Author: Athea (
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: New Beginnings, part eleven
Pairing: Gimli/Legolas
Summary: One menace is over but has another arrived?
Date: 5 May 2002

I felt like all the blood had drained down to my toes. The universe seemed intent on giving me challenges. I blinked but my father still stood in front of me with his hands on his hips and that look on his face that I'd seen once or twice in my life. It was the one that said 'what in the world have you done now?'

"Father?" I shook my head as if that would clear my sight.

"This is a fine welcome, son. I come all this way and find a mini-war going on." His tones were gruff but I thought I detected a hint of relief in his voice.

"It's not usually like this, Father. May I introduce you to my bonded, Prince Legolas of the Vestella?" I risked a quick look at my beloved who was gazing wide-eyed at my father. "Legolas, this is Gloin of the Blue Mountains."

"Welcome, Sir." He was much too pale to my eye and his smile was tremulous.

I found some energy and stood up, then helped him to his feet. Rheanas stepped to his other side and offered his strong arm. But my father's eyes had dropped to the swelling belly of my bonded and his eyes were even wider than my love's had been. I wondered how much he knew. King Thorin had obviously told him something.

"Come and be welcome to our home." Legolas leaned a little harder onto my shoulder. "Elrohir, would you and Bix take care of ... Harriman?"

"Certainly, my Prince." The twins bowed to him and the grizzled stable master nodded.

"Dinner will be ready at dusk, Prince Legolas." Jallico was eyeing my father with a rather militant eye.

"We'll come to walk you to dinner." Frodo said loudly and bowed to my father. "Welcome to our new home, Gloin."

"Thank you, Ringbearer." He bowed back to all the Hobbits but his eyes lingered on Frodo's swollen stomach.

I wondered what he was thinking and wished I had a solid hour to simply hold my love close and savor our escape from death. We began our walk back to our new home but I refused to let go of Legolas' hand. I needed that touch too much after our close encounter with the killer. When Harriman had stabbed my love, my very heart had ceased to beat. Even now, I had to keep turning to him to make sure he was all right.

His pulse was too fast and I saw the concerned looks that Rhea kept giving him. Once we got home, I asked my father to have a seat in the outer room then left for our room where our healer was examining him. He was already stripped of his two shirts. A large bruise met my eye and Rhea was listening to the babies through the 'hearing tube' against his skin.

When he saw me, Legolas held out his hand and I crossed to hold it close. "I'm fine, beloved. The bruise looks worse than it really is."

"It was still too close. I am going to be the fussiest bondmate in the history of Middle-earth from now on." I said gruffly and kissed his fingers gently.

"They are fine. I think the inactive twin has decided to join in." Rhea brought our hands to a spot on the lower right side.

The tiny flutter beneath our fingers brought tears to our eyes. "Hello, little one. We promise no more shocks from now on."

"She's going to be just fine. And so will we, beloved." Legolas blinked back his tears and smiled at me. "Now, go see to your father. I hope ..."

"Yes, I hope so, too." I leaned up and kissed him just because I could. Then squaring my shoulders, I went back into the outer room to find it empty. For a moment, I wondered if I'd just hallucinated him.

"I'm in the kitchen. We need something for the shock." His voice boomed from there and I followed the sound. The teakettle was on the stove and he'd been looking through the jars to find something to munch on.

"Father, I can do that." I looked at what he'd found and tried to remember if the ginger cookies had been baked before or after the poisoning attempt. Should I warn him of the possibility? My better nature came to the fore and I stopped him just as he was getting ready to eat one. "Father, I don't know if that is a good idea. The Man we just killed tried to poison Legolas yesterday. We've been kind of wary of anything that's been sitting around."

He glared at me then back at the cookie. "Hmph! It's a damn good thing that I brought some things from home then, isn't it?"

I finally smiled at him. "Welcome, Father. This isn't quite what I had in mind when I wrote to you so many months ago."

He laid the cookies aside and drew me into his arms. "I don't expect I could have come at a worse time but I'm here and we shall just make the best of it. I missed you, son."

