Author: Athea (
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Pairing: Legolas/Gimli and Merry/Pip
Title: Beneath it all, part two
Summary: A lesson in love.
Date: 22 February 2002

Merry watched us warily but even I could see that the one he wanted to look at was his fellow halfling. Pip was blushing so hard that I felt the heat from his bright red cheeks. Legolas sighed out loud and we all looked to him.

"Merry, we would appreciate your help. Gimli and I ... we are ... oh dear, how awkward this is." His shy look would have done any blushing maiden proud. "I fell in love with Gimli moons ago and just discovered that he feels the same way."

The hobbit looked between us with wide eyes. "Really? What can I do?"

"Are ... are you disgusted with us?" I asked him, trying for a little quiver of lip.

"NO!" He squeaked and looked everywhere but at Pippin. "I mean ... it's nice that you both can love each other. Being an Elf and a Dwarf shouldn't stand in the way of true love."

"But we're both male, Merry." Legolas' voice was whisper soft.

He sat up straight and looked firmly at us both. "That doesn't matter either. Love is very precious and if ... if someone male loved me," he took a deep breath. "I would love him back."

Pippin's face had the most astonished look that I've ever seen. His mouth was a perfect 'O' and his eyes were rounder than a hobbit-door. "Merry? Oh, Merry, is it me? Please say it's me."

Merry blushed red but nodded yes. I rescued the tray when Pippin launched himself at his friend. A more enthusiastic kiss I have never seen and I found myself caught between a smile and a tear. Legolas ran his hand up my leg to catch my hand and bring it to his lips. If the two hobbits had suddenly stripped and begun making love, I wouldn't have noticed.

The heated eyes that looked into mine promised me a kiss that would surpass the one still going on beside us. But my stomach growled again and he started to laugh. "My poor Gimli, we must feed you, ere you decide to gnaw on one of us."

That put a picture in my mind that must have showed in my eyes because he suddenly blushed and handed me another slice of bread. "Food, my love. Eat, grow strong and I shall think of something for you to ... suck upon."

I devoured the bread while keeping an eye on the two Halflings, nestled together like two peas in a pod. Their whispers were sweet to my ear and I split my gaze between them and my smiling lover. The sausages were bland but my hunger didn't care and I devoured them all once Legolas shook his head. He was nibbling on a muffin and I had a sudden urge to clean his lips of crumbs.

He knew what I was thinking and teased me with a swipe of his pink tongue over those beautiful lips. My stomach hunger was assuaged but my heart hunger was growing. The hobbits sat up still holding on to each other. Their faces were bright, eyes shining and I felt my own lips curve upwards.

"Thank you, both." Merry blinked at us. "The baths are ready on the lower level. That's what I came by to tell you. They'll stay hot because of the fires so you can take your time. Pippin, let's go have a bath right now so we can go back to your room."

The youngest hobbit bounced up and hugged my lover hard then threw himself into my arms. "Thank you, thank you, thank you. Let's go, Merry."

They dropped off the bed and raced hand in hand to the doorway. With a wave over their shoulders they disappeared, banging the door behind them. Legolas was laughing again but even better, he was moving next to me and shrugging off his robe. "How very energetic they are, Gimli. I wonder if Frodo and Sam are a couple also?"

"Perhaps, Legolas, but at the moment, I do not care. I am satisfied to finally be alone with you again." I handed him the tray and nodded towards the table. "Set that aside. What I want now is bare skin and just you and me in this bed."

"I like the way you think, my love. But perhaps this time we should lock the door. Havens knows who might come by next." He laughingly turned the key and laid it on the table with the tray. My nightshirt hit the floor at almost the same moment that he slid into bed beside me. His skin was cool and not for the first time, I wondered if that was normal for all Elves. He molded himself to me with a little sigh of contentment. "Warm, you're always so warm, Gimli."

"Ah, I wondered why you always slept so close on our journey. You just love me for my heat." I tried for a put-upon sigh but most of me was distracted by the feel of him.

"Never, my love, although it was a factor in the deep caves where the bitter cold ruled." His hands caressed my chest and I had to catch my breath.

My own hands were smoothing soft patterns on his back, up to his broad shoulders and down to the perfect globes of his ass. He trembled a little when my blunt fingers slid down his crease. But it was my turn when his lips found one of my nipples to suck. His legs fell to either side of mine and I gently brushed across the small pucker that I found between his cheeks. He moaned and tenderly bit the nipple over my heart. I could feel the passion rising in me while my cock twitched and began to fill.

"Beloved, what more would you like to do right this moment?" I asked him, wondering what experience he might have with lovemaking.

He flicked his tongue over my taut bud and I shivered. Then letting go of it, he raised up enough so he could look in my eyes. "I would like to do everything with you but while I know the basics of male loving, I have ... never indulged."

