Journeys by Bill the Pony
Summary: Legolas and Gimli discuss the lands they have visited.
Categories: FPS, FPS > Gimli/Legolas, FPS > Legolas/Gimli Characters: Gimli, Legolas
Type: Humor, Romance/Drama
Warning: Angst, Interspecies
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 4 Completed: Yes Word count: 3964 Read: 8089 Published: July 21, 2011 Updated: July 21, 2011
Story Notes:
Feedback: Yes, including critical

1. Chapter 1. Many Welcomes by Bill the Pony

2. Chapter 2. The Ways Of Riders by Bill the Pony

3. Chapter 3. Time For Deeds by Bill the Pony

4. Chapter 4. Hands That Sing by Bill the Pony

Chapter 1. Many Welcomes by Bill the Pony
Gimli laid his leaf-bladed silver-grey paddle down awkwardly; it was built for longer arms, but he refused to be passed over and treated as baggage. He twisted around, fingering his braided beard and eyeing Legolas; he was disquieted and wished to speak, but caution held his tongue.

Legolas, seeing Gimli's eyes rest on him, laid his own paddle over the gunwale; their boat settled into the current and dropped behind the others. The stream narrowed, the deep blue water running swift, its noisy ripples covering their conversation. Trees leaned over the river, screening them from the sky.

"You are troubled," Legolas guessed, moving forward lightly from the stern.

"I am." Gimli spat gruffly into the water and turned to face the elf. He spoke no further, watching Legolas steadily.

Legolas looked over his shoulder toward the Land of Lorien, which lay far behind them now, its woods eclipsed by the winding river and the gathering twilight. "The Lady of the Galadrim is ancient even among my people."

She seemed beautiful, and yet unreal." Gimli shook his head fiercely, annoyed that part of his thought had been perceived. "I do not know, Legolas, that I would have crossed the borders into Lothlorien, had I known her power. Welcome we had there, and yet Elrond's house seemed more fair, and he more welcoming."

Legolas watched him silently.

"Lothlorien seemed... more what I would have expected of Mirkwood." Gimli's hands closed around the shaft of the paddle. "As my father has spoken of it in days of old." The history of Thorin Oakenshield's imprisonment in the dungeons of Thranduil lay between the dwarves and the elves, and Gloin's lay between Legolas and Gimli.

"My father lacks the Lady's power, and yet..." Legolas shook his head. "Welcome is waning in all the lands. We had little enough in the Dwarrowdelf."

Gimli bristled, defensive, and then grew sad. "Balin would not have had it so."

"The welcome Balin found in Moria was also lacking." Legolas laid his hand on Gimli's shoulder to comfort him.

Gimli looked at it, but made no move to slap it away. "Of all the elves I have met, I think Galadriel is the most lovely and the most terrible."

"And I?" Legolas asked lightly, but his eyes were keen. Looking in them, Gimli thought of Legolas' hands on him in Moria... and since. "How fares this elf in your esteem since Rivendell?"

"You at least know how to welcome orcs-- with swift steel and without mercy." Gimli did not say more, and Legolas' hand lay yet upon him.

"That is one form of welcome our peoples share." Legolas smiled on him openly, as the Lady of the Galadrim never had, and Gimli blinked at him, dazzled. For a moment it seemed Legolas looked straight into his heart, as the Lady had. Gimli Gloin's son, who had stood fast before many foes and laughed at his peril, now trembled.

A shout from Aragorn roused him; the twilight had closed in about them and the other boats were hardly visible, a pale glimmer on the stream far ahead. Gimli scrambled to face forward, reaching for his paddle. "Perhaps there are other things we might learn that our peoples share," Legolas spoke softly from near behind him.