My eyes filled with tears and I buried my head in his burly shoulder. For the first time since we'd parted at Rivendell, I was again his son. I hadn't realized how much I'd missed him. He rocked me a little and I let him. I felt safe again and about five years again. Everything would be all right somehow.

"I missed you too, Father." I had to clear my throat to say it but I got the words out over the lump in my throat.

The teakettle's shrill whistle broke us apart and I hurriedly wiped my eyes. Reaching for the chamomile that Legolas would need, I made a pot for him. Father harrumphed and went out to the other room, bringing back a familiar jar of the black tea from the Blue Mountains. I grinned and took down our other teapot for him. Carrying the first pot through to our bedroom, I wondered where we were going to put him.

Rhea had a cold pack placed above the bruise and he was taking his pulse again. My worry must have showed because he smiled at me. "He's going to be fine and the babies are, too. I think dinner in bed and an early night will complete the cure."

"Then that's what we'll do." I said calmly and poured him a cup of tea. "Father is making up some of our famous black tea but I think it might be too stimulating for you, love."

Those shining blue eyes opened wide and I saw him bite his lip before answering. "Is he all right with ... us?"

"I think he may be, beloved. Don't worry about it. We'll know soon enough. Now drink this tea and take a little nap while I go back and see what else he brought with him." I handed him the cup and stole another kiss for luck.

He chuckled and kissed me back tenderly. That was all the armor that I needed for the coming ... conversation. I was praying that it wouldn't be a battle. Rhea suggested that he have Jallico send over a tray for Legolas while I took my father to dinner. My love was back to biting his lip and protesting that it would look bad if he didn't make an appearance. Rumors would start to fly about his health.

That was unfortunately true. A stab would become a wound, which would morph into a life and death catastrophe. Rhea reluctantly agreed to let him up for dinner if he'd nap now and Legolas smiled triumphantly at us both. That made me chuckle and steal a third kiss before returning to the outer room and my waiting father.

He was sitting by the fire in the big chair that Legolas and I liked to share. With a cup of tea in one hand and a thick dark bar of something that looked suspiciously like a chocolate crumble cake, he looked totally at ease. I hoped that meant he wasn't going to raise a fuss about Legolas and me.

"Sit, Gimli. There's your cup of tea and some of that crumble cake that you used to like so much." He watched me sit down on the hearthstone and pick up the cup. "Now, just listen to me while I get through everything I need to say then it will be your turn. All right?"

I nodded and prayed silently to the Lady for her help.

"Well, I was surprised, Son when King Thorin came back with the tales of his trip." His dark eyes looked appraisingly at me and I kept my mouth shut. "It wasn't what I was expecting, as I'm sure you know. I am very proud of you, Gimli. You handled the entire quest quite well and I was assured that your participation was much needed. You made all of us in the Blue Mountains very proud. As the only Dwarf in the party, you represented our race with valor."

I blinked and smiled at the thought of those I'd grown up with being proud of me.

"Now, as to becoming an Elf-friend and bonding with one of them," he pursed his lips and I tensed all over. "I was surprised and shocked and somewhat appalled at first. You never seemed to have any leanings that way before and there was Griselda to consider."

"I loved her very much, Father and she will always hold a place in my memories. But Legolas is the other half of my heart and soul. I will love him until I die." I spoke quietly.

"I see." He looked deep into my eyes and I wondered what he saw there. Determination. Truth. Love. "And there's this ... unexpected side-effect that I can see."

"Legolas is carrying our twins. We think they're a boy and girl. He wants to call the boy, Glimmer." I got it all out in one breath then took a sip of tea while I watched him.

"Glimmer, son of Gimli." He said softly, remembering another conversation like this one almost fifty years ago. "It wasn't planned but an accident because of an old Elvish potion?"

"We had talked about children, Father. But we'd never thought to have our own. The war left orphans over all of Middle-earth. I had thought one or two of them might need a home and two loving parents." I took another sip. "But the Lady took a hand and put the conception potion in our way. And now, he carries our future within him."

"Males aren't made to carry and deliver babies, Son." He said gently, his wise eyes looking deep into mine.

