Boundaries Crossed

by Sarah

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: Gandalf/Gimli. Gimli/Legolas. Legolas/Gandalf/Gimli.

Summary: Growing closer.

Disclaimer: Tolkien owns them. I make no money on my story. I claim only the original characters and ideas.

Feedback: Please.

Warnings: Slash. Sex between two males.

Archiving: Meddling in the Affairs of Wizards. Others please ask. Beta work and lovely suggestions: Nefertiti. Thank you very much! Any mistakes left are mine.

Chapter 23

On their fourth day of journeying to the Black Gates, they stopped by a small creek to let the horses rest and drink. Gandalf smiled as he watched his lovers. He recalled Legolas' attempts at learning how to help a dwarf dismount. The first time Gandalf had noticed them, Legolas had used both his hands, one on Gimli's back, the other at his elbow. This had caused the dwarf to declare, "I am not a child, Legolas!"

Gandalf suspected that Gimli's comment was in response to some of Legolas' statements about the Fellowship being children, as Eomer had assisted the warrior in a similar way and had received no reprimand.

The next time Gandalf had observed them, Legolas had not helped Gimli at all and had earned a glare from the dwarf that clearly stated he thought the elf's manners were lacking.

Now Gandalf watched them with amusement and love. Legolas whispered a soothing word to the horse, grasped Gimli by the elbow, moving his other arm so the dwarf could hold onto it, if he felt it was necessary. It was done so smoothly between the two, with no thought needed, that it looked like a step to a dance.

Gandalf admired Legolas' patience and his willingness to treat everyone fairly no matter what their race was. For the first time, Gandalf thought of how heartbroken Gimli would have been in Lothlorien if his one had rejected him because he was not an elf.

They were sitting by the stream talking quietly, and going to them, Gandalf placed a hand on the archer's shoulder. "You are a good person, my elf!"

Legolas did not know what he had done to be rewarded with this compliment, but he smiled up at the wizard and said, "Thank you, my friend!"

They talked briefly and shared a meal of dried fruit, meat, and some bread before they continued travelling.

That evening, Legolas walked among the trees of Ithilien and sang softly. He had loved this land from the moment the horse had brought him across its boundaries. The swaying of the trees in the wind seemed to tame the call of the sea. His body still hummed from the love-making of the night before. He could be happy here.

Legolas knew that the days ahead would determine much for Middle-earth. He could feel an end coming. The very air around him seemed to be waiting for something. He had stated so to Gimli, and the dwarf had just looked grim. Probably thought I was predicting our deaths or something equally unpleasant. They had held a discussion on whether battles and the possibility of death was worse for a mortal or an immortal. Gimli believed it would be worse for elves as a dwarf was always cognisant that he would die someday. Legolas, however, felt facing the possibility of death was no different for him than it was for Gimli. He was a warrior, too, and had long ago accepted the prospect that he might not live forever.

Legolas' stroll had another purpose besides the joy it brought him. He had realised earlier that day that Gimli and Gandalf had had little time alone since Moria. He wanted to give them an hour or two together before the upcoming conflict. The archer was not concerned that they would be intimate; he was certain they would wait. Probably impatiently if I linger long. Legolas smiled.

The elf paused by a huge oak, laying his hand on the tree. This land comforted him and renewed his spirit.

Gandalf arrived at the tent and found Gimli carving on the rock again. "I am almost finished. Legolas will be back shortly. He has gone out to sing to the trees," Gimli stated cheerfully.

Gandalf sat next to Gimli and glanced at the dwarf's project. It was a relief, and the trees and stars seemed to stand out from the rock. "That is beautiful! Legolas will love it."

Gimli frowned and said, "When I started, it was to be the view I saw in Rivendell while sitting on that bench looking out toward Erebor. Now it has mallorns, which do not grow in Imladris, and stars. I'm rather proud of those stars. Trees and stars!" The dwarf shook his head.

Gandalf smiled. "From the look of your art, I would say you that you are beginning to think a bit like an elf, my dear dwarf."

Gimli began to put away his tools. "Aye, and when I am old I shall sit in some corner and blather about stars. My people shall whisper behind my back, "That is what happens to a dwarf that loves elves."" He laughed.

After Gimli had put everything away, they moved to the pallet together. Gimli wrapped his arms around his lover and rested his head on the wizard's chest. He ran his fingers through Gandalf's beard briefly before moving it aside. "I love you."

