|Author: Athea (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: Beneath it all, part twelve
Summary: The Elves arrive for a wedding.
Date: 20 March 2002
I'm a brave dwarf or at least I always thought of myself that way.
But I was beginning to doubt my courage or at the very least my sanity.
Elrond and the others had arrived two hours ago and I still hadn't gotten up the nerve to go to him and confess my love for Legolas. He was going to kill me, I just knew it. Then when he found that I'd gotten my lover pregnant, he was going to rend me from limb to limb and scatter my bones across the wastes of Morder.
"Gimli, son of Gloin." The silken tones froze me where I was trying to blend into the stone of the reception room. "We need to have a chat."
I stiffened my spine and bowed to the dark-haired Elf. "Certainly, My Lord Elrond, I am at your disposal."
"Let us walk." His face was expressionless and I gathered what was left of my courage to face the inevitable.
Legolas was talking with Arwen and Aragorn and I hoped he wouldn't see us leave. Elrond led me down to the courtyard where the new sapling had been planted and we squared off beside the bench in the quiet sunlight. Except for our differing heights, he and I looked somewhat similar. Both dark, both brooding and both stubborn, I thought silently while I waited for him to speak.
"What are your intentions towards my cousin?" He asked me, his face still blank of all expression.
"I love Legolas Greenleaf with all my heart and soul. I intend to love and cherish him for the rest of my life, forsaking all others and taking the greatest good care of him that I am able." I'd thought about what I might say but none of the long-winded speeches would be enough so I spoke from my heart.
"I see. And what are his intentions towards you?" He asked, his eyes looking over my head at the empty space behind me.
"I will love and cherish Gimli with all my heart and soul." My lover's voice surprised me and I spun around in time to see him walk gracefully to my side. His hand reached for mine and I clung to it. "He gives me such joy as I have never known and together we will love until death or the Havens."
I could not speak for fear of bursting into tears. Always, his words of love seemed to take me by surprise and astound me all over again. We turned back to Elrond to find him eyeing us both with a sparkling eye.
"Well then, I guess that I shall just have to give you my blessing and offer you a place to live. Mirkwood will not welcome a Dwarf within its halls and I seriously doubt that Legolas would be comfortable inside a mountain." His smile slowly stretched across his face while I seriously considered passing out from sheer relief.
"We thank you for the kind offer but King Elessar has already deeded us lands for our new home. There is, however, something else that we must tell you about our love." My Elf faltered a moment and looked down at me.
"Sit down before you fall down, beloved. Lord Elrond, please join him." I gestured to the bench and they sat while I stood at Legolas' shoulder, his hand in mine giving me strength. "We have ... that is Legolas is ..." I wasn't sure how to finish my sentence.
"Legolas carries your child, Gimli." The silver tones came from the arch and the other two sprang to their feet. The Lady Galadriel glided into the courtyard and bade Legolas be seated again. Sitting down beside him, she took his hand and cupped his chin. "You glow with health and new life. I shall not ask how for I suspect it is the reason that Gandalf sent an urgent message requesting all the Varyan texts that Lothlorien could muster."
"What are you talking about, Galadriel?" Elrond sputtered a little and that made me feel a bit better. "Pregnant? Is this why Gimli sent word that he wanted us to bring a healer along?"
"Yes, Frodo and I accidentally drank a Varyan conception cordial and conceived that night." Legolas' head was up but his cheeks were flushed and I put an arm around him to share my strength with him.
"The Ringbearer is also pregnant?" Elrond was definitely sputtering now and my own confidence grew with every syllable. "What, what has been going on around here?"
The Lady smiled at me and held out her other hand for me to take. "It's all quite simple, dear Elrond. For the first time in two ages, mated males will be bearing children. Love will always find a way to manifest life. We shall have to see about a bonding ceremony for Legolas and Gimli after we get Arwen and Aragorn married. Sam and Frodo, too. How ever did Sam get up the courage to tell Frodo of his love?"
So, Legolas and I told them the story, alternating between parts while the Lord and Lady listened with wide eyes. Eventually, Legolas shivered and I immediately wrapped my arms around him. He still chilled easily and since the sun had moved past this courtyard, I asked them to rejoin us inside the palace a little later. The Lady nodded and took Elrond's attention to herself so Legolas and I could escape.
We hurried upstairs and into our rooms with a sense of relief. I was practically giddy with the release of tension and Legolas wasn't far behind me. We sank onto the rug before the fire and kissed for long moments until finally we felt the need to breathe.
"Dearest Gimli, I can now admit to a small concern about how they would take the news." He smiled at me, laying down flat and resting his head in my lap.
"You were very cool and calm, my love." I smoothed back the fair hair that I loved to touch. "I, on the other hand, was a complete bundle of nerves right up until the moment that the Lady entered the picture."
