Almost automatically, he pulled arrows from his quiver and shot one after the other. They flew fast but accurately, hitting each orc and taking it down. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Aragorn fight. More accurately, he could see Aragorn's sword swinging and slicing as the sun glinted off it. He could hear Gimli behind him about a half dozen paces, grunting loudly as he struck with his axe.
Working practically back to back, the three took down each and every one. This particular band of orcs proved to be no serious threat apart from slowing them down significantly. It had been late afternoon when their two groups met, and dusk by the time the three warriors stood alone but triumphantly above the bodies of the dead orcs.
"We should head up to that ridge for the night," Aragorn said, wiping the blood from his blade off on the grass. Then he pointed up to one of the larger, tree covered hills. "There's cover but it gives us height enough for a safe lookout." Legolas and Gimli both nodded in agreement as they walked over to him through and over the bodies.
Gimli nearly stumbled over one helmet as he pulled an arrow from another's body. He grumbled and gave over his handful of retrieved arrows to Legolas, who added them with his own and stuck them back in his quiver. Legolas put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed while smiling softly with appreciation. The smile, like all of Legolas', was so faint it could have been easily missed. But Gimli knew what to look for, and knew to find it in his eyes as much as his mouth.
Then, as though their minds were linked, they set off towards the spot Aragorn had pointed out. They had been on the move for so long without stop that they all seemed to understand a few hours of rest at night were much needed. Aragorn ran up ahead, as usual, one hand on his sword in case they ran into more trouble. Legolas followed not far behind, listening carefully to everything from their footsteps to a gust of wind sweeping through the open land. Gimli trailed behind, unable to keep up with the quick pace the other two set. He kept an eye on their backs, to be sure they wouldn't be ambushed or followed.
By the time they reached the trees which lead up to the hill, which was by everyone's admission more like a small mountain, Gimli was fully exhausted and out of breath. Aragorn slowed, being more careful in the thick forest. Legolas waited for Gimli to catch up by leaning against a tree. Normally he'd simply urge Gimli to keep up, especially as night was beginning to fall, but this time something was different. He could not help but notice how oddly the dwarf ran, switching from his left foot to his right more quickly than he did his right to his left. He looked down concernedly at Gimli as he approached.
Gimli shook his head, panting heavily. When he got to Legolas, he grabbed onto the elf's arm to steady himself and bent over a bit to breathe more easily. "Gimli," spoke Legolas softly, "Are you all r--"
Gimli did not give Legolas a chance to answer. "Tired and winded is all," he said, looking up with a grin. His arm was bent around his stomach as he panted, tongue practically hanging out of his mouth. Legolas patted his back softly.
But as it had been for days, as soon as Gimli caught up, they had to move on again. "Gimli!" Aragorn called back to him. "Do you need someone to carry your axes for you or are you going to hurry up?"
Gimli's growl was low as he sprang back into a quick walk. From behind, Legolas observed the dwarf's movements carefully. It was not so much of an odd walk as it was a hobble. Gimli walked tensely and stiffly when tired, but this was more uneven and unnatural. If Gimli had not from his own mouth insisted that he was all right... but he had not said so in so many words. Legolas shook his head. Gimli moved as slowly as ever, but had not taken his arm from around his stomach.
"Legolas!" Aragorn called. "Do not tell me you are tired as well?" Realizing he was still against the tree, Legolas pushed off and jogged to catch up.
Thanks to Aragorn, the site they settled down in for the night was perfect. There was enough tree cover but just a few paces through the woods in one direction and they reached a cliff overlooking the lands they'd just traversed. A few paces in the other direction met them with part of the mountainside. It would be difficult for anyone to come upon them unnoticed.
Gimli leaned up against a tree to catch his breath when they arrived, and even Aragorn could not fault him for that as the last stretch had been the hardest and steepest. Gimli drank a bit from his pouch and his breaths were much better for it. Though Legolas noticed he still had his arm around his waist as though he had a walking cramp. Not that he could be faulted for such a thing, either, considering the run they'd just had.
Darkness set in more quickly than expected, and thoughts turned to sleep. Legolas, who needed the least, stepped forward first to volunteer for the first shift as lookout. "I'd be glad to--"
But Aragorn looked at both his companions and shook his head. "No, the first watch is mine tonight," he said with firm authority and a kind smile. He casually pulled a dagger from his belt. "I'll go out a ways and circle back to give you both time to..." he looked down, and a different smile showed on his face. "Time to fall asleep," he finished, sounding a bit shy. Then he took off into the woods, back down the steep incline.
His eyes followed the man until he disappeared from sight, and then Gimli looked over at Legolas with a smile. "He misses you."
Legolas shook his head. A different elf now held Aragorn's heart. "He misses Arwen."
"No," Gimli said, setting his weapons down along with what little food and drink he carried. "No, he misses you. I can tell."