Gimli only grunted and drove his paddle into the water, not daring to look back.
Chapter 2. The Ways Of Riders by Bill the Pony
Author's Notes:
Summary: Legolas and Gimli share a horse as they seek Merry and Pippin in Rohan.
The Riders of Rohan put Gimli onto Arod behind Legolas, and though the top of the horse's head was no higher than he could lift his axe, it seemed as though the ground were miles below him, more so because the beast was ever moving. He wrapped his arm around Legolas and clung to him, glad of the elf's confidence, and of other things, though what they were he feared to tell.

They loped off across the grass after Aragorn at a great pace, and Gimli buried his head at Legolas' back, terrified for a time; the steed was swift and though its gait was smooth, Gimli bounced upon its back and would have been glad of a saddle with stirrups.

"How fare you, Gimli?" Legolas' voice came over his shoulder. "Do you see how fast we travel? Have you yet lost your reluctance to ride?"

Gimli just clutched tighter, resentment kindling in him at the obvious joy in Legolas' voice, for he was miserable, and yet Legolas was warm against him, and Gimli felt heat glow through him as though a forge had kindled between them. It made his tongue unwary. "If I must ride, I would prefer a different steed!"

Legolas laughed, the wind of their passage sending the sound rippling back over the plains. "And what steed would you prefer? I thought that dwarves did not ride at all, and yet if you say that they do, then I am sure they make a pretty craft of it, for I have been amazed by all that I have seen of dwarven skill."

Gimli bit his tongue and was sorry he had spoken, but he did not loose his hold on Legolas. "When we ride we prefer mounts of our own choosing, which are closer to the ground!"

The elf laughed again and did not challenge him anew for answers, leaning forward to whisper in Arod's ear, and the beast's gait changed, growing smoother. Gimli swayed dizzily, clinging to Legolas' belt until he sat upright again. "You would have me fall," he accused, "and though I have on mail of my own make, I would not bounce on the turf like an elf!"

"You will never fall while you are mounted with me," Legolas's voice was sober and not so, a thread of laughter in it, and something more. "And perhaps you could teach me much of riding, in the dwarven style!" Gimli blinked, certain at last of what he heard, and his armor was a comfort to him, for though it protected him no more from Legolas than it would from the blast of a dragon's breath, it hid his interest in the elf's words. "Would a bird go to a fish to learn of flying?" Gimli scoffed. "Do not mock me, elf, if you would ride with me!"

"And will you let me ride with you if I do not?" Almost there was something fearful in Legolas's voice.

"A dwarf does not ride lightly." Gimli fell silent, and he would have released Legolas, if he dared.

"And I do not take saddle lightly, or without a care for my steed."

For that Gimli found no answer, and they rode on a time in silence, until Gimli could bear it no longer and spoke again. "Would you saddle one steed to ride for life, and that mount a shaggy pony?" Gimli felt bitterness rise in him, and he wished that he had kept his silence. "For that is the way of the dwarves, and it is not the way of elves. Though you were offered the prince of horses himself, you would not take such a bargain willingly!"

Legolas turned his head and looked down on him from over his shoulder, his fair face troubled.

"I would wager you have seen many saddles, elf, and bridles too, and yet this is the first time my own legs have not been enough to bear me." Gimli grit his teeth and clung to the elf's belt, awaiting his answer, for he felt his heart was revealed, and he regretted his candor. "I tire of this game, Legolas. I do not make my way by words, for they show two faces to the world, and they may take on false meanings. Make yourself plain to me! I will have deeds or I will have nothing."

Legolas did not speak or move then, except to guide Arod. Gimli closed his eyes and cursed the wind for bringing tears to them. And so they passed under the eaves of Fangorn.
Chapter 3. Time For Deeds by Bill the Pony
Author's Notes:
Summary: After long years, Legolas comes to a decision.
After he had made himself known to Legolas, there were no more words of double meaning for Gimli, and no more sweet songs of invitation rang in his ears. None could but admire the deeds of the elf in battle, but there were no deeds to which Legolas set his hands with Gimli other the deeds of war and honor.

Though Gimli was saddened, he did not wish for others to know, least of all Legolas himself. For as he reckoned it, the fish who refuses to swim after seeing that birds fly is a fool, and Gimli son of Gloin would not be thought a fool by either man or elf.

And there were deeds of his own for doing-- orc-necks to hew, stone to move and work, battles to be fought and paths both fell and beautiful that he had yet to wander, and there were plans in his mind for the Glittering Caves of Aglarond and also for the gift of the Lady of Lorien, should the shadow be defeated. Therefore Gimli stayed by Legolas' side and journeyed with him throughout the war, and they were fast friends, for though sorrow grew in Gimli's heart, he did not speak of it. Those who knew him well were kind and kept their counsel, but those who knew him less well were aware of no stain on his heart.

When he had returned from battle and taken many of his kin from the Lonely Mountain unto the Glittering Caves and made with them a mansion there, he took power, but he took no wife. He was named Elf-Friend, and those who knew him from before spoke of the Sorceress of the Golden Wood. They said she had bewitched him with her beauty, for he kept as an heirloom in his house a token of her hair: three strands woven in a braid and set in gold and crystal, and he would lift his axe to any who spoke ill of her name. For his part, Gimli was content to let them think that it was so, for it was near the truth and yet it was no source of shame, for Galadriel had been wed to Celeborn for many long ages before Gimli's mother bore him into the world, and so he turned a deaf ear to the whispers of his kin.

Thus for many years Gimli's hands flowed with gold, and yet as the Lady of the Wood had foreseen, over him gold had no dominion.

And so it came to pass that in the sixtieth year of Gimli's reign as Lord of the Glittering Caves, a messenger came to him from the King of the Elves in Fangorn. He was allowed inside the Deep, for the peoples of the two lands were on friendly terms with one another as their races had not been since the days when there was commerce between Durin's folk and the elves of Hollin.

Dwarven heralds brought the messenger before Gimli, and Gimli's eyes were dimmed, for it was many years since had seen an elf, and the youth's fair face brought back memories long past. The elf was young, but tall and straight and slender, and his hair flowed like molten gold. His face made Gimli think of Legolas, whom he had not seen since they parted between Mirkwood and the Lonely Mountain after the sundering of the Fellowship.

"I am Lagor, son of Legolas of Mirkwood." The lad bowed before him and Gimli was astonished; yet he was grieved, for Lagor was beautiful, and Gimli guessed rightly that his mother was as lovely as the Sun. "I bring a message from my father."

"Deliver it," Gimli said, and for the first time he felt mortal age creeping upon him, though he was hale and his beard not yet entirely silver.

"My father says to you: 'The time for speech across the miles between us is now done, and the time for deeds has come. The Third Age is gone, and the Fourth Age is ripening.' Will you ride with him to the Havens now?"

Gimli looked about the gleaming beauty of the halls that he had made, and studied those of his kin who stood near-- his cousins and his nephews, for he had sired no son to follow him in rulership. He called to himself his trusted counselor Gani, the grandson of Oin, and set the scepter into his hands, and he took the jeweled crown from his brow and set it upon Gani's head.

"I will go, and I will not return." Gimli lifted his hand for silence as the dwarves around him cried out their dismay. He would not be gainsaid, but he placed the gift of Galadriel in Gani's hands and put aside his fine golden chain mail, and put on again the iron armor and took up the pack he wore of old.

Going out into the valleys of the Deep he blinked against the brightness of the sinking Sun, and when his eyes cleared he saw a small host of elves assembled before the wall of the Deep, with Legolas in the forefront, riding upon a fine white horse of Rohan.

As Gimli watched Lagor sprang up onto his own horse, and he and the Elvish company turned back toward Fangorn, but Legolas stayed and he reached down to Gimli, smiling.

But Gimli hung back and was doubtful, for Legolas was as beautiful as he remembered, and anger kindled in him as he thought of Lagor. "Do your son and his mother ride with you to the Havens?"

"They will stay in Mirkwood, for the Sea does not yet call them."