He chuckled. "She has a way of doing that, Gimli. The Lady likes being inscrutable and prides herself on her ability to diffuse a situation. Why did you slip away without getting me to share in Elrond's inquisition?"
I ran my fingers soothingly through the long golden strands. "I wished to spare you the pain if he took it badly." I sighed and shook my head. "Actually, I wanted no other witnesses if he was angry. I hate scenes where lots of yelling and shouting goes on."
"Dear Heart," he captured my hand and brought it to his lips, "it is my place to share the good and the bad with you. Had Arwen not alerted me to your departure I would have missed the most beautiful words of your love. You have never said it quite that way before and I shall always cherish your words."
My eyes teared for a moment. "I meant every word and will repeat them a thousand times over the next few years." Raising his hand to my lips for a soft kiss, I held him close and remembered what the Lady had said. "Do you think that they brought many Varyan texts with them?"
"I hope so." He sighed and sat up. "I tire of being sick every day. It's time for another pot of tea."
We had our own large supply of raspberry leaves and the teakettle was always at the ready to swing over the fire to heat. His cheeks paled a little and he sat quite still while I busied myself with the now familiar chore of making tea. A soft knock at the door and Sam's voice made me call for them to come in. It was odd but Frodo and Legolas seemed to be so in parallel with each other that they got sick together.
While I made the tea, I wondered if they would continue so right through the delivery of our children. I brought the tray back to the hearth while Legolas spoke quietly of our talk with Galadriel and Elrond. The Hobbits were hopeful that the texts would throw some light on how the babies were born from their male parents. I kept back my fear that such knowledge had been lost and I would lose Legolas to untried surgery with cold steel.
Part of me wished for some magic elixir that would smooth the whole process to nothing while the dark part of my mind dredged up the screams of Griselda when she tried to deliver our small son. The contractions had been hastened by the birth fever and the pain must have been tremendous for her to lose all control and give voice to the agony. I couldn't bear it if Legolas had to go through that.
We drank our tea quietly, Sam and I joining our mates in the soothing ritual. The knock on the door surprised us all since this time of day was one that the others knew not to intrude upon. Getting up, I crossed to the door and opened it.
"Gandalf, come in." I ushered the white clad wizard to the chair that he usually took when he visited us.
"Good news, my friends. Between the two delegations and the archives here in Gondor, we now have twelve Varyan tomes to peruse. Only four of them, however, are on medical subjects. We will need to read them all but we have a dilemma." He paused and we looked at each other with questions in our eyes.
"The dilemma, Gandalf?" I asked impatiently.
"They are in ancient Elven and we'll need a healer to help decipher them. Two healers came with the Lothlorien party. Flixen, is well known among his people and he has an impressive language ability."
"But he's an arrogant Elf with an exaggerated opinion of himself and his ... charms." Legolas almost snorted. "He also hates Dwarves with a passion."
"Oh dear, I'll bet he doesn't think much of Hobbits then." Frodo said wide-eyed.
Gandalf nodded slowly. "The other healer is Rheanas and he is more of a doer than a reader. He would be my choice to actually provide your care until the babies are born. But we may need Flixen to help translate the scrolls."
Legolas and Frodo were both biting their lips while I pondered my lover's choice of words. "Dearest, did Flixen perhaps try to practice his charms on you?"
He blushed scarlet and nodded faintly. "It was several hundred years ago but I turned him down quite handily."
"I heard tell he limped for over a moon." Gandalf said with a sparkle in his eye.
Legolas dimpled at him. "Nonsense, it was no more than two weeks."
"I already don't like him." I said glumly and felt Legolas' hand slip into mine. "But if we need his expertise then I will tolerate him. I will not let any harm come to you, beloved."
"None shall, my love." He kissed me sweetly and hugged me close. "I can read the old language and I shall translate for Rheanas as we go. Gandalf, would you have him come to our rooms after the wedding tomorrow?"
"Certainly, Legolas. I'll bring the texts also so we can get right to work." He stood and shook out his robes. "Will you all be coming down to the feast tonight?"
Frodo shook his head at once. "Too much noise and rich food for me. Sam and I will stay in and have an early night."
"I agree, unless you wish to go, Gimli?" Legolas cast a speaking look at me and I hastily said no.
Gandalf snorted slightly under his breath. "Then I shall see you tomorrow."
Our goodnights were subdued and the Halflings left us for the privacy of their own room. Legolas nestled in my arms and I stroked his hair until I felt he'd calmed sufficiently. "I love you, my dearest Elf. I know that you can handle any importunate Elf but is there anything that I should know about this healer?"
"Nothing of any importance, Gimli." He chuckled. "He simply thought that a Prince of Mirkwood would be a nice stepping stone to the circles of power among the Elves. It wasn't anything personal."
