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//
Oh fuck. No rest. We’re off again. I think my lungs might explode.elf seems fine though. – Mustn’t stop now – elf will never let me live it down. He probably hates me – thinks I slow them down, should leave me behind.
//
We’re gaining on them. I’m worried about Gimli. – Never thought I’d be worried about a dwarf but then this is Gimli we’re talking about. He’s my companion, my friend, my...- no, mustn’t think about that...elves can’t love dwarves and dwarves can’t love elves. – He’s fallen behind again. – Just keep running Legolas – don’t think about what his beard will feel like when you run your fingers through it.
//
Stupid, beautiful elf with his long legs and all could probably run for days yet without tiring. I wish we could take a rest. At least all this running has given me some time to think. – I think I finally realised that I love the stupid blonde princeling during our walks in Lorien. But it matters not; he will never return my love. After all how could someone so fair love someone like me – short, burly, thick curly hair, scars and inkings?
//
In Lorien, once, his coverlet slipped to the side and I saw a hint of skin marked with ink. Although I was shocked at first – how could someone bear to wear a permanent mark on them for all to see – but I found myself wondering what pattern it formed part of; what was the meaning behind the markings. I think, on Gimli, the markings are beautiful. I would wish to see them, touch them, and taste them. But, as with the hair, I must not – I cannot – it would ruin what friendship we have. I think, I think that he is the one for me and I cannot survive the pain of rejection so I must stay silent lest he realise.
//
Horses. Hundreds of them. All huge. Surrounding us. Oh fuck. We can’t die here, not now. The hobbits need us. “what business does an elf, a dwarf and a man have in the Riddermark?” a pause, none of us speaks “speak quickly” that does it – no-one talks to a dwarf like that!
“Give me your name Horse-master, and I shall give you mine”
He dismounts and I think well shit no I’ve gone and done it.
“I would cut off your head, dwarf... if it stood but a little higher off the ground”
Legolas draws an arrow and in a split-second has his bow and arrow pointed at the rider’s throat.
You would die before your stroke fell” did he just defend me?? Then the others point their weapons at him and all I can think is: not him, not on my account.
//
The rider threatens Gimli and I react before I even think. Suddenly I have my bow drawn against him. Gimli won’t like that – he’ll think I think him incapable of defending himself.
Aragorn defuses the situation and we leave with two horses. I am glad that it was two not three – this way Gimli must sit behind me and hold on to my waist when we make an ascent. It lets me feel, if only for a moment that we have sworn vows and are bonded.
//
I like this new arrangement. I hate riding this blasted horse but it gives me an excuse to be near Legolas, and to hold him as I would if we were vowed. I think he would probably throw me off this horse if he ever found out about this...
//
So the hobbits are safe, and Gandalf is returned. Tonight we rest on the edges of the forest. I tell Gimli which pieces of wood are dead and he makes us a small fire. Gandalf and Aragorn walk off – presumably to talk about the hobbits or some such. Gimli and I sit in comfortable silence for a time until he begins to shift and clears his throat.
//
Aragorn and Gandalf have gone off for a while. Now is my chance – I must thank Legolas for defending me. I shuffle closer to the fire and clear my throat. He startles. He’s looking at me as if he would say something but does not know how. Shit, now I’ve started this I have to keep going. I clear my throat again. In the time it takes me to look up from the fire he speaks: “I’m sorry” what?
“What on Arda do you have to be sorry for elf?”
“I... I thought, you don’t need someone to defend you, I know that but I I just...”
“Do you think I’m upset because you defended me?” he nods. Stupid clueless elf. And then it’s out before I’ve even thought it:
“Stupid beautiful princeling I could never be mad at you” he stops breathing and stares at me wide eyed then:
“You think I’m beautiful” shit, I did say that. Oh fuck now what. He won’t want to be friends anymore – back to elf and dwarf not Legolas and Gimli.
//
“Stupid beautiful princeling I could never be mad at you” beautiful. He thinks I’m beautiful. Could I dare to hope that he loves me too? But no. Dwarves only give their hearts once. I would be a fool to think that he would give his to me – even as I have given mine to him.
“You think I’m beautiful” now he looks mad. What did I say? Is it something I did?
“What do you know of how dwarves love, Legolas?” I know what I have read in the library – that dwarves love only once, and their love is fierce. I tell him as much. He sits silent for a time. I had almost thought him asleep, then:
“I have found my love, Legolas” he cannot mean me. He must know somehow of my feelings and is trying to be gentle with me.
“I have found that despite my best efforts, my heart loves one that I cannot have” I ask who it is. He breathes deeply then turns to face me and says: “a stupid, beautiful, blonde princeling from the woodland realm” oh. It is me. He loves me. I throw myself toward him and dig my fingers into his hair as he holds me.
//
Legolas is suddenly in my arms and has his hands in my hair. This is so confusing. Surely he does not return my love. Right by my ear he breathes: “elves, too, love only once; my heart already belongs to you even if you would not have it” I have no words to answer him so I draw his face to mine and press my lips to his.
//
Lips are on mine. His lips. My Gimli loves me and accepts my love. I have no experience in this field so I yield, let him deepen the kiss. Finally, finally, after all these years I am at peace.
//fin//