"I am to ride with you to the Sea, and then turn back alone?" Gimli asked gravely, and he thought then of the keen edge of his axe, and the refuge it might offer from his sorrows. Legolas looked on him with pity.

"Your heart had already made its choice long ago, had it not, that you would have no other?" Legolas was sober. "You, Gimli, who spoke to me then of deeds, should have acted on your heart's desire. When you did not, I deemed that the choice still lay open to you. Yet for many years I have watched, and you have taken no wife. Your line will not continue, though I would not have had it so," he said. "I have thought long on the matter, Gimli, and my heart tells me that I wrong you by giving you the chance to choose elsewhere, for it is plain to me now that you will not." Legolas freed his foot from the stirrup and reached out to Gimli once more.

"I will speak plainly to you now, Gimli. If you wish it so, I would have you ride with me across the Sea and be my heart's companion in the West, if the Eldar will allow it. If they will not, I will stay with you in Middle Earth for the rest of your days before I seek the Sea and sail to Elvenhome. Whatever be our fate, we will ride together, if you would have me." His eyes were filled with hope.

Gimli laughed harshly then and groped for Legolas' hand, near blinded by a veil of tears. "I have been a fool indeed. We will ride together at last, elf!"

Their hands clasped and Gimli's sturdy boot found the stirrup; Legolas swung him up onto the horse's back. Legolas' arm went around him even as their steed sprang forward, and as he drew Gimli's head back and bent to kiss him, the dwarves who watched on the wall were amazed to see their King and the King of the Elves cleave together.

In the wood of Fangorn and in the Glittering Caves of Aglarond, songs tell that it was long before they reached the Havens, for they taught each other much of riding as they tarried along the way.
Chapter 4. Hands That Sing by Bill the Pony
Author's Notes:
Summary: Legolas and Gimli come together after long years apart.
By the time the stars came out, clear and sparkling in the sky, the warmth of Legolas' arms and the rocking gait of the horse had lulled Gimli, and he was near sleep. Branches swayed overhead, sighing in the breeze, echoing the soft whisper of song-- Legolas was singing, so quietly Gimli could barely hear him, the words beautiful though he did not know their meanings.

Legolas halted them in a dell next to a murmuring stream; willows arched over the grass, grey in the moonlight. Legolas dismounted, and held out his hand to Gimli, who took it and dismounted awkwardly, for the horse was very tall. Legolas moved to unfasten his saddlebags as Gimli stiffly strode toward the quietly rippling water; he was not used to horses.

And he was not used to his companion, either, after so many years. He had given up hope so long ago that now its kindling inside him was almost a dreadful thing--he could not help but fear what was to come nearly as much as he desired it. Legolas, he knew, was beautiful, and knew much of the flesh. He had lived long, and he had fathered a son, but Gimli had none, and had never ventured to touch another for pleasure. And though Gimli knew he was reckoned comely among his own people, and had never doubted his worth, the elves had a different sort of beauty. Thinking of himself set next to Legolas, he was uncertain that he would be found worthy-- as he had not found rubies or sapphires, though they were beautiful and precious stones in their own right, fit to be included in the gold and crystal case which framed the gift of the Lady of Lorien.

He turned his head and watched Legolas set their baggage on the green; Gimli had little enough, for he had come away in haste, and the elf traveled lightly, but he had brought blankets, and now he spread them beneath the arch of the willows so that they made a bed large enough for two. Then he wove the branches together so that they drooped to shelter the little bower, trailing lightly on the green.

For his part, Gimli ignored the pounding of his heart, and he gathered wood and kindled a fire; his companion was handy with his bow and they soon had meat to spit over the flames. Gimli found that he was hungry; it had been long since he tasted simple camp fare: rabbit roasted over flame with naught but a pinch of salt to season it.