I knew the basics also. "Perhaps you should come inside of me first. This arrow," I slowly slid my fingers around his cock, "would fit me quite well, I think. It's been a while but I do remember that feels very good."

"Really? We still need oil so I don't hurt you." His smile was just as shy as the one with which he'd graced Merry, but this one was real.

"Don't we still have some of that sweet oil from Rohan?" I thought about the saddlebags we'd carried up here.

"Yes, I think we do." His dark eyes sparkled while he kissed me. I tasted the apple from his mouth and thought it less sweet than his own taste. I could have sucked on that smooth tongue of his for an hour or more but he pulled away with a moan and slid to my side. "Oh, Gimli, what havoc you wreak within my breast."

"No less than mine. I never knew how very empty I was until I met you." Threading my fingers through his fair hair, I coaxed a soft sigh from him. "You are like that Ent drink that satisfies all appetites. Well, most appetites."

He chuckled and rose up on one elbow, his dark eyes smiling into mine. "That empty ache was mine as well," he kissed me gently before relaxing onto my chest. "I'm so very glad we took this journey together."

I stroked his hair in what had become my favorite caress. The peace that wrapped us in its cloak was a blessed relief after the clamor of war. Idly I thought about the Fellowship that had separated but had now come together again. We'd lost Boromir but gained his brother Faramir. And Gandalf had died but been born again to us. The Halflings had all survived although the cost to the Ringbearer and his faithful friend remained to be seen.

"Legolas, do you think that Frodo and Sam are all right?"

He sighed and kissed my throat. "It is too soon to tell. I have great hopes that Aragorn was able to heal the hurts. The Ring was a heavy burden for one so young and small."

"Size matters not, my friend." I pretended indignation.

"It is true that wonderful things come in small packages." He smiled into my skin and licked his way up to my aching lips. "Small ... explosive ... sweet."

"Sweet?" I said gruffly.

He laughed silently and kissed me. His tongue stroked mine slowly and I absorbed the taste of him. His light scent filled my senses and his hands trailed fire behind each touch. My own fingers were busy tracing each muscle of the long arms that cradled me. His body had warmed with our love play and he moved like a sleek cat over me.

"Dear Havens, how very soft your curls are." His lips left mine and ghosted over my nose to my eyelids. "Your solid body belies the beautiful hair you hide beneath your armor. So tender," he whispered with a soft kiss to my left eyebrow. "Velvet skin," he brushed his lips across my right temple. "Soft as a fluffy bunny."

My eyelids shot open and I glared at him. "Fluffy bunny? Are you insane, Elf? No dwarf has ever been or ever will be fluffy."

He laughed out loud and I realized that he'd said that on purpose. I rolled him onto his back and began to tickle his sides while he hiccuped and tried to escape my teasing fingers. We slowed our play finally and I looked down into dancing eyes with a feeling of almost disbelief.

"I love you, Legolas Greenleaf. Do you think the hobbits have left us any hot water?"

His smile was brighter than the sun. "I love you too, Gimli, son of Gloin. We should go and see about the baths. Perhaps Frodo will have awakened and we can check on them."

"Good idea. I suppose we have to get dressed to seek the lower levels?" I rolled off him and stretched before slipping from the bed.

"I would not willingly share the sight of your strong body with the other inhabitants of this palace." He followed me out of bed and I looked at him in amazement.

"I'm not the one that they'd be looking at, Legolas. Such beauty as yours shines within these cold, stone walls." I told him true and watched him blush. Amazing. He seemed to not see the beauty that shone from him. "You need to stay close to me and I will protect you from the many admirers who will no doubt appear now that the war is over."

He stilled pulling up his breeches and looked wonderingly at me. "The war is truly over, Gimli."

Smiling, I found my pants near the fire. "We survived, my love. Lucky for you that you had a sturdy dwarf to protect you."

Sinking to the floor before me, his long fingers stilled my fumbling hands. "I thank the Lady for you every day, beloved."

We kissed tenderly before separating to dress enough to be seen in public. I loved watching his graceful gestures and once again compared us unfavorably. How could he possibly love my dwarf-shape? Somehow he always seemed to know when I was feeling despondent and he knelt once again to tug my tunic into place.

"You are the foundation of my world, Gimli. Like the stone that houses us or the soil that grows our food, you keep me grounded in the real world and not lost in elven dreams. I delight in your strength and passion." His hand cupped my cheek. "Never doubt my faithfulness or the love that has grown over the length of our journey."

"Never! I do not doubt your love, Legolas. Perhaps your eyesight?" I said weakly, ashamed of my uncertainties.

His smile was loving and he kissed me gently before rising and holding out his hand. When I took it, he led me towards the door. "My eyesight is just fine, Gimli. We will work on these feelings over the next hundred years or so. Not even a stubborn dwarf can hold out that long."