"I know." My voice had dropped to a whisper. "If we don't find out soon, I could still lose him as I did Griselda."

"And the Man I found you with? What of him?"

I growled just a bit. "A Man of two natures who thought to have Legolas for himself after killing me and my 'demon spawn'."

"He's very beautiful, in an Elvish sort of way." Father raised his bushy black eyebrow at me. "That's the kind of trouble that might come again. Can you trust him?"

I sat up indignantly. "Of course, I can trust him. We have bonded in full view of fifty others. He takes his vows with the same seriousness that I take with mine. He's carrying our children and puts up with a dozen indignities a day because he loves them and me equally."

He grinned at me and chuckled. "It's good to see that your passions are engaged, Gimli. I came to see for myself and I believe that I'll need to stay long enough to see my grandchildren born. I've always wanted to be a grandfather. It's about time that you saw to that."

I looked at him with openmouthed astonishment and promptly burst into tears. He joined me on the hearth and gathered me in to another hug while I wept out my relief on his shoulder. His hand stroked my hair soothingly and he let me cry until I ran out of tears.

"There, there, Son. It's been a stressful day for you and my coming hasn't helped." He handed me a handkerchief and I blew my nose with a honk.

"But it has helped, Father. After Thranduil disowned Legolas, I was afraid of what you would say." I said apologetically.

"Hmph!" He snorted. "I'll thank you not to compare the two of us. I'm proud of my son and he should have been proud of his, especially since the babies will be something brand new in Middle-earth. Now, Rheanas has offered me his guestroom for now. I'm going to go and freshen up for dinner while you go in and cuddle your Elf. He and I will have a little chat later but you tell him that I'm proud of you both and he's not to worry about anything at all."

I swallowed hard and nodded, afraid to trust my voice. He dropped a kiss on my forehead and stood, picking up his rucksack on the way out. I showed him the front door and stood there for a moment, trying to take in all the changes that had happened so quickly. But part of me was in shock, so I headed back to our bedroom and my napping lover.

Rhea had left out the back and I took off my boots before crawling in beside Legolas. His sleepy murmur of my name almost made me cry again. I hadn't been this weepy in years. Maybe some of his mood swings were rubbing off on me? Placing a hand on the new spot on his swollen belly, I felt our daughter flutter out her small 'hello'. I closed my eyes and said a prayer of thankfulness before falling fast asleep.

When I awoke, Legolas was curled in my arms, just as close to me as he could get. I stroked his fair hair and thought back over the day. Harriman was taken care of; our daughter had decided to move; my father had arrived and appeared to be all right with my life as I was living it; Legolas was safe with nothing more than a bruise. How had I gotten so very lucky?

"Beloved," he yawned against my chest, the hot moist air tickling my nipple. He chuckled when it peaked for him, the way it always did. "Remember this for much later. I have the urge to taste you from here all the way down to your toes. But not just at this moment. Where is your father?"

"He's staying in Rhea's spare room for now." I kissed the top of his head and watched him tilt up to look at me. "He said that he's proud of me."

Crystalline tears formed beneath my gaze but didn't fall. "I'm so glad, beloved. And ... us?"

"He said to tell you not to worry. He's proud of both of us and it was about time that I gave him some grandchildren to spoil." I said apologetically, thinking it might sound kind of crude to say it like that.

The sweetest smile grew on his face. "How very, very glad I am that I have a wonderful lover with an even nicer father. He really said that?"

"He really said that." I dislodged him from my chest and sat up with a groan. For not having done much today, I was certainly sorer than I should be. "Now, let's get ready for dinner so we can come back here and you and he can have a chat. He brought chocolate crumble cake with him. You're going to love it."

He sprawled upon the wrinkled linens and began to laugh out loud. I grinned and slid out of bed. For the first time in a long time, all was right with my world. I had to be the luckiest Dwarf in Middle-earth to have such a loving family. And somehow, I knew that we'd find the information we needed about males giving birth. Our family had just grown by one and in a few months it would grow again.

Grandpa Gloin ... that sounded just right.

The end for now