Gimli looked about the room, nodding to himself in satisfaction. Small and roughly hacked from the rock as it was, it was well appointed for a place intended only to be a bolthole in times of need. Clearly it was meant to be the temporary bedchamber of royalty - a prince, perhaps, or a trusted advisor to the King himself. Rich tapestries hung over the bare stone, and the floor was covered by a wealth of furs, as was the tall, wide bed placed in one corner. Though the only other furnishings were a table with two comfortable chairs on either side of it, they were finely carved of rare woods and inlaid with gilt trim.
To Gimli's practiced eye, the tapestry nearest the bed concealed more than wall. He would wager that another exit was hidden there, a wise precaution that said more of the value of the person meant to sleep here than the welcoming fire already roaring on the hearth, or bright torches strategically placed here and there. That had been done, no doubt, by some servant at the King's command.
To Gimli's mind it was only fitting that King Theoden had offered this room to Aragorn for a chance to rest and refresh himself before their next battle found them. Not that any had been able to persuade Aragorn to take that rest. The best that could be hoped for was that Gandalf would manage to see it done somehow before the night was too old, either by a discreet spell or by a knock to the Man's stubborn head! But Gimli did not blame Aragorn for wishing to aid as many as he could with his healing skills, nor did he truly regret being sent to this quiet, isolated corner of the keep in Aragorn's place and at his orders. For the moment, he truly craved the privacy.
Gimli reluctantly took off his helm. Slowly removing his bracers from his wrists, he eyed the trail of discarded clothing that led to the entrance to the crude bath attached to one side of the bedroom, and to the person that had inspired his unaccustomed need for seclusion. Legolas had gone straight for the promise of being clean the moment they had stepped across the threshold, taking care only with his weapons, which he had lain on the table. Though there was no tub, only a drain in the floor, the room had a good fire going, with large kettles perched over it, and abundant water from a small spring piped in from somewhere nearby.
Much as Gimli yearned to join Legolas in his ablutions, he dared not. Lust was riding him hard, clouding his mind and mixing with the remnants of battle-rage, to the point he did not trust himself not to simply try and take Legolas as roughly and carelessly as if he were merely spoils of war. For too many reasons, he was ill at ease. The mood made putting away his weapons a difficult task; his hands ached for them as though expecting attack.
With an effort of will, he set aside all blades save a small throwing ax, removed his leather jerkin, and draped it over a chair just so. It took a moment longer to convince himself to begin working on the fastenings for his hauberk, and he tarried so long at the task that Legolas caught him at it. Eyes clouding with hurt, Legolas crossed the small distance between them, unconcerned about his nakedness, and knelt in front of Gimli.
"Are you uncomfortable baring yourself to me?" Legolas asked softly, voice showing nothing but a willingness to understand whatever custom was troubling Gimli.
Gimli shook his head. "There is nothing I wish more." To prove it, he wrapped his fists in silky hair and pulled Legolas' mouth to his, using that grip to remind himself of the vulnerability of flesh. Their kiss burned into him, setting his blood to singing brightly of conquests and yielding, but he gave himself only to Legolas' command, savoring the taste of lips and velvet touch of tongue until Legolas pulled back, gaze sultry and beguiling.
"After that, I find I must believe you," Legolas said lightly, fingertips drifting over Gimli's beard and hair. "What troubles you, then?"
Heaving an exasperated sigh, Gimli said with partial truth, "Orcs are not all that is evil in this land. I have seen at least one Man's face that bore bruises from my blow, and the hatred I saw in him has me thinking longingly of the safety of goblin attack!"
Legolas frowned, expression growing distant for the moment. "I have seen them also. Wormtongue may be gone, but not his influence. A few of his spies may have remained behind to report to Saruman and do what damage they can."
"Aragorn knows they are here, as well, so there will be little mischief for now," Gimli said. "And this is Theoden's keep. If he wishes to give Grima's supporters a second chance, who are we to gainsay him? No doubt he has set his own watch on them. But it makes it difficult for me to take my ease when a knife could be waiting to find my back."
"Then we will do as we did in the wild," Legolas said promptly. "Each of us will watch over the other as we wash and tend to personal needs."
Gimli stared at him, looking for signs of mockery, but saw only solemn concern. Reminding himself sternly that Legolas was not frail or innocent, but a warrior proven and true, he grumbled his surrender and deftly undid the fastenings that had slowed him previously. With Legolas' help he undressed quickly, and suffered himself to be led to the bath where a well-padded stool and warmed bath towels awaited them.