"I love you, too." Gandalf slipped his hand under Gimli's tunics and rubbed the dwarf's back. "I believe I am ready." He did not say what he was ready for, and Gimli did not ask. The dwarf appeared lost in thought.

Gimli finally stated softly, "He has not said so, but he loves Ithilien. I know, because whenever he becomes enamoured of something, he fears that I am not noticing the beauty of it and begins to give me details of the subject."

It was not an answer, but Gandalf knew that Gimli would eventually request that the wizard make his meaning clearer, or his dwarf would state what he felt about the Istar's declaration.

Gimli continued, "There was a time in our relationship when I felt jealous of your other lovers. And during those first days at Rivendell, I was very jealous of the lover I thought you were with. After we talked there..." The dwarf paused and sighed. "I had flashes of envy, sometimes, although not over your former lover. After all, you had chosen me! No, I had far more trouble over Lord Elrond and Glorfindel."

"Lord Elrond and Glorfindel! Whatever did they do?" Gandalf exclaimed.

"They have known you longer. But I am aware it does not matter." Gimli glanced up at Gandalf. "You love me so much that years are unimportant."

"You are very correct!" Gandalf replied. He hugged Gimli tightly, and they held onto each other. He understood that Gimli had seen beyond the taking of pleasure with someone and had instead chosen to be jealous over those who knew him for who he was. Gandalf was glad now that he had begun to reveal things to Gimli before Moria, and he determined that later tonight he would talk to both of his lovers. Although he was aware that Gimli considered not just who he was but also his nature as important. What he liked and disliked, what was important to him, all these things were of significant to his dwarf. "I love you."

Gimli leaned on his shoulder and whispered in the wizard's ear, "I love you, too. I am ready."

When Legolas arrived back at the tent, Gandalf was undoing the bindings of Gimli's braid. The pair were gazing into each other's eyes, and the love they shared surrounded them.

For a second, Legolas felt like an intruder. He doubted that they were aware of anything besides each other.

The thought was barely formed when Gimli called, "There's our song bird! I was hoping that we'd become more interesting to you than stars, and you'd come back to us before the night was old."

Gandalf also turned to Legolas. "Greetings, my Green Leaf! Did you enjoy your walk?"

"Very much so! The land sings to me and refreshes my spirit." Legolas answered. He happily joined them on the makeshift pallet, feeling as if the love he had recognised between them now encircled him, enclosing him in his lovers' embrace before ever their arms wrapped around him.

Gandalf finished undoing Gimli's braid, and as the dwarf's tresses fell around the warrior's shoulders, he said, "Is not his hair beautiful?"

Legolas nodded, but his mind was back in Lothlorien remembering Gimli's reaction the first time he had touched the dwarf's tresses. A notion occurred to Legolas, bringing a frown to his face. He reached out and placed his hand on Gandalf's wrist. "I hope you do not think... I guess you do not, but..."

"Legolas?" Gandalf said, puzzled.

"Gimli and I mourned greatly in Lothlorien. It was your touch he longed for, and he did not forget your caress. We did not make love until mere days before departing." Legolas declared.

Comprehending, Gandalf embraced Legolas. He rested his head on the archer's shoulder. "My dear love, I never thought differently! I know it was a very sorrowful time for you both. And I am aware neither of you would ever want to cause me hurt. Even if you two had turned to each other only for comfort, I would understand. Far better it is that love was involved for now we have each other. It turned out for the best."

Legolas searched Gandalf's eyes and then bent for a kiss. Parting his lips, the wizard allowed the elf's tongue entry. Tongues danced together briefly, before Legolas thoroughly explored his lover's mouth.

Gimli's fingers nimbly undid the ties on Legolas' shirt. He slid the tunic off the archer's shoulders and started unclasping the buttons on the wizard's.

Gandalf broke from the kiss and commenced to tug off his leggings. Gimli and Legolas eagerly followed his example. They shifted to form a circle so each could easily touch the other.

Once undressed, Gimli flicked his tongue over Gandalf's exposed neck. Moving to Legolas, he grazed the archer's ear with his tongue, sucking at the blushing tip. Gandalf's grey eyes darkened to dusky silver at the music of Legolas' increasingly breathless sighs. Nipping and nuzzling the archer's lucent skin, Gimli produced gasps of enjoyment from Legolas. Turning to Gandalf, the dwarf spread his legs, pulling the wizard between them. The wizard hissed at the feel of the dwarf's firm erection against his buttocks. "I love you," the dwarf whispered as his broad hand shifted to wrap around the Istar's swollen cock, slowly stroking.