I snorted and shook him just a little. "Nonsense, my dear Legolas, you are the most beautiful Elf in any Age, whether it be First, Second or Third. It is his loss that he held you less than dear. Now, what should I go beg from the kitchens?"
He stretched and pulled away. "Bread, the clear chicken broth and perhaps some of the peach flan if they made any."
Chuckling, I arose to do his bidding. "Since they know how much you love it, I expect there will be just a little available. Do we bathe first or simply sponge off tonight?"
"Goodness, no, we must bathe fully and wash our hair. If we eat first then we can have the baths to ourselves while the banquet is in full spate." His eyes gleamed. "I will brush your hair until it rivals the black silk of night, then braid it with silken ribbons in honor of our soon to be queen."
I dropped a kiss on his fair head before leaving. "Only for you, beloved."
The halls buzzed with voices and hurrying servants bent on errands for their masters. I descended to the kitchens and found Cook Tarheel directing a staff of what appeared to be hundreds.
"Ho, Dwarf Gimli, you've come for your dinner." His ruddy cheeks glowed in the hot air. "You will miss my famous roast beef with dilled potatoes and leeks steamed with basil. But when your appetite returns, I shall fix it again so you can marvel at my skill."
I bowed to the rotund man who had no false modesty about his abilities and needed none for his masterful skill. "Indeed, I shall await it with bated breath but for tonight bread, broth and perhaps some peach flan?"
He sighed sorrowfully but was already beckoning one of his minions to fetch our meal. I took the heavily laden tray covered with the silver dome to keep the food warm, bowing my thanks and leaving the flowing chaos with a sigh of relief. Thank goodness, Legolas wasn't up to the crowded banquet hall. We'd go deaf in no time at all. Not to mention the delicious smells that I'd sniffed with regret would have had him heaving in no time at all.
I took the back stairs to the fourth level and entered without bothering to knock, only to find a dark stranger at our hearth glowering at me. "I see that you've fallen low indeed, my dear Prince Legolas. Of course, dwarves can be good servants if you take the time to teach them the proper servility. I see that this one fetches and carries adequately."
"Well, well, if it isn't that healer you told me about, my friend. Vixen, wasn't it?" I smiled at him and set the tray on our table by a bristling lover who was rigid with anger. That wasn't good for the babies so I hastened to speed our unwelcome guest on his way.
"That's Flixen, Dwarf. And I am a Master Healer." He said with narrowed eyes.
"Ah, I must have misheard Lady Galadriel. Isn't it awkward with your specialty to have a name that can be so easily misunderstood?" I shook my head and looked at him as disarmingly as I could. "And why would the Lord and Lady bring a healer of the Mordor disease with the war over?"
He pulled in his breath in shock while Legolas suddenly began to tremble. The Mordor disease was simply a polite euphemism for the groin pox that went the rounds of Middle-earth every now and then.
"Well, it's certainly nice of you to stop by and say hello but I'm sure that you should be getting ready for the banquet." I stepped right up to him and crowded him to the door. "Nice to meet you, perhaps we'll see you at the wedding. Good-bye."
I shut and locked the door behind him while he was still gibbering with disbelief. Dusting my hands off, I turned back to Legolas to find him collapsed on the hearth rug. He was shaking all over and I hurried to him in alarm only to raise a laughing face to mine. Peal after peal of laughter arose and brought a self-congratulating smile to my lips. He wasn't upset after all.
"Oh, Gimli, the look on his face when you called him a vixen." He laughed so hard he had to hold onto me. "And calling him a healer of the pox. Truly, truly inspired. Oh, it hurts to laugh so."
I held him close and matched my chuckle to his. "Arrogance is easily deflected because they simply take themselves much too seriously. He didn't hurt you before I came?"
"Not at all, my love. He made me angry with his insinuations and his hurtful words about you but you took care of him quite handily." He smiled at me and cupped my cheek with tender fingers. "One of the very many reasons that I love you, Gimli, is your quick wit and scathing tongue."
I leaned in and kissed him slowly, only drawing away after a long moment. "My tongue is ever ready for your use, beloved. Just ask and it is yours."
"My love." His eyes shimmered with sudden tears but I was growing used to the mood swings that took him from mirth to sadness in the blink of an eye. "Let's eat dinner so we can bathe. I have a never-ending need to have you make slow, tender love to me."
"That need is mine, too. If you eat all your dinner, I promise you a night of passion that will leave you looking extremely well-loved tomorrow." It was my turn to stroke his fair cheek and his blinding smile was all the reward I needed.
I was rather looking forward to meeting the other healer. I would be very picky about the person into whose hands I would give the care of my love. But after meeting Flixen, I was curious about the other Elf.
Tomorrow, we'd find out if we had another for our growing community. Right now, I needed to feed Legolas his dinner so I could ravish him.