Hot water cascading through his hair and over his body did much to erase to the unwelcome tension haunting him; and Legolas' skilled fingers working through his beard and heavy curls, untangling and combing out stray debris from the hard day, did the rest. The fierce need that had all but consumed him subsided, bubbling restlessly at the edge of his control. He did not hesitate to return the favor when it was Legolas' turn to sit and be rinsed. It was fascinating to watch the water glide over the smooth body as if caressing it, giving his skin a glow that made Gimli think of moonlight reflected in the calmest of pools.
Partly erect simply from being alone with Legolas, Gimli's maleness grew to full length, drawing up straight and tight against his belly. Legolas became aroused as well; the slender rod of his flesh rose up from his lap, tip flushed with heat and inviting a touch or taste. Gimli wanted to accept that invitation - wanted it very badly - but held back, disinclined to trust his restraint just yet. When the bath had obviously become nothing more than love-play, he put down the kettle and wrapped Legolas in a towel that was nearly large enough to be a blanket.
Gathering the fabric to keep his own hands at safely bay, Gimli drew him close and kissed him, delving deeply at once and moaning as Legolas met him with equal fervor. The first hard shudder of passion chased over Legolas, and Gimli broke away to kiss a heated line to the lobe of his ear to suckle it gently.
"Touch me, my heart," Gimli ordered hoarsely. "Now, oh, now!"
With another shiver, Legolas did as he was told, wrapping both hands around Gimli's shaft. "Not like this," he whispered, even as he slowly stroked. "I long to feel you within me, and we may have no better opportunity for many days."
Gimli deliberately thrust into the grip on him, but muttered, "I will have you this night, I swear. I will not be content until I have pierced you to the core of yourself and known you more thoroughly than any who have ever had the good fortune to lie with you."
"Ah, Gimli," Legolas breathed, barely touching their lips together. "You have already done so with just your words."
Hearing that sweet voice, but barely understanding what was said, Gimli growled endearments in his own language and freely used Legolas' hold to find relief for the interminable ache in his groin. Under that wondrous touch it was not long in coming; he rested his head on Legolas' shoulder as ecstasy racked his body, leaving him hardly able to keep to his feet. Despite the release, he stayed hard, his need not even close to fulfilled.
It was enough, though, that Gimli could loose the death grip on Legolas' towel. He let it fall and caressed him possessively from chest to thigh. To his delight, Legolas closed his eyes and threw back his head, trembling from the profound waves of pleasure of his kind, soft cries spilling from half-parted lips. "That is one song, Master Elf," Gimli whispered, "that I shall never tire of."
Not receiving a comment in return, nor truly expecting one, he moved to stand behind Legolas, fingertips busy on nipples, intent on coaxing more arousing sounds from him. He laved the pure line of Legolas' spine, sinking to his knees as he went, until he reached the first swell of Legolas' buttocks. With a gentle nudge Gimli sent him to all fours, resisting the urge to chuckle at how eagerly his normally reserved lover took such an exposed position.
A moment later all humor vanished in a blood red haze of lust at the sight of the vulnerable opening to Legolas' body offered up to him so willingly. The furled bud seemed far too diminutive to accommodate the smallest of Gimli's fingers, let alone his root, thick and heavy as it was. Yet it seemed that Legolas' himself had no qualms, if Gimli were to judge by the restless shifting when the pause in their lovemaking threatened to become too long.
With a murmur of apology at the delay, he kissed one smooth cheek, then the other, vaguely astonished that such soft skin could cover such solid muscles. Legolas went very still, though whether from anticipation or surprise Gimli couldn't say. There was one way to determine that; he lavished a wet, licking kiss to Legolas' center. Legolas shouted Gimli's name and reared back, demanding more. Gimli needed no encouragement to give it to him. Probing strongly, rhythmically at the tightly closed portal, delighting in the rich, earthy taste, he coaxed it into relenting and allowing entrance. Each stab of his tongue drove a gasp from Legolas, and Gimli would have worried that he harmed his lover if each one hadn't been accompanied by a wanton rock backwards into the penetration.
A powerful shudder slammed through Legolas, warning Gimli that he had tormented him long enough. Slowly pulling away, he hastily dried his beard on the towel, one hand petting Legolas' thigh reassuringly. Moaning a denial, Legolas looked over his shoulder at him, eyes fey and wild with passion.
"Bed," Gimli said roughly before Legolas could speak. Carefully touching the loosened pucker with a fingertip, barely able to enter, he added, "We need more than will and tongue to ready you."