"Yes," Gandalf panted, arching into the teasing touch. His hand skimmed across Legolas' chest, sweeping over the erect nipples. He placed a series of tender kisses along the archer's face before taking his elf's lips demandingly.

Legolas trembled, moving closer as the wizard's persistent tongue plunged repeatedly into his mouth, wet and hot.

Gulping at the arousing view, Gimli glided his palms down his wizard's back. He cupped the smooth buttocks, his fingers kneading the firm muscles. Reaching around and putting his hand loosely around both his lovers' erections, Gimli stroked them both. Gimli's other hand moved over the wizard's chest, twisting the small nubs he found there.

The archer swayed into the clasping hand. Legolas moaned, inclining his head back as passion swirled within him. His throbbing cock jerked, and he burrowed one hand into Gandalf's soft beard.

Gandalf grabbed the bottle of oil. He lavishly poured the fluid over Legolas' arousal and began slowly massaging it in. With a muffled yelp, Legolas gazed into the wizard's eyes. In answer, Gandalf gave the bottle to the elf. He moved away from Gimli and laid back and spread his legs, aware that Legolas' gaze was fixed on him. The elf's attention swung to Gimli, and the dwarf answered the unspoken question, "Aye, we are ready."

Gimli placed his fingers under the archer's. Trembling with excitement and joy, Legolas poured the fluid over both their fingers. Gimli shifted downwards, and Legolas moved to rest on his side. Carefully the dwarf pushed his digit into his elf's hot passage, his finger slowly moving deeper.

Gently Legolas circled the wizard's opening. Gandalf pressed down a little, pulling the finger in and drawing a groan from Legolas as his digit was grasped by clinging heat. He removed it, tipping some more oil onto his fingers and over the tiny aperture. Bringing two fingers together and entering his lover again, he worked them slowly into Gandalf's core.

Legolas' fingers moved in circles as far inside his wizard as they could reach. The extra stimulus of Gimli's probing fingers within him paired with the delightful warmth surrounding his own fingers brought both bliss and fire to his loins. His cock jutted forward, leaking drops of need. Another finger nudged Gandalf's entrance, and the wizard happily accepted it. Sliding the third finger inside the Istar, Legolas moaned at the wizard's cry of joy.

Inserting another finger inside Legolas' snug channel, Gimli crooked it to rub across the small bundle of nerves. Moaning at this intimate caress, Legolas muttered, "Gimli, I need more!" Removing his fingers from the archer's body, Gimli sat up.

Withdrawing his digits from Gandalf's tight channel, the elf moved above the Istar. Breathing shallowly as Legolas' hard flesh slowly breached him, Gandalf looked up and met the elf's gaze. Legolas' eyes had darkened, and happiness was mirrored in them.

The archer leaned his head back, his eyes fluttering closed as his cock was swathed in the velvety warmth. He teased the wizard's nipples, causing Gandalf to arch forward into his touch and impale himself farther on the hard erection within him.

They both stilled, Gandalf to adjust and Legolas to call to Gimli. Struggling against the urge to move, the archer felt his dwarf's member gliding between his buttocks. Legolas moaned as Gimli entered and filled him. Slowly his body remembered and relaxed, and Legolas whispered, "Move."

Retreating almost completely before embedding himself again, Gimli's hands clasped the archer's hips, as he quickly began to find a rhythm.

Filled and being filled at the same time, looking at his beloved's face as it was changed by passion, hearing Gimli's moans of joy, Legolas thought that there was nothing in his life that equalled the bliss he now felt. Wedged securely between his lovers, Legolas could do nothing more but thrust into the warm cavern that held him close and whimper as the hard rod inside rubbed across his special region.

The cadence with which they moved increased, and Gandalf moaned as Legolas plunged deep into him, faster and harder with each forward movement. He arched and strained toward Legolas, meeting the elf's thrusts. Gandalf reached out and gripped Gimli's hand, feeling the warrior's fingers wrap around his own.

Lunging within the elf's tight passage, Gimli tried to keep pace with Legolas, but the archer would push back into him unexpectedly with no pattern that the dwarf could detect. The walls of Legolas' channel gripped him tightly, flooding his loins with desire.

Legolas halted to run his fingers over Gandalf's chest and to lightly play with the wizard's erect nipples. He whispered, "I love you."

Gandalf reached up and caressed Legolas' face. "You feel so good within me. So firm, so hot." Breathing deeply, Gandalf arched into the warm hand.

"And you are so tight, so wonderful." Legolas answered. Panting softly, the archer resumed thrusting, delighting in each croon of bliss from Gandalf and every hard thrust from Gimli. The dwarf was caressing his hips with tender care, and he felt Gimli's love in each touch. Shifting against the warrior, Legolas muttered, "Yes, Gimli, harder!" Legolas found the angle he sought, and his own ecstasy soared as Gandalf writhed under him.

Gasping with pleasure, Legolas paused to curl his fingers into Gandalf's beard. Leaning down he placed a quick kiss on the wizard's lips. Then he pushed backwards, impaling himself deeper on Gimli's hard cock. Wrapping a hand around the wizard's hard length, he ran his thumb along its veins, familiarising himself with his lover.

Caught in that snug passage, Gimli's breath came in hitching gasps. His pace never faltered, but he had trouble keeping time with Legolas. The archer was alternating between pauses and demands for Gimli to thrust harder. Gimli suspected his elf's stops were due to Legolas desiring to savour this first time with Gandalf, and he bit back his moan of protest. Just when Gimli had concluded that was no guessing as to Legolas' next action, the archer began a steady pattern.

The desire for release built in Legolas until his whole body seemed to scream for it. He began to give firm strokes to Gandalf's erection.

Legolas' strokes, now steady, caused the heat in Gandalf's loins to ignite. With a moan that turned into a keening, his body went rigid, and his seed burst out over the archer's hand. The uniting of their spirits came on the heels of his climax, bringing with it an even stronger sensation of euphoria.

The wizard's eyes met Legolas' gaze, and Gimli's words streamed back into the archer's consciousness. "The galena was grey. A dark silvery grey. It reminded me of his eyes when... when..." The dwarf had not finished his sentence, but now Legolas knew. With a cry that was just as much happiness as blissful release, Legolas came, every muscle in his body clenching. His spirit entwined with his lovers, and once more the archer howled out his joy.

Legolas' inner muscles clasped Gimli's cock tightly, and the light of his mates entered his spirit. With a powerful shudder, Gimli's seed filled his elf's channel while rapture raced through the warrior's body.

Legolas collapsed into the arms of the wizard, bringing Gimli down with him. The dwarf carefully withdrew from the archer and rolled to the side. Instantly Legolas threw an arm over the warrior, and Gandalf nuzzled the dwarf's hair.

After a time, Gimli reached for a cloth and teasingly said to Legolas, "Give me a year!"

"A year for what?" Legolas enquired.

"A year to learn to decipher your moves and to match them!"

Gimli chuckled, but Legolas, instantly contrite, said, "I am sorry, Gimli! I fear that I did not even try!"

Gimli laughed now. "Aye, I am aware that you did not!" Then, discerning the expression on the archer's face, Gimli said, "Do not fret! I am pleased about it!" He reached over and caressed the elf's chin, once more savouring the smoothness, and said, "Truly, Legolas, I wanted you two to love each other. And so you have! I am content."

Gimli sounded beyond content. His tone was one of happiness and a slight hint of smugness. He settled back against the wizard. Wry humour crossed Legolas' face, and he laughed.

Gandalf observed this exchange, and now that it was over, he realized he had tensed during their conversation. He smiled as he thought, I should have confidence in their relationship. They are plainly doing well with each other. "It is not my responsibility to intervene should you two quarrel," he said, more to himself than to them.

The gazes of both his lovers turned to him. Legolas said, "We have no one but ourselves to blame if we allow strife into our relationship."

"Aye." Gimli answered.

"But if you like you may deliver a long lecture to us about how to maintain peace." While he was speaking, Legolas stretched out as if prepared to rest in that spot for quite a while. Grinning up at Gandalf, the archer said, "But have an eye for Gimli. He may fall asleep on you."

"You are only saying that because you know I cannot tell if you are asleep or not. Yet. As I said, give me a year!"

Gandalf smiled, and Legolas laughed. Gandalf had no doubt that Gimli would be able to discern when Legolas was in repose long before twelve months had passed. "I do have a matter I wish to discuss. But I hope it will not sound like a long lecture!"

