels aside and went to him, a hand gently rubbing the elf's side. "Look, I'm not asking you to spend the night in the Houses of Healing. I just want to be sure you don't make whatever you've come down with worse. You're not used to being sick."


     "Gimli," Legolas chuckled. "You needn't smother me. It's only a little sniffle--"


     "It does not matter how little it is. I want you to go back to our room and get warm. I will come right over as soon as I'm finished with the shoveling."


     "You cannot possibly finish this all shoveling yourself before the celebration tonight!" Legolas argued.


     "I will not have some pointy-eared pretty boy telling me what I can or cannot do. Now, get your beautiful, bouncy behind back to bed." Gimli slapped Legolas gently on the rump. "And wait for me there."


     "So you can order me around but I couldn't..." he rubbed a finger alongside his nose as his nostrils flared slightly, "couldn't point out the logic in my needing to stay... and... and-shovel?" He finished quickly, cupping his hand over nose and mouth at once. As his nostrils flared again, his ears twitched and he bent forward. "heh-Kegshhhh! Yihhhhshuh!"


     Gimli thought for a moment, considering this. "Yes, that sounds about right. You do not really get a say because you're sick. There's some logic for you."


     Legolas hung his head, the corners of his mouth turning up into a slight smile despite himself. "Yes, that is." He bent and kissed Gimli's forehead.


*                      *                      *


     The hallways were filled with commotion, people scampering about to get the last preparations done for the celebration. Gimli fought his way against the crowd until he found the door to their room. He had to wait for the right moment, when the flow of people was low, before throwing it open and slipping inside. The door was nearly shut on his arm by someone rushing past, but he pulled it free just in time.


     Panting, he shut the door behind him and looked around the room. It was dark inside, apart from the warm glow of firelight in the center of the room. Rather than having gone to bed, Legolas had taken the bed with him. He knelt on the rug in front of the fire, a thick quilt wrapped around his shoulders. One hand clutched the material together at his chest to keep the quilt tightly around himself. The other hand gripped a handkerchief tightly.


     Legolas seemed to acknowledge Gimli's presence but had not the time to even look his way before eyes shut and mouth dropped obediently to the urge to sneeze. "ihhh... ihh-ehhhh... ehhhGgshhhhh! ehhhGHshuhhhh!" He sniffled wetly, raising his head and shoulders as he did. Then he rubbed the handkerchief at his nose, scrubbing at the nostrils. The tip of his nose went back and forth quickly at least a dozen times, and when he pulled the handkerchief away, it was a little pink at his nostrils where he'd rubbed at them. With another strong sniffle, he turned to the doorway, where Gimli still stood. "I was just about to get ub to go out. I was begiddig to thig you were't cobig."


     Gimli pulled off his gloves as he walked over to Legolas. The elf looked up, sniffling, smiling. Gimli pulled off his cloak and draped it around Legolas' shoulders for further warmth. Then he squared off in front of Legolas, squatting so he was about eye-level with him. The snow on his boots melted into a puddle on the floor beneath him as he was so near to the fire. He looked Legolas over critically for a few moments. It hardly seemed possible, but in the few short hours, Legolas had indeed gotten worse and the both seemed to know it. Legolas ducked his head and turned it bashfully as Gimli inspected him.


     "My apologies for the delay," said Gimli. "The shoveling took a long while."


     "Did you... heh..." His hand tightened on the handkerchief, and his fingers wiggled amidst the folds to relive the anticipation that built with the sneezes. "Did you... ehh-hehhhh..." The handkerchief was raised a few more inches, and he took in sharp, silent breaths now. Clearly, he was not meant to finish what he wanted to ask. His jaw dropped and his ears began to twitch at their tips.


     "Did I finish?" asked Gimli, sweeping Legolas' hair over his shoulders for him, so as to get a better look at his ears and so that it wouldn't interfere with the elf.


     Legolas, mouth hanging open, eyes, fluttering shut, nodded. His other hand, clutching the quilt tightly, moved to point at Gimli, indicating that the dwarf had guessed correctly.


     "Aye, but only just," Gimli answered.


     Legolas managed a hint of a smile, so brief it was almost missed as his expression was an otherwise sneezey one. In a flash, however, he snapped the handkerchief to his face and tightened his body to prepare for the blow. "ehhh... ehhggg-HEHGshhhh! Yehgshhhhh! Ihghshuhhhhh! Ughhhh..." He shook his head back and forth against the handkerchief which he held steady, his nose dragging against the folds with sniffles and snuffles. He hardly wanted to look up when it was over, but he did, trying to reclaim the thread of conversation before it could be lost entirely. "Ah, well, that's good thed. I should have felt idfiditely worse if you'd worked so hard id by absence add the job wedt udcobleted by the edd of the day." Somehow, even with all the rubbing and sniffling he'd done, he still sounded terribly stuffy.