"I am ready," Legolas protested. Nevertheless he turned so that he was sitting on one hip and greedily encircled Gimli's member with his fingers. "And you have been almost since we undressed."
Negligently waving away his state, Gimli said, "That will remain until I sleep, and there will be no sleep until I have kept my promise to you."
Legolas drew in a hissing breath and leaped to his feet, offering his hands to help Gimli up. "I should have expected such endurance from a dwarf," he half-laughed. "Or the claim of it, at least!"
Leaning into him for a moment, Gimli nuzzled at his breastbone, listening to the rapid patter of Legolas' heart, savoring the scent of him. "You shall have to judge for yourself if it is braggadocio or solid fact."
"Now," Legolas said insistently, urging him toward the bedroom.
Pausing only to find the small vial of oil that Gimli had requested from a healer, they made their way to the bed. When Legolas would have lain down on his stomach, he forestalled him with a soft kiss to his fingers. "I would see your face when we join. For comfort's sake on both our parts - will you sit astride me?"
Swaying, Legolas shook, eyelids dropping nearly shut as another wave of pleasure washed over him. "You seem determined to test the limits of my endurance, as well," he whispered brokenly.
"Do not Elves restrain their desires to heighten gratification?" Gimli asked, and lay on his back in the middle of the great bed.
"There are few things we enjoy more than taking our leisure with a lover," Legolas said solemnly, though his expression was merry. He lay atop Gimli so that they were face-to-face, trapping Gimli's straining erection against his chest. His shining hair fell all around Gimli, as if to entrap him forever, and Gimli was more than willing to be ensnared. Stretching luxuriously to feel every possible inch of him, Gimli reached back over his head and grasped the elaborately carved railing that ran across the top of the bed.
Legolas' breath caught at the unexpectedly sensuous movement. "I have spent hours - days - wooing, seducing, arousing, and...." He stopped speaking long enough to press a soft, lingering kiss onto Gimli's mouth. "Touching." In sharp contrast he surged powerfully against Gimli, bringing their lengths into contact, forcing a moan from them both. "We have already spent days longing and needing. Enough is quite enough!"
"Take what you wish from me," Gimli gritted out through clenched teeth, knuckles hurting from the strength of his grip on the rail. I will never naysay you; not in this."
Legolas kissed him again, sweetly and thoroughly. "Nor I you." He sat back on his heels so that Gimli's member was in front of him, his own straining straight out from his body as if seeking Gimli's heat. With more dexterity than Gimli thought he would have been able to manage under the same circumstances, Legolas opened the oil and spread it over Gimli's erection. He took great care with the crown, wearing the same expression of hunger and avarice he had had the first time he seen Gimli fully hard.
The rail creaked under the might of Gimli's hands as he fought to contain the need that look raised in him. When Legolas reached behind himself to prepare, Gimli would have lost control then and there if Legolas hadn't literally been quaking, reminding him that it was vulnerable flesh and bone that held the vessel of his heart.
From somewhere he found the will to clutch at the threads of his command over himself. He was sorely tested when Legolas rose up and set the head of Gimli's member against the opening to his body. Hardly able to breathe, Gimli grimly held onto the rail as he breached the taut ring, then released all the air in his lungs in choked wheeze as unpleasant constriction strangled his maleness.
"Too tight" Gimli thought frantically, trying to withdraw. "I will damage him."
Legolas would have none of that. "Do not deny me now!" he panted, letting his weight carry him further down on the shaft impaling him.
"I will not risk you!" Gimli snapped. He had a moment of reprieve as Legolas lifted away, but it was short-lived. Legolas sank back down again, taking even more into himself.
Saying something in his own language that was approving, if not blissful, Legolas flexed inner muscles and the satin vise on Gimli's hardness eased. In the common tongue, Legolas added, "Ah, no pain, no harm, only exquisite pleasure. You are perfect for me; you fill every lonely, empty place I have ever had."
Reassured, Gimli braced himself as Legolas bent over, planted his hands on either side of Gimli's head and began to ride in earnest. With each snap of his hips he took in more and more, until finally Gimli was completely sheathed within him. That done, Legolas crouched over him until their foreheads touched and whispered, "Would you have me sing the one song you will never tire of?"
Barely holding himself back, Gimli said hoarsely, "You need only speak of your desire."
Seizing a fistful of Gimli's hair, Legolas kissed him demandingly. When he broke away, he said, "Give me your strength - answer my thrusts with your own."