Slowly, Gandalf began to tell of his days. Gimli was very quiet and still, savouring each word. The wizard knew that anything Gimli did not understand, he would puzzle over later. Legolas, however, occasionally interrupted with questions. They listened so raptly that Gandalf paused to say, "I am not that exciting!" His lovers' captivated expressions did not change, and grinning, Gandalf continued.

When he was finished, the hour had grown late. Legolas said, "I am honoured with your trust and love."

"Aye, I love you." Gimli added.

Gandalf replied, "And now you know as much about me as Elrond and Glorfindel. And a great deal more as you are familiar with me in ways they are not!"

"Lord Elrond and Glorfindel!" Legolas exclaimed. "What do they have to do with our conversation?"

Gimli answered, "I do not mind sharing knowledge of Gandalf with you, Legolas, but I do not like having someone know him better!"

The dwarf's tone was fierce, and smiling, Gandalf teasingly said to Legolas, "Do you understand now?"

"Completely." Legolas said.

It was over. Over. The word echoed in Legolas' mind but somehow he was having trouble grasping the concept. The Shadow he had fought all his life was gone. There had been a brief battle afterwards, but the Enemy's forces had lost heart with the defeat of Sauron, and now there was no one left to fight. He stood there, feeling dazed.

Then he felt Gimli's hand, steady and sure, on his back. "Well, he is off again, though I believe I could guess why this time. Let us hope for his success!"

Legolas frowned and looked in the direction Gandalf had gone. "Do you think..."

Gimli sighed softly. "I do not think it is safe at all! But surely the eagle would not take him anywhere if he did not like Gandalf. And if he likes him..."

Legolas finished the sentence. "Then he will be careful. Yet to head into Mordor..."

Glancing at Legolas, the dwarf said, "To search for Frodo and Sam, I suspect. Speaking of hobbits, where is Pippin?"

Legolas gazed across the field, trying to locate the hobbit. He knew Gimli had asked him because of his better vision. Not spying their friend, the archer frowned and turned to view another area. He could sense Gimli's growing anxiety, and when he could not see Pippin from any angle, his own heart began to worry. He glanced at Gimli and shook his head, saying sorrowfully, "I know not."

Taking a deep breath, Gimli said, "So we shall look."

And look they did, taking the battlefield in sections but never straying out of calling distance from the other. As each minute dragged by, Legolas felt more frightened. He would call the hobbit's name and then Gimli would shout it, but no answer came. Occasionally, they would find someone living among the dead and would yell for the healers.

Eventually, Legolas' voice began to falter and tears started to blur his vision. Suddenly Gimli's voice lifted, but he was not calling a healer. Legolas' heart lurched as he heard Gimli's voice rise in that strange language that only dwarves spoke. Panic gripped the elf with icy fingers as he recognized one word: Mahal. Legolas knew in that instant that Gimli had found Pippin, and the news would not be good.

Dashing to Gimli, leaping over bodies, Legolas arrived by the dwarf's side at the same time as Aragorn did. Gimli had pushed a huge troll off Pippin. He sat now crying and did not even look as Aragorn examined the hobbit. A sharp pain entered Legolas' heart as he realised that Gimli was certain their friend was dead. He choked back an anguished cry and crouched down to wrap an arm around Gimli.

Legolas stiffened when he heard the soft intake of breath. He barely had time to turn his hopeful attention to Pippin, before Aragorn's words brought breathless joy.

"He lives still!" Aragorn said. The Man turned to call to those removing the injured from the field.

Gimli gazed at Aragorn, half in disbelief and half in joy. "But I made sure..." the dwarf's words trailed off.

Aragorn replied, "And I told you at Helm's Deep that you are not a healer, Gimli, Gloin's son!" His words were gentle and he added, "Pippin still has a battle ahead of him." He left to follow the litter that bore the hobbit.

Gimli stood up, offering a hand to Legolas. "I may not be a healer, but Gandalf said that hobbits were tough. I shall hope still."

They turned and followed Aragorn.

Legolas and Gimli were standing by Pippin's bedside when the archer heard a call in the distance. Laying a hand on his dwarf's shoulder, Legolas said, "Come, Gimli." His voice must have contained the relief and the happiness he felt, for joy mingled with the worry over Pippin was shown on Gimli's face, and he eagerly followed Legolas.

They joined the crowd around Aragorn. Gandalf was speaking to three eagles, and as they drew closer the birds took flight.

