Untying Knots

By Keelywolfe


This ficlet is for Pluto, who persuaded me with art, and Cara, who persuaded me with words. (I was going to say 'hands' and 'lips' but this is rated PG.) *G*

This was written at the sweet request of the ladies listed above, and was written for and about the very, very lovely picture found HERE, done, again, by the lovely Pluto.

Again, all mistakes are my own fault, and if anything is wrong to the point it drives you buggy, let me know and I'll fix it.

Set whilst the Fellowship was hanging out in Lothlórien.

Speak, friend, and enter...and enjoy. ^_~


Elves were rumored in fable and legend to be creatures of fanatical cleanliness, whether it be in a jest or woven into the lyrical words of a love ballad, it was, to say the least, made note of.

Even so, both Boromir and Gimli had reacted with disbelief at learning the bathing habits of the Elves, though in deference to their hosts, both had made an effort to wash daily, despite both their grumblings that such matters would sicken them with plague, and that they hadn't an Elf's fortune of avoiding illness.

It was after one of these daily bathes that Legolas found Gimli in one of the many dressing rooms off from the private bathhouse the Company had been provided with. Already dressed, although to the keen eyes of an Elf it was obvious that he hadn't dried himself perhaps as well as he could have as his tunic was clinging slightly to still damp skin.

Gimli was raking a comb through his hair, binding the tangles and knots ever tighter into the heavy length and swearing most creatively as he went. Leaning against the doorframe, Legolas watched him silently, stifling his amusement and he would have sworn by light and leaf that those curses alone could have felled a full-grown Orc in the midst of battle.

"If you are trying to knot your hair into a mass of tangles," Legolas said finally, "then you are doing it nicely. If that is how you always comb your hair then I should think it would be nothing but a mass of knots and snarls, a soft nest just waiting to make a home for a rat."

Gimli stiffened visibly as he whirled to see his unexpected visitor. "Just because Dwarves don't see the need to bathe every time we wipe our arse doesn't meant that..." he began, but a soft laugh from Legolas halted his angry flow of words.

"Must you take insult to any words that pass my lips?" Legolas teased softly. He sighed as the frown remained stubbornly on Gimli's lips. "My pardon, then. I meant no insult."

He waited, patience that came with centuries of living holding him easily, and finally a rueful smile came to Gimli's lips. "And my pardon as well, if I seem to quickly to take offense."

Legolas grinned cheerily. "Here, then, if friends we are made once again, then let me help." He squeezed into the small space between Gimli and the wall, nearly sitting on the small ledge as he bracing himself with a foot against wall.

He felt the dwarf stiffen, and Gimli began to turn towards him, certainly to send a frown his way and so Legolas instead plucked the comb neatly from Gimli's fingers and set to work on the task in front of him. Gimli seemed uncomfortable and tense, and Legolas wondered if he wouldn't push away, blustering and angrier than before, but after a moment he seemed to relax, and accept the gentle touch of a comb held by an Elf's hand in his hair.

And such hair it seemed to Legolas! Not so fine as his own, but neither was it as coarse as some would believe, heavy and thick, like the winter coat worn by a bear, perhaps, and Legolas smiled to himself at his fanciful thoughts. Like a bear was Gimli, yes, burly and strong, his clumsy appearance belied by the truth in the grace Legolas had seen in him, time and again, with his own eyes.

His own people would scoff at the very idea of finding anything like grace within a dwarf, and his amusement dimmed, his thoughts turning inward until Gimli shifted restlessly against him and woke him from his reverie.

Murmuring an apology, Legolas deftly coaxed the tangles from Gimli's unruly locks until his hair hung smooth, still slightly damp against Legolas' fingertips and he hesitated a moment, then quickly twisted a braid into the hair just over Gimli's ear, small and neat, though not as elaborate as his own.

"There! I dare say that you are the prettiest dwarf ever to walk the paths of Lothlórien," he said lightly, and Gimli snorted, walking over to his satchel to fetch a small, polished mirror. He studied his reflection critically before nodding slowly.

"Aye, and the only one as well," Gimli replied finally with a snort. "Ah, but what is this?" He fingered the braid, peering at it warily before he at last let it drop with a shrug. "More elfish charms, I'm sure..." he said gruffly. "Much more time in this fair company and I should be dancing naked beneath the moon ere we depart. Elves seem to be able to charm others into many interesting things."

The Elf only smiled innocently, flicking the small braid with a fingertip and Gimli snorted again, going to seek his breakfast out before it came time for lunch. Legolas watched him go, and sadness touched his smile.

"Ah, but if Elves have such charms," he murmured, "Then tell me how I am to charm you into believing an Elf could love a Dwarf, though the Dwarf be smitten with another."

He wondered what the other elves would make of a love knot tied into the hair of a dwarf, and he shook the thought away, knowing that they would say nothing to Gimli. At least he would be able to look at it, for a short time, and pretend it was worn proudly, and when Gimli looked at him again, Legolas could pretend, just briefly, within the walls of Lothlórien, that it was with love.


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