Boundaries Crossed

by Sarah

Rating: NC-17

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

Summary: The last years.

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 25

In December of the year 3019, Gandalf sat at a table, busily writing a letter to encourage some elves he had counselled during his recent visit to Rivendell. He paused to dip his quill in ink, and his thoughts drifted to his mates. He had moved back into the house in Minas Tirith on his return to the city three days ago, but it seemed lonely with the hobbits no longer there and both of his lovers away. The wizard had to admit to himself that he was a bit worried about how events had gone when they arrived in their homes. He reached over to pick up the missive they had sent to him while he was in Rivendell, glancing over its already familiar contents. They had written mostly of their travelling plans, had answered his questions, and had reassured him that all was well. Gandalf, however, wished they had given more details of their experiences in revealing the new relationship to their families.

The thud of the door being shut in the entry below caused the wizard to stand up, eagerly awaiting the next expected sounds. He was not disappointed as a melodic voice called, "Mithrandir!" