Fear and Promise by Aithilin

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Story notes: There are a few direct quotes from the movie in there, so, those aren't mine either.
Gimli followed Aragorn up the stairs, grinning like a madman, he wanted to see the Elf's reaction to their leader's return. He could just see Legolas' expression now, open-jawed awe most likely. It was something the Dwarf wanted to remember. He saw Aragorn stop suddenly, and moved to stand a little away, never taking his eyes off of his Elven friend.

"Le ab-dollen,[You're late]" Legolas' soft voice just barely reached Gimli's straining ears. The Dwarf cursed the Elf's seeming need to be so quiet, how could he have any fun that way?

Legolas looked Aragorn over, "You look terrible."

Gimli snorted and smiled as Aragorn laughed. The Dwarf suddenly frowned as he saw the gentle look pass the Elf's features, as well as the pain as the blonde placed the treasured Evenstar in the hand of its bearer. Gimli thought that such a look had no place on such fair features. Aragorn patted Legolas once more on the shoulder and visibly steeled himself to enter Theoden's hall.

"You must be glad he's back, lad," Gimli said as he came over. Legolas did not even look down at his friend.

"I am grateful that he lives yet."

"But?"

Legolas smiled sadly and started to leave, Gimli followed the Elf down the steps and to one of the smaller passes. "You do not give up, my friend Dwarf."

"Nor do you, silly Elf. Now, tell me what it is that is troubling you. Or I will beat it out of you, if I must."

Legolas leaned against a wall in the narrow passage way and Gimli wondered if he would have to stand by his threat.

Finally, the Elf spoke, slowly and softly. "Did you know that Elves may die of broken hearts?"

Gimli nodded slowly, "'Tis common knowledge."

"I have never loved before, Gimli. My people love once, and seldomly ever again. Now, even with Aragorn here, we are faced with a losing battle. And I fear that my heart will die, even if that battle is won."

"You will not die this night, Legolas," Gimli growled. "Nor any other as long as I draw breath. What of this talk of love? Must you damn Elves be so cryptic?"

Legolas smiled and lowered himself to the ground, folding his legs beneath him. "What good is love if it is hidden? Or left to the worse fate, rejected?"

"You long for Aragorn then."

"No. Please, Gimli, I do not wish to say. Let me in peace?"

Gimli was growing impatient. He had long since noted the fairness of his friend, comparing it to the radiance of Galadriel and finding it far more tangible. Like a rare diamond among pieces of gold, being compared to a star. The Dwarf chulckled slightly, drawing Legolas' curiosity.

"What amuses you?"

"My thoughts," Gimli said; "Soon I will be sounding like an Elf."

Legolas cocked his head, drawing one knee up and leaning back. "And what are your thoughts, Master Dwarf?"

"The most dreadful of things, my dear Elf: poetry. Comparing gold to diamonds and diamonds to stars. Though not for the profit I would once consider."

Legolas chuckled, and Gimli smiled. "See? You still have life in you yet, Elf. It only takes the right humour."

"Thank you Dwarf. Though perhaps I have a new task?"

"And what is that?"

"Making you an Elf."

Gimli tried to swat Legolas as the Elf jumped up in a show of impossible grace. Gimli followed his friend back the way they had come, slightly pleased that he had lifted Legolas' mood, but could still see that the weight of the coming nights were still heavy on his shoulders.

"Legolas? Gimli?"

The two ascended to where Aragorn stood with Theoden, waiting for them. Even to Gimli's eyes, the Man seemed more 'kingly', standing tall and proud with the Evenstar hanging around his neck.

"We have a war to prepare for."




Gimli saw Legolas' distress as the Elf looked around the armoury. Children were being given weapons, as well as men that had long since depended on a cane to stand. The Dwarf shook his head, all he wanted was a group of his kin to watch his back.

"Farmers, farriers, stable boys...These are no soldiers," Aragorn said as he came to stand before the Elf and Dwarf.

Gimli shook his head, "Most have seen too many winters."

"Or too few," Legolas added. "They are frightened...I can see it in their eyes."

Nearly all eyes turned to the Elf and Gimli growled, Legolas was setting himself up for quite a beating at this rate. The Dwarf looked up at his friend, ready to hush him, but stopped in shock as he saw the fear and dispair in the Elf's normally stoic eyes. Legolas was terrified.

"Boe a hyn: neled herain dan caer menig,[And they should be: 300 against 10,000]" Legolas had wisely switched to his native language, though Gimli wanted to know what had been said.

A dangerous fire was in Aragorn's eyes, "Si beriathar hn ammaeg n ned Edoras."[They have a better chance defending themselves here than in Edoras]

Legolas hesitated slightly, "Aragorn, nedin dagor hen -'erir otheri. Natha daged dhaer." [They cannot win this fight. They are all going to die.]

Gimli stood from his seat quickly, fearing that Aragorn was going to strike the Elf from the way the Man moved.

"Then I shall die as one of them!"

Legolas made to follow as Aragorn stormed away, but Gimli held his friend back, fearing another confrontation. The Dwarf took Legolas' arm and pulled him through one of the other exits. He sat the Elf down, perhaps a little harder than he had meant to.

"What is wrong with you?" Gimli demanded. "Now is not the time to start a fight, we will have one at our gates in a matter of hours."

Legolas did not respond, drawing his knees to him and resting his chin on them. For the first time since they met, Gimli wondered how old Legolas was. The Elf seemed so young now, fearing a battle that may cost him his immortal life.

"Come now, tell me what you will; just let me help you regain that courage of yours," Gimli said softly, placing a hesitant arm around the Elf's shoulders.

Legolas smiled sadly, "I know that you will only tease me later, but I am afraid, Gimli. I fear that I will never see my father again, that I will never see my home again, or any of my kin..."

"Or this love you were talking of earlier?"

"Nay, I know he is strong. An accomplished warrior with strength to spare."

Legolas laughed then, a humourless sound. "You must think me weak now."

Gimli reached up and stroked the golden hair, thinking of his earlier ideas of tangible beauty. "Nay, Legolas. Foolish, silly, entirly too cheerful at times, but not weak. Never weak."

Legolas snorted and looked down. Gimli gave in to a thought he had long since had, and kissed the Elf. He straightened immediately after, fearing the look in Legolas' eyes.

"This may be our last night as friends, even if we do live," Gimli started. "But know this; so long as I breathe, I will do all I can to protect my heart from harm."

Gimli began to walk away. Legolas bolted up quickly and moved to kneel in front of the Dwarf, holding the stout form in place with just his questing eyes and two hands on the broad shoulders.

"Please, Gimli, please, tell me what you feel? Please? I must know."

Gimli caressed the Elf's pale cheek, "I love you, Elf."

Legolas kissed him then, shyly at first, but Gimli's hand moving to his hair encouraged him. The Elf coaxed Gimli to him, letting the other taste him. Panting, the two pulled away, searching each other.

"I love you, Gimli. We shall be friends when this is over, and more? If you wish it?"

Gimli smiled, "How could I not? We shall speak of this later. Right now, my lad, you must go make amends with Aragorn. I will be by your side during this battle. If I have left it, then I no longer live."

"Then I follow the same rule."

Gimli kissed Legolas quickly once more and pulled away. The Elf stood and left to find Aragorn as a Man came with a coat of chain mail for Gimli.
Chapter end notes: Feedback, please!!!
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