     It took Gimli a moment to decipher the words, but tried to act as though Legolas were not as stuffed as he really was. "Well, it would have been easier with you there, certainly, but--"


     Legolas turned his head with a sharp gasp, his ears clearly twitching amidst the gentle blond hair. "hehhh... heh-ehhhhh-EHH-" he paused, his body tensed and ready. Gimli went to pat him comfortingly, but Legolas fell forward from the sneezes a moment too soon. "Kggshh! Keggshuhhh! Ehhh... SNIFF!" He lifted his head heavily and nodded. "I would have stayed, sniff, if you needed me." He looked back, his expression slightly apologetic.


     "Legolas," chuckled Gimli, shaking his head at the absurdity of it all. He patted the elf on the shoulder, then slid his hand up to cup his cheek. "I am the one who made you come in from the cold, remember?"


     Legolas nodded and cocked his head to the side, rubbing his cheek against the dwarf's rough palm. "I truly would have stayed, though I was rather glad to get inside. I'm feeling a little... uhhh... the sneezes' build-ups seemed to finish his sentence more easily than anything else possibly could. "ehhh-Higshhhh! ehgghshhh! Yigshhhh!"  Legolas sniffled into the handkerchief and cleared his throat. "But I'b all right to go todight," he said, making eye contact with the dwarf. "The feast will be startig very soon. I'll just get dressed add we cad be off." He tried to pull himself together to rise, but Gimli grabbed his wrist and held him down.


     "Actually, while I was out there shoveling I did have a thought. Why do we not just stay in and have a nice, quiet evening at home tonight?"


     Now Legolas was too stunned to rise, and simply stared at Gimli, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. His attention snapped away for a moment as another sneeze struck. "ehh-eggushhh!" Sniffling, he lowered the handkerchief and looked up. "But the celebratiod feast! With warb bread add cheese... add... add... hehh-ehh-" But he was too stuffy and sneezey to continue very well. Wearily he raised the handkerchief again. His jaw dropped and tongue rested against his bottom lip. "Heh-Ihgggshhh!" In an attempt to resume at least a little composure, he continued, "Add salty bork add wide add... oh..." His hand tightened on the handkerchief. "Add... des... des...oh-oh doh-heh-hehGIHShhhhh! GegSHUHhhhhhh!" The sneezes were terribly strong, pitching him forward. He flushed in a very unelvish sort of way and honked his nose into the handkerchief.


     Gimli rose and headed over to a trunk. After rooting through it, he produced a clean handkerchief and brought it back, along with another blanket. This one he wrapped around the both of them as he settled down beside Legolas, exchanging the handkerchiefs with tact. "What would you have me do? Go to the feast and have you suffer through this cold watched by half the kingdom? Or to leave you here to suffer alone?" Legolas nodded with such a slight bob of the head that it seemed merely part of his normal stature, apart from the fact that he was normally quite calm and still. "Oh no, my friend. Where you go, I go. And where you remain, so shall I, by your side." He gave a smile of his own, partially hidden by his thick beard but it burst through his eyes. While this celebration was in dwarf style, with food and drink and laughter, it would not have been remotely enjoyable with a sick Legolas to worry over. "Besides, staying home has its benefits, even when it's a grand celebration we're staying home from. And we can still go outside when the fireworks begin to watch for a while."


     Legolas was inclined to agree. And as it meant not needing to change from his dressing gown to formal robes, or to keep his hair down and wild rather than combing and neatly braiding it, it was an added bonus. "I thidk I should like that very buch. Celebratidg the seasod id our owd way, with a dice, quiet evedig at hobe together..." He reached out and squeezed Gimli's hand, then shifted it so their fingers entwined.


     "Good," said Gimli with a nod. "So that's that." He lifted his hand from its spot on Legolas' knee and kissed the back of Legolas' hand softly. Then he grunted and rose. "I think I will start out with a bit of mulled wine. Would you like any, then?"


     Shaking his head, Legolas retracted his hand to hold it over his face, hiding a series of soft, moist coughs. "Doh, cough, sniffle, but I could do with sub lebod tea for a start?"


     With a broad smile, Gimli bent slightly and kissed Legolas lightly. It was not often the dwarf had to bend to kiss the elf, and he took great pleasure in making the act as romantic and comforting as possible, while still attempting a bit of casualness. "Of course, Love."


     When Gimli returned, he found Legolas stretched out beneath the fire, blankets up over his head like a hood, arms and legs tucked beneath. His face looked tired, which was startling to see on an elf, especially an elf such as Legolas, but the bright and inviting expression made up for it. He leaned back on one elbow, watching the leaping flames. But he looked up and back as he heard Gimli's footsteps, and smiled. He lifted an arm to offer the warmth of the blankets, and gave a violent shiver as he did so, for the movement caused a bit of cold to sneak into his little den of warmth.