With a soft sigh, Legolas gave a long blink. Then he set down his bow and quiver of arrows on top of Gimli's axes. "Well, he cannot have me. I am yours now." Quickly he slid his arm around the dwarf and pulled him close for a kiss. His hair streamed down on the sides to hide their faces as lips and tongues met. The kiss was neither slow nor restrained, as both were glad to be alone together for the first time in days. Both knew they would only be more exhausted by the end, however that hardly mattered now. But when Legolas pulled back, he thought he noticed Gimli wince slightly. "Gimli..." he breathed.
Gimli shook his head and raised a hand, brushing Legolas' long hair back over his shoulder. "We can talk later. Aragorn will not stay away forever." His eyes were hungry, and his touch was hot. Legolas immediately nodded with resolve and grabbed hold of him, pulling him to the ground.
The spot they had chosen was right up against the rock face, trees surrounding them on the other three sides. The grass was soft, but the ground beneath it hard and full of bumps. With both feeling quite at home, they shed their cloaks and laid each other down.
It was true that Aragorn would be back soon. He took his watchman duties seriously and it would not do to abandon those he was supposed to be watching. Both Legolas and Gimli felt a bit rushed as they touched each other, but they had been saving up their desire all day as they had had little time to touch even a bit in between fighting and traveling. Both were anxious and hungry, and their mouths met as many times as the two pairs of lips found other spots to kiss.
Gimli was the first to go hard, and he pressed himself against Legolas' thigh with a pleased sigh. Legolas rushed to pull Gimli's tunics up a bit and pull the dwarf's trousers down a bit. By the time his hand had seized the dwarf's thick cock, Legolas was hard and panting as well. Gimli undid the ties to Legolas' leggings and pulled those down to the elf's knees.
But when Legolas went to pull off Gimli's shirts, the dwarf grabbed his wrist. "No time for that," he said quickly.
"You are so eager tonight, my dwarf," Legolas chuckled. He pulled off his shirts instead and Gimli seemed excited at being able to see all of Legolas. Legolas wrapped bare arms around the dwarf and pushed him down against the ground. Frowning, Gimli let out a sharp breath and immediately rolled with Legolas. When he was on top and Legolas lay on his stomach, his hair flowing into the thick grass, Gimli smiled again.
He took Legolas eagerly, with strong, quick strokes. He was strangely stiffer than normal in his movements, but that did not stop him from coming quickly to orgasm and did not stop Legolas from crying out in pleasure with his own.
Both were glad the noise had not attracted visitors of any sort. They enjoyed the moments just after, when they had given and taken and were so tired that they did not want to move. Finally, Legolas stirred and Gimli grunted and climbed off. Legolas rolled over, intending to take Gimli in his arms afterwards as always. But Gimli winced when Legolas touched him which caused Legolas to spring back in alarm.
"Gimli, you are not simply tired and winded!"
"Tis nothing. Do not give it a second thought." But the dwarf winced again and instinctively wrapped an arm around his middle. His other hand reached out and pulled their bedrolls over.
Legolas took them from him, unrolling the blankets and spreading them out to the side. The task did not distract him from Gimli, however. "If you go to the trouble of saying that, clearly it is something I should worry about," Legolas said in a no-nonsense tone. He sat up, able to use height to his advantage as he sat beside the dwarf. Several seconds later, it struck Legolas. "How badly were you were injured when we fought the orcs?"
"A few broken ribs only," Gimli said with a shrug. He felt beyond ashamed to admit it, however. Several dead wargs and orcs upon him and he had come out from beneath relatively unscathed. But his pain was undeniable now. It hurt terribly to move the wrong way, and hurt even to breathe. Gimli refused to let the injury slow him down or interfere in any way.
Legolas looked scandalized, however.
Gimli sighed deeply. "I am all right, Legolas. I would not have made love to you had it hurt too badly to do so."
Legolas shook his head, lay down upon their bedrolls, and patted the spot beside him. Gimli would have chosen to make love to him were the dwarf on death's door or even halfway through it. Luckily, Gimli seemed to be quite a few steps from the door at the moment. However, Legolas would take no chances. "You will rest immediately. And I will not allow you to get up until you are healed. I do not care how well you insist you are, I will see that you rest properly. You will not make me look like an uncaring lover. Do you understand?"
Gimli nodded and carefully lay down on his back. Legolas wrapped a thick blanket around him to keep him warm, and then an elven arm around him to keep him pinned to the ground. "You are a very caring lover," Gimli whispered just before Legolas lifted a canteen to Gimli's lips and urged him to drink.
Shaking his head again, "Aragorn would not see it that way if he knew I had let you make love to me while injured. He would have insisted I wrap you in bandages and keep you from moving."
Gimli smiled and closed his eyes, relaxing now that his secret was out and Legolas was looking after him. "Lucky for me that I am yours and not his. Now get beneath these blankets and keep me warm until you need to take a shift on watch."
Even though it was not a very cool evening, Legolas humored Gimli and pulled the blanket over himself as well. Gimli immediately scooted up right against him. Legolas was stiff for a moment, not wanting to hurt Gimli. But, deciding that if sex had not killed the dwarf, a little cuddling would not either. So he held Gimli loosely but comfortingly and watched over him as Gimli drifted off to sleep.