I laughed out loud and followed him from the room. Those years should be very interesting, I thought fondly. The other inhabitants of this palace bowed to us and a serving maid showed us the stairs that descended into the lover levels. The hot steamy air rose to greet us and I immediately started to itch. It had been moons since we'd had a real bath with hot water and soap.

Even Legolas began to hurry and we entered a room filled with wide tubs that steamed. The grates in the stone floors showed tunnels underneath that carried away dirty water but also allowed for fires that kept the tubs and water hot. Some felt hotter than others but my lover headed for the one near the back wall where the steam was thickest.

I looked for the Halflings but didn't see them. Only two tubs sported naked bodies and they were both Men. Legolas was already disrobing by the time I reached the huge tub that looked like it could hold all of the Fellowship combined. I caught a glimpse of someone already in it and I paused while I tried to see who it was.

"Join me, my friends." Aragorn's tired voice reached my ears. He looked like the stone back was the only thing holding him up. "Wash off over there then come back to soak in this one. There's soap on the shelf above."

Legolas nodded and led me to a shallow tub with the signs of much splashing on the floor. We ducked ourselves and washed each other clean. If we lingered here and there, well, there was no one who might look askance. It was the height of luxury to have his strong fingers washing my long hair. It felt so good that I could have stayed there for a long time. But his soft locks beckoned my fingers and I gave back as good as I got. We were both well washed by the time we drained the dirty water out one end while clean water came in at the other.

The water was blood-hot as I sank into Aragorn's tub, finding a shelf under the water to support me, although my chin barely cleared the top of the water. Legolas sank beside me and sighed with pleasure. We soaked for long moments until I remembered to ask about Frodo.

Aragorn's sigh told part of the story. He spoke of the missing finger, the fumes that almost gassed them both and the strong fatigue that was perhaps the worst of all. They had almost no reserves left to fight the battle for life. Frodo's battle was the worst because of his close proximity to the Ring and its constant pull toward evil. Sam would bounce back sooner but Frodo would need our strength to draw upon in his recovery.

My hand found Legolas' under the water and we held onto each other while we thought about what might still come to our young friend. Time and good cheer would both help in the healing process.

"And what of you, my friends? How goes it with you?" His half-smile told me that he well knew what had finally happened.

"We are together, Aragorn, in all things." Legolas said simply.

"I am glad." His tones were affectionate. "Our Fellowship is doing better than I thought it might at the beginning of this journey. Have you seen Merry and Pippin?"

I chuckled and Legolas gestured for me to tell what had happened earlier. Aragorn laughed out loud and shook his head.

"Not unexpected but good news just the same." He stretched and winced a little. "I'd best be off, out of the City. We're setting up in tents outside Minas Tirith."

"Hold fast, my king. You're holding that shoulder too stiffly for my liking." Legolas stopped him and pressed him down beside me, facing out. He ran his hands over the broad back before stopping at the left shoulder and flexing his fingers. "Move your arm up and ..."

I heard a click and Aragorn's frown turned to a smile. Strong massages from my mate's talented fingers soon had him sighing. "Thank you, Legolas. I'd forgotten those magic Elven fingers of yours. Will I see you both later?"

"Call us and we will come, Aragorn." I watched him climb over the side and head for the towels stacked in a basket on a higher shelf to keep them from getting wet. "Do you wish us to join you in your tent city?"

"Not at the moment, my friends. We will hold council in a day or so. The Halflings are housed on fourth level near your room." He threw the now damp towel into a different basket and began to redress in black leather breeches with a soft gray shirt. "I'll return to check on Frodo at dawn tomorrow."

"We'll see you then. Take time for yourself, Aragorn. It seems there will be a future after all." I told him and watched him smile.

"Amazing, Gimli but welcome all the same. Be well." He stamped into his boots and left almost as silently as an Elf.

"His burdens now quadruple." My lover sighed and rejoined me on the seat. "He is strong but I still feel that I must help in any way I can."

"We, beloved, we must help as he allows." I reminded him with a smile.

"Yes," his smile lit up the cloudy chamber. "You are my greatest blessing, Gimli. We shall take the future one day at a time."

"Yes." I agreed while we soaked until I felt the heat almost too much and we agreed to get out to dry off.

My weariness caught me by surprise but I tried to hide it. Legolas said nothing but even his straight back seemed to droop a little. He braided my damp hair then I returned the favor. Making our way slowly back up to our room, we found a fresh tray of food waiting. Stripping down to skin, we ate heartily before the yawns began again. My lover stretched out his hand and drew me back to bed.

We cuddled close together and pulled up the warm blankets. Sleep came swifter than thought. And I was so tired that I didn't even dream.

The end for now