     However badly he wanted to snuggle up with Legolas beneath one, Gimli declined the offer for he could just as easily snuggle from the outside and allow Legolas sole use of the blankets as he saw fit. Gimli sat down behind him, patting his lap and tugging Legolas back with a hand. After some movement, they settled comfortably in for the evening, a plate of cheese and fruit by their side to echo the feast they were now late in attending. With any luck, Aragorn had already received the notice Gimli had sent him and their seats at the head table had been given to other worthy friends of the king in appreciation of service. Their seats now were on the fur rug, Gimli sitting back against the front of a chair, and Legolas lounging back upon him. Gimli held him, arms draped over his front, Legolas' head nesting restfully against one side of Gimli's chest and adjacent arm, the way he sometimes slept in bed. The elf was so wrapped in blankets that there was no need for him to shiver, or to move. Gimli tended to both his need for tea and handkerchiefs. He needed only to hear the sound of Legolas' breathing changing and he had the handkerchief at the ready.


     Insisting he was not the least bit hungry, Legolas barely touched the food. He managed to come away from their private meal with only a bit of apple eaten, while Gimli ate the rest with room to spare. After the mulled wine, however, Gimli drank some water and had a few puffs on his pipe. Expecting the elf's nose to be tickled by the smell, he had hesitated following the food and drink with it. But Legolas had insisted and Gimli was glad for it, though gladder still that Legolas was indeed not bothered by it. Though he surmised this was due to how stuffy the elf's nose was.


     "heh... heh-EHGushhhh! HegShahhhh! ehhgyishhh!" Legolas snuffled wetly, making a face of tired disgust.


Gimli rubbed his nose and wiped his face carefully for him, then kissed his cheek from behind. Legolas made another face at that, and Gimli laughed. "Yes, I dare to kiss my beloved elf, even when he is like this, for there is no way I could ever see him which would leave me without his beauty. Would that I were holding him in my arms for another reason, but never would I give up any chance to hold him. So you're not to say a thing to the contrary, understand?"


     Legolas smiled and closed his eyes. Rarely did he do so. In fact, he slept with his eyes open most nights. But now he took a deep breath with his eyes closed, taking in the sensations and the touches. All the caring and smothering which had seemed at first so stifling earlier out in the snow, but was now warm and comforting. "For whatever the reasod... I would have by dwarf hold be forever if I could." Quickly his breath caught again, and Gimli was there with the handkerchief. "ehhGuhshhhh! Yihgshuhhh!"


     "Be careful," Gimli whispered, nibbling Legolas' ear as he wiped Legolas' nose clean. "Or he just might."


     Encased in the warmth of Gimli's arms, Legolas turned, still held but now with his cheek pressed to Gimli's chest. He sighed and nuzzled close, moving his arms so that the blankets wrapped around Gimli's middle and Legolas was still enveloped by the warmth of quilt and dwarf on all sides. Then his hand traced down and paused, fingering the dwarf's waistband questionably. The elf's ears twitched and he turned his face into Gimli's chest entirely with a sharp intake of breath.


     The dwarf chuckled and tried to get in between with the handkerchief. Failing this, as Legolas began shaking with the build-up, Gimli simply drew his hand through the long, blonde hair and patted his head soothingly. "hehhh-yehh-"


     "It is all right," whispered Gimli. "Just sneeze all you need to."


     Legolas looked up at him, finding comfort in the dwarf's rough hand against his head and refuge in the dwarf's dark eyes. However helpless and undignified he looked, he knew Gimli would never tell a soul. Outside their home, there was no reason for the rest of the kingdom to think of him as anything but an elf prince, noble in battle and loyal in friendship. With Gimli's blessing, he buried his face into the warm chest and sneezed. "yehhh-ihhh-Ihhgshhhh! EhhGshhhh! ehhh-heh-hih-HIH...IHGUHShhhh!" Gimli swooped in, pulling his beard to the side so he could better maneuver. He helped Legolas blow his nose and kissed the top of his head gently in reassurance. Legolas smiled sheepishly and continued to sniffle afterwards.


     Gimli reached down, to the elf's hand where it gripped his waistband. Then he directed it beneath. The slender hand slipped beneath the layers of fabric with the dwarf's blessing. The next sharp intake of breath was Gimli's. And though both noticed the sound of explosions outside, and the cheers from the men as they scrambled up the ladders and onto the walls for a better view, neither Gimli nor Legolas were inclined to stop their own celebration at home to go outside and watch.