Frodo and Sam had already been placed on a stretcher. Aragorn was leaning over them. Perhaps because Legolas and Gimli were members of the Fellowship, people moved out of their way, and they found themselves at Gandalf's side. The archer put a hand on the wizard's shoulder to reassure himself that his lover was fine. There was a small gasp from Gimli, and Legolas' gaze went to where the dwarf's attention was centred. He quickly stifled his own distress over Frodo's hand with the missing finger. Instead, he asked Gandalf, "How are they?"

"Alive, but extremely exhausted," Gandalf answered.

Mindful of the spectators near them, the archer resisted the impulse to put an arm around the Istar. He offered the arm to Gandalf instead, saying, "We are glad to have you back with us! And it is good to see Frodo and Sam!"

"Aye!" Gimli declared, as Gandalf took Legolas' arm. To Aragorn, the dwarf asked, "Will they be fine?"

"I believe so. They need plenty of rest and food and water," the Man replied.

The three walked close together as they went with Aragorn to where Frodo and Sam would be placed. They spoke in low voices, sharing their recent deeds with each other. When Legolas related Gimli's mistake about Pippin, the wizard said, "May all the errors of dwarves result in such happiness!"

"May they indeed!" Legolas replied.

As the three lovers waited for the hobbits' recovery, the days fell into a pattern. Legolas would come to Gandalf around dawn and spend some of the morning hours with him. The wizard treasured those hours, because he came to know Legolas much better than before. Sometimes, all they spoke of were trivial matters, but Gandalf sensed that even in this, the archer was revealing his heart. In turn, Gandalf opened his own to the elf.

After an hour or two, Gimli would join them for a while. Gandalf was not sure where they went once they left him. He did know that they spent hours at Pippin's side, that Gimli often walked with Legolas in Ithilien, and that they were frequently deep in discussion about plans for the years to come. As twilight came to the land, Gimli would arrive and sit at his side. He would stay there until Legolas returned from his walk under the stars. Gandalf cherished those hours, also, for he was conscious that he would miss these quiet talks with Gimli.

The wizard suspected, due to his dwarf's red eyes one evening, that Gimli had shed tears over the fact Gandalf would not be a part of the years to come. That night when Legolas joined them, he began to share his and Gimli's plans for the years ahead. His voice was soft, and the words were spoken almost as if he were reciting poetry. He often paused to ask Gandalf's opinion on an issue. He seemed to be seeking the wizard's advice on everything, and at first Gandalf was puzzled by this. Then Legolas caught his eye and quickly glanced at Gimli. Aware of Gimli's red eyes, Gandalf understood. By talking about the future and asking the wizard to discuss their ideas, Legolas was attempting to make the Istar a part of the days ahead, if only in a small way. And Gandalf realized, the tactic eased his own heart, for he knew they would remember his words and make the wisdom he shared with them a part of their lives, which gave him a little portion in their future. Aiding Legolas now, Gandalf entered into the discussion of their plans. Gimli, who had been sad and silent, also started to converse.

Most nights Gandalf would go with them to the place where they camped. They would love under the stars and rest a while before Gandalf went back to his vigil at Frodo and Sam's bedside. That night after the love-making, Legolas rested between his lovers, and said, "Our talk about the future tonight gave me great encouragement." He placed a kiss on Gandalf's cheek. "I realized when you understood why I was asking for your guidance so often that you and I have come to know each other so well that we can communicate without speaking."

Gimli smiled, and Gandalf hugged Legolas. "I am glad, Green Leaf!" Gandalf remembered his conversation with Legolas during the journey to Isengard. The archer had confessed his envy of the way Gandalf and Gimli could communicate without speaking. Now Legolas was seeing the first sign of such familiarity with Gandalf, and the wizard understood how happy the archer must feel about it. Gimli must have known, too, for he had shifted to his side and was placing kisses on Legolas' chest. Gandalf moved to his side, also, gazing into the elf's eyes and letting his lover see his joy, before joining Gimli in the kisses.

They spoke quietly for a while, and then Gandalf departed to return to Frodo and Sam's side. Legolas and Gimli curled up together and slept, secure in Gandalf's promise that he would send someone for them should there be any change in the hobbits' conditions.

Pippin recovered fast enough to ease most of even Gimli's anxious concern. The morning came when Frodo awoke, and Sam was alert a few hours afterwards. So the days of waiting for the crowning of the King passed.