Gimli was lost. Digging his heels into the mattress, he met Legolas' next stroke, driving in as deep as he might. The tight channel surrounded him, as if Legolas had been made for him, just for this purpose. He withdrew, but only so he could return to that haven, setting up a quick, hard pace that he wished need never end.
True to his word, Legolas keened his joy with each stroke, sharply shivering as he built toward his finish. Gimli wanted to give him that ultimate moment, wanted it more than his own release. Trying to gauge every movement to give the most sensation, paying attention to every the slightest sound or movement Legolas made as he struggled toward his finish, Gimli distracted himself from his own hunger. When Legolas pried his hand from the rail and guided it to his erection, Gimli was able to gently turn his wrist in his grasp so that Legolas touched himself.
There was a hesitation, a flash of uneasiness from Legolas. What Elfish custom he had stumbled against? To aid Legolas past it, he said lovingly, "Let me watch you tend yourself; let me learn that way how to give you what you must have." Cupping Legolas' cheek in his palm, he added, "I will understand if you cannot."
Legolas stared at him for a moment. His eyes fluttered shut and he began to work his shaft with his hand, matching the slow rise and fall of his bottom. At first he seemed uncertain, but before long he was moving with an abandon that threatened to swamp Gimli's control. Much as he wanted to spend the entire night just this way, good sense and caution told him that it was time to end their lovemaking. Grudgingly he put his feet flat on the bed and bucked up, sending his tool into his lover with a powerful surge. The head of it found some small, spongy obstruction that almost closed the heated passage, but he rammed past it and was enclosed in buttery soft tissues.
Eyes flying open, Legolas silently screamed, quaking so violently that Gimli feared for him. Scalding jets of seed spurted between his fingers; jerking spasms rippled through his center. Gimli half-sat to catch Legolas as he fell senseless into his arms. Murmuring nonsense, he lay back down with him, petting his hair and taking time to adjust his limbs for comfort. Tempted as he was to quickly finish himself off, he knew that would not please Legolas.
After a bit of consideration, Gimli turned him to his side, letting his root slip free, leaving Legolas' head resting on his shoulder. More from an unsettled urge to protect than because an Elf would need it, he drew a blanket over him, using a fold of the fabric to shield his face from the firelight. Despite the hunger racing through his blood, Gimli was content to simply wait for Legolas' awareness to return.
It was restful to lie warm and at ease next to him, listening to the rock around them tell tales of the comings and goings of the Keep. The torches had burned out, leaving only the flickering light from the fire, and its unsteady shadows had its own stories to tell. Sheltered in the near gloom, it was easy to forget where they were and why, and to believe that they had more than just this one night.
Almost, but not completely. Shadows of footsteps crept through the bar of brightness that marked the bottom of the bedroom door. Instantly Gimli was alert and on guard. The night watch would stride past confidently; someone quietly seeking their own bedroom would not have moved so stealthily. A faint hiss of a whisper, agitated and biting, alarmed him further, and he automatically reached for his ax.
And silently cursed himself to the other side of Middle Earth and back. All his weapons were out of reach, including his best throwing ax, which was still on the floor of the bath. Eyeing the distance between the bed and his weapons, he thought he might be able to reach them in a hard rush, but did not want to let anyone outside know that he was awake. The decision was made for him; the door slammed open and three Men ran inside.
Shouting the alarm, Gimli catapulted off the bed, reaching for the first blade that came to hand - one of Legolas' long knives. Startled, the first Man fell back a step, causing the two behind him to hastily step to either side. He swung at Gimli, but his slight hesitation was the only opening the Gimli needed. He gutted the Man, grunted as he jerked out the blade, and dodged to one side to avoid a blow from one of his companions.
Ducking low, intending to skewer the next fighter, Gimli blocked a clumsy attack, but before he could retaliate, one of his axes abruptly bloomed from the man's head. Legolas had joined the fray. Gimli spun on one heel to go after the remaining man. Seeing the odds were against him, the assailant took to his heels. Fear made the man fleet, but rather than give chase, Gimli threw the knife, distantly grateful that both the weaponsmaster and mastersmith of his youth had insisted that knowledge of all blades was useful.
It sank into the man's back with a satisfying thunk, and he dropped to his knees, screaming. The commotion aroused others from their rest, and curious heads popped through doorways, only to vanish again as quickly. Realizing only then his state of undress, Gmili shouted in irritation, "That will teach you to disturb a dwarf in his bath!" and stomped back to their room.