As he ate, Legolas slipped around the fire and sat behind him; Gimli trembled to feel the elf's fingers touch the clasp of his grey cloak, then move to his helm and lift it away, but he did not gainsay Legolas, and soon he felt the elf's slender fingers unbraiding his hair and spreading it over his shoulders. His eyes closed and he forgot the meat as Legolas leaned in and scented him, long low breaths that rippled back out like the stream that flowed at their backs. Legolas made quick work of the crossed belts that held his axe and weapons at his waist, and then of his finely worked leather jerkin, which soon lay beside them.

Next came the jointed plate, a partial covering that protected Gimli's shoulders and biceps, its fastenings a more difficult task for the elf's fingers, but Gimli sat still and let him work, curious in spite of himself to see whether Legolas, who wore only cloth and leather himself even in the thick of battle, knew enough of armor to remove it. He proved equal to the task, though it took time, and at last the jointed plate lay on Gimli's leather jerkin.

Legolas's fingers touched his hauberk next, and Gimli sighed. He had rarely been without armor throughout the many years he had lived, and never in company, but for Legolas, he would be bared. The chain mail was heavy, for it covered Gimli from wrist to calf, and yet Legolas was stronger than he looked. He lifted the heavy mail carefully and Gimli moved to let him, raising his arms. He wore another layer of sturdy leather beneath, and Legolas laughed softly. "Did you think that you would find foes waiting at your gate?"

"I've waited a long time to be peeled, elf." Gimli grumbled. "Will you grudge me the chance to enjoy it?"

"I had no idea dwarves had so many layers." Legolas touched the buckles that held the last of the armor secure on Gimli's body. "And yet, long have I known that they often do not show their truest selves on the surface."

Gimli sought Legolas' expression, unsure whether he was being mocked, and found that the moonlight reflected softly in the elf's eyes, and he was smiling, but the smile was fond. Of a sudden, humor no longer mattered to Gimli. He reached up and his fist closed gently in Legolas's long golden hair, and he tugged him down.

Legolas came to him with a will, and his mouth opened sweetly on Gimli's for a time, then he drew away.

"Have you at last decided that you can trust an elf?" There was a shadow of old hurt beneath his words.

"Do not mock me with words spoken in foolish youth." Gimli was regretful. "I have long wished that I had never uttered them."

"Then they are forgotten." Legolas slid his fingers under the leather, and Gimli sighed.

The night air was cool on his bare flesh, and he felt exposed and vulnerable. Though there had been no orcs to fear for many long years, he understood he would never be at ease as Legolas was, wearing only a bit of cloth and leather between himself and the chance of foes.

Even so, Gimli felt proud of his body now, as Legolas touched him where no other had. His armor was the proof of his smithcraft, and he had never been wounded through it. Nor had he let himself sit idle as King. He had worked long hours at the forge and at works of masonry alongside his kin; he bore hard muscle on his bones.

"You are unscarred..." Legolas whispered, his palm open wide on Gimli's chest, and Gimli's heart warmed to his friend's understanding.

"A dwarf with a whole hide is one with a skilled hand at the forge, and one who has a strong and steady hand with his axe," Gimli answered him gruffly but with pride. He stood and went for wood to throw on the fire; when he had fed the blaze he turned to look at Legolas, and his breath left him.

The elf dropped his tunics on the green next to Gimli's armor, and his pale chest was beautiful-- slender but strong, he was plainly a warrior in his own right, and he was near as pale as Gimli himself.

Gimli came to him and reached to touch skin as luminous as pearl with fingers callused like horn. "You shine in the firelight like pearl and opal," he said. "And you are as finely carved as any delicate shell of stone in my lands wrought by a thousand years of flowing water, for there is nothing that can compare to you among the craft of my people."

"And you are as strong and as fair and as wise as the oldest tree in my lands, born of the earth and rooted fast in it, true through the very heart of you, stubborn and defiant against the storm. And again you have a gift for words that humbles my own." Legolas smiled. "But if you will, I would let my hands speak the words of my heart." So saying, he reached out to Gimli, and Gimli went into his arms.

Legolas' hands spoke then, and later, they sang.
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