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50. Love and Desire
Waking up next to a warm, sleeping elf was literally a dream come true for Wynne. Despite the slight urgency to get up before her maid would come in, she remained in bed, revelling in the memories of yesterday night.
Thranduil had left the feast early, and with him gone, Wynne and Legolas felt free, unchecked by his constant disapproval. They had stolen several kisses under the honeysuckle, talked, danced, and enjoyed much amusing banter with their friends. In the small hours Legolas had followed her to her room, more than a little drunk.
“This is not my room,” he had observed, his gaze somewhat unsteady, when she pushed him down on her bed.
“No it’s mine.”
“Oh. This smells nice.” He sniffed her pillow, drawing in her scent just like that time when she borrowed his tent.
“ You smell nice.” She rubbed her nose against his collarbone, feeling the enchanting aroma of him , mingled with a tint of wine. When they kissed she tasted it as well, sweet and fruity on his mouth and tongue.
Their kisses that night had been the most intense they had yet shared; neither of them stopping to think, just allowing instinct to take over. Legolas had brushed over her neck with his lips, trailing light pecks down to her decolletage and buried his face in the cleft between her breasts. Then she had nibbled on his earlobe until he begged her to stop.
“If you keep doing that, I shall pull up your dress and take you here and now,” he threatened.
She let go of his ear. He would not really do it, though… would he? Warmth surged through her body when she pictured it.
“Naughty elf… Speaking so daringly to a lady!” She loved it.
“Well, if you were a gentleman, there would be no risk of that happening, so...”
Those words had them both in a fit of laughing, breaking the tension. Shortly after, they fell asleep, tired from all the wine and laughter. That was probably for the better. Every time they were together like this, it became harder to hold back.
Now it was before sunrise, judging by the pale light. Wynne stretched herself, a little stiff after sleeping in her uncomfortable dress. Maybe she ought to wake Legolas up, but she could not quite bring herself to disturb him. Instead she admired his relaxed, sleeping face. He looked so innocent, his long, dark lashes resting peacefully on his cheeks and his lips slightly parted. She could not resist touching the upturned corners of his mouth.
His lashes fluttered open. ”Good morning,” he mumbled.
Then for a long time they just lay there, gazing at one another in silence.
“Your eyes are so beautiful,” Wynne said at last.
“Your braids are messed up.” He pulled out a curl.
“Here I was being romantic, and all you can think of is haircare.” She shoved him playfully in the chest.
“I can redo them,” he offered, but did not move.
Then Wynne remembered something she had wished to do for a long time. Her fingers darted out. This time she caught him by surprise, despite his elvish reflexes and warrior training, and she had the huge satisfaction of seeing him laugh and trying to roll away.
“I knew you were ticklish!” She sat on his chest, locking his arms with her legs. “Pinned you!”
But now he was prepared, and he did not even twitch when she tried to tickle him again. A smug smile settled on his lips. Damn that elf’s self-control!
He tried to push her off, but to no avail. She was a horsewoman after all, and only squeezed her strong legs harder around him. “Pinned you again!” she whispered and bent down to kiss him, gradually releasing her hold and sinking down, feeling his hands move to rest on her thighs.
“You have impressive legs,” he murmured, moving his fingers slowly upwards.
There was a polite knock. “M’Lady? Are you up?” The maid’s voice was blunted by the closed door.
Wynne jumped up, brushing out the wrinkles of her dress. “Yes, but I don’t need you today, Sadoreth. Thank you.”
“Are you sure, M’Lady? I was coming for the chamber pot…”
“Not now! You can come later. Thanks!”
“Uh, all right…”
Wynne fell back on the bed, trying to hold in her giggles. “Has she gone?” she whispered, knowing that Legolas could hear the footsteps better than she could.
“Aye. But I probably ought to sneak back to my own room now...”
Wynne peered carefully through the door before allowing him out. When he passed her, he leaned down for a last kiss.
“I need one more to keep me through the day,” he murmured. “Who knows how we will sleep in Minas Tirith. Maybe, Valar forbid, Aragorn will have me share with my snoring father.”
Just then Gimli came tiptoeing into the corridor, carrying his boots and tunic in one hand. When he caught sight of them, he grinned widely.
“Laddie! Slept well tonight?”
“Very.” Legolas blushed, but looked rather satisfied as well. He hurried away on soundless feet.
“I’m happy for ye and the laddie,” said Gimli when he had gone. The dwarf had to turn up his head to meet her gaze, now that he was not wearing his high-soled boots, but instead his eyes stayed to rest on her cleavage. Mother knew what she did, when she packed that dress for her daughter.
“ You look like you didn’t sleep much at all,” Wynne remarked, taking in the dwarf’s half-dressed state and worn features.
“Nay.” He chuckled. “My lassie donnae tire so soon.”
“You really do… that kind of things with her?” Wynne’s eyes grew wide.
He shrugged noncommittally.
“But… what if she gets with child? It would be a scandal.”
“Ach, lassie, ye are so young. There are methods to hinder that, but ye’d blush if I told ye how.” He snickered.
“If you’re so intimate with her, why do you flirt with everyone else? Don’t you love her?” Wynne pointedly crossed her arms over her breasts to cover them, while secretly wishing he would tell more about those methods .
Gimli’s eyes went flinty, his jovial air gone.
“That’s nae yer business, is it?”
“Sorry.” But she was not, not really. He had treated his dwarven friend badly, and someone ought to tell him.
“Cheery kens what she gets with me, take it or leave it. I cannae love her – or anyone.” He hesitated, then shrugged again. “Ma heart belongs to someone else.”
Wynne suspected she knew who, but said nothing. He was right, it was not her business.
The dwarf’s rough features softened. “Donnae ken why I show ye this, but…” He pulled out a chain from under his shirt, uncovering a golden pendant inlaid with white diamonds. Behind the glass was a tuft of blond hair. “She ne’er belonged to me… another’s wife, she was. And I shannae see her again; she left Middle-earth.” Gimli stroked the pendant’s surface with a rough thumb, his deep set eyes becoming blank. ”I guess we’ve got that in common. Both fancying an elf, eh.” He grinned at her, but his rumbling voice was tainted with bitterness. Before Wynne could answer, he had gone into his room and shut the door behind him.
Wynne went back, feeling ambivalent. So, he had loved Galadriel… That was not really a surprise, even the ballad hinted at it, and she was sorry for his unrequited love, she really was. Still… she could not see why he needed to trifle with everyone wearing a skirt, just because of that. It sounded like a bad excuse in her ears. Then again, if Cheery knew about it and had entered into the relationship with open eyes, it was really up to her. She was a grown dwarf and could probably take care of herself.
While she packed her things, Wynne remained thoughtful. The fact that Gimli could love one female, and desire another, was disturbing somehow. Was Thranduil right when he claimed those to be separate things? She knew she loved Legolas, but what if he only desired her? But no… the way he always cared for her wellbeing, and how he had confided in her, trusted her with his worst memories; those were proofs it was more than physical attraction. She just had to convince his father to see what she saw.
After lunch, it was time to fetch the horses and get going. It was only a short trip, a few hours at the most would it take to Minas Tirith. Wynne met Éowyn in the large and well kept stables, where she was assigning horses to her own family.
“Oh, you’re coming too?”
“Yes, my husband wants to be there when the peace treaty is presented. We have a feeling this will be important. Something to tell the grandchildren.” She smiled. “And for my part, I want to spend more time with my new friend Sidra and her darling sons!”
Wynne felt a twinge of jealousy at that. Sidra was her friend first… She realized it was natural of course; after all Sidra and Éowyn were almost the same age, and both mothers. But still...
Then Éowyn asked about Wynne's family and their horse breeding, and she forgot her jealousy in the interesting conversation that followed, and which lasted well until they were all gathered in the plaza outside the mansion, ready to mount and be on their way.
Wynne looked forward to seeing Minas Tirith, the white city, home of her relative and his elvish wife. Only to think, she would be exploring Arda’s most famous city with the elf she loved. And then there was the prospect of peace too, freedom at last for the orcs of Emyn Muil. If only Thranduil could cease his silent treatment, all would be perfect...
My family must wonder what I was doing, with that silly smile plastered on my face for like an hour straight, while writing the first scenes of this chapter! :D
Who else has fancying elves in common with Gimli, by the way? ;)
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