Legolas was making sure of the two fallen men, head bowed for some reason, and Gimli glared at him suspiciously. Instead of a jibe at his choice of weapons, Legolas said calmly, "The alarm has been given and guards are on the way. Unless you wish to retrieve my knife by stalking naked down the corridor, you might want to retire to the bath until I have had time to speak with them."
Loosing a snort of amusement mixed with more than a little frustration, Gimli did as suggested, taking his breeches and long ax with him. He washed the blood from his hands, and, glowering down at his rampant maleness, unwillingly rinsed the semen Legolas had spilled on his belly. He debated pulling his breeches, put the mere thought of trying to force his erection into the leather confines was painful.
In the background, he could hear Legolas speaking with the guards, apparently totally unconcerned that he wore nothing but his under tunic. In Gimli's opinion, it barely covered enough for modesty, and was more provocative than if the blasted Elf had chosen to remain naked. Unslaked lust swirled and churned through him, like a fast-running stream suddenly damned.
Gimli turned away from the sight of him, and paced the small bath, still catching occasional glimpses through the half-opened door. He wanted - no, needed - to throw the guards out and push Legolas back down on the bed to find completion within him. Unfortunately the guards were skeptical about Legolas' account of what had transpired, and he strongly doubted that the sudden appearance of a naked, painfully aroused Dwarf would add any credence to his explanations. Gimli hefted his ax experimentally. He was rapidly reaching the point where small inconveniences like that were not going to be a hindrance to being alone with his mate.
Thankfully, Aragorn arrived with Gamling before Gimli - or Legolas, to judge by his increasingly arrogant and aloof air - lost patience. Gamling spat on the body of one of the Men, effectively ending any debate as to the intruder's intent. Aragorn leaned back on the wall nearest the door and let Gamling deal with his men, giving his support with his mere presence. He listened expressionlessly, taking in the entire room with fleeting looks, and undoubtedly coming to his own conclusions.
One such look was flicked Gimli's way. Aragorn's eyes widened fractionally - his only show of surprise. To Gimli's startled relief and delight, Aragorn smiled ever so slightly; a faint nod of his head expressed his approval for Legolas' and Gimli's union. It was not at all necessary, but it still eased a place in Gimli that he hadn't known existed.
Confused, Gimli looked away, hands clenching and unclenching on the haft of his ax. When his composure, such as it was, was restored, he turned back toward the bedroom in time to see guards dragging the bodies away under Gamling's direction. Aragorn was speaking quietly to Legolas, his lips almost at his ear. To judge from the flat line of his mouth, Legolas was troubled by what he heard.
Concern instantly over-rode any other emotion; Gimli tried to listen to their exchange, but the only word he could clearly discern was "Gandalf." If the wizard warned of some danger, their evening of leisure was over. Trapped between duty and desire, Gimli could not take another step. He bowed his head almost to his chest, fighting for the fortitude to do what had to be done.
So distracted was he by the battle, Gimli was started by a gentle touch to his shoulder. He jerked his head up, weapon at the ready, then lowered it, shame-faced at the sight of Legolas, hands raised to show his peaceful intent.
"The others have gone," Legolas said soothingly, "and Aragorn bids us sleep well. He will fetch us himself when it is time to ride in the morning."
"There is a guard at the door, then," Gimli said irritably.
"At the end of the corridor. It is unlikely that any hidden enemy will strike twice in the same night." Legolas draped a towel over Gimli's shoulders and used it to tug him forward. "Come, my heart. We have many hours yet before the night is done, and I ache for you."
A growl rose in Gimli before he could block it, but with the next breath he tried to pull away. "Perhaps Aragorn is right and we should seek rest."
Pointedly looking down, the now-familiar flush of need coloring his features, Legolas said, "At least one part of you does not seem to need rest at all." He drew Gimli toward him again, this time moving backwards, and in that way enticed him to follow him into the bedroom.
For all that the most disciplined part of his mind rumbled dire forewarnings, Gimli had no will left to resist. He could clearly see the ridge of Legolas' member lifting the front of his shirt, and hear the purr of arousal in his softly murmuring voice. Knowing that Legolas must have him made refusal impossible. The best he could do to protect him was to let Legolas take the lead, withholding his own demands.
That sufficed until they reached the bed. Legolas bent over it, elbows on the bedding, spreading his legs wide to show his center, still glistening and loose from their earlier loving making. With a roar that shook him to his bones, Gimli plunged full-length into him, finding that soft obstruction almost immediately. He retained just enough presence of mind to lock his hands into the bedding on either side of Legolas' hips, rather than on them. It made no difference to the depth and power of his stroke, nor was it needed to hold Legolas to him, as he met each thrust with an enthusiasm that would have knocked a less sturdy being off his feet.
Never before had his strength been met so ideally, or his passion so precisely matched. Gimli felt himself freed of everything but the intense pleasure irresistibly building within him. Faint tremors raced through the sweet flesh holding him, telling him that his mate shared that pleasure, and he growled in triumph when Legolas released his name in a cry of joy. Twisting his hands into the blankets, Legolas wailed, "Harder, oh, harder!"
"Like this?" Gimli rumbled, plowing into him faster. "Is this what you must have?" He leaned over his as best he could, his beard and hair flowing over Legolas' back and bottom so that each thrust swept his hair over the silky skin. "You shall have it, and more besides!"
Writhing, screaming, Legolas clenched almost painfully around Gimli's hardness, then went limp and still, save for the rhythmic pulses of release flowing through his channel. "Yes, yes, yes," Gimli muttered. "Time to give you my seed, leave my mark within you forever, Master Elf." Gimli spent into him, so inundated with ecstasy that he knew nothing but the precious form under him and the few inches that joined them body-to-body.
His release went on and on, as if he had a lifetime of pent up passion to give. When the last spasm finally passed, his legs trembled violently from the effort of keeping him upright. Forcing his fingers to let loose the blanket took another moment, they were so tightly knotted there, but they eventually gave with creaking protests. Though it was the last thing he wanted, he gingerly withdrew from Legolas, looking for signs of damage and sighing when he found none.
He crawled up the bed, intending to curl protectively around Legolas until he recovered, but Legolas rolled at the last moment and gathered him into his arms. Smoothing the hair away from Gimli's face, he said, "Why did you not tell me your people often withhold their full passion from their lovers, unless granted permission from them to do otherwise?"
Sighing, relieved that there was no ire in the tone, Gimli said, "Aragorn told you."
"At Gandalf's bidding. Why Gimli?"
"So that you would be sure of me," he said simply. "I know I have your trust on the battlefield to fight at your back, and to protect what you hold dear. But I would have that trust in bed, as well, so that you would find it easier to accept the violence that a Dwarf can bring to his mating."
"I am not fragile," Legolas said sharply, but Gimli could see the hurt hidden beneath.
Stifling a curse on Elfish pride, Gimli took Legolas' hand and guided it under his beard to his collarbone and the lump of poor-knitted bone lying near his throat. "When I was a youth," he said gently, "my first lover was careless of me. Though he meant me no harm, this was the result."
Eyes going distant and cold, Legolas said, "What is the name of this too-cavalier Dwarf? I would have a word with him."
Gimli gaped at him, then chuckled long and low, hanging on with all four limbs when Legolas tried to leave their bed, anger clear on his face. Scattering kisses where he could until anger became confusion, Gimli said, "It warms me as few things could that you would hold my honor so dear, but fate has seen to that particular Dwarf, as it has with most you might find in need of lessons from an Elf!" He found Legolas' mouth and claimed it lovingly until Legolas melted onto him.
Breaking away with an effort, Gimli asked gently, "Do you take my point? That I am not fragile either, but that did not save me from the pain of an uncontrolled coupling?"
Legolas slowly nodded. He buried both his hands in Gimli's hair, just at the ears. "Do you take mine? That you should have spoken to me of this? I could sense that you were not sharing yourself fully with me, and thought it because I was not pleasing to you."
"Never, no, my heart, you mustn't," Gimli stuttered.
Silencing him with a light touch of lips-to-lips, and nuzzling at his face, Legolas said, "No, not now. But for a moment."
Gimli skimmed his palm over back and bottom, trying to give comfort for a wound he had never dreamed he could inflict. "There is so much that can come between us, all unknowing. Aye, you are right. Truth would have served much better, no matter how bitter it would have been to see the wariness in your eyes."
"I cannot swear that it would not have been there to see." Legolas leaned up on his elbows, looking thoughtfully into the distance. "The best that I can offer to you is that I shall always listen with a lover's heart and try to act accordingly."
"Then I shall do the same. And if you do not listen," Gimli said stubbornly, "I shall drag you to a private spot and ravish you until you do!"
Laughing, Legolas ran his fingertips over the rims of Gimli's ears, sending an unexpected thrill through him. "May I have your oath on that?"
"Done," Gimli said hastily, not sure if he was promising to listen or ravish. And not caring.
Tongue replacing fingers, Legolas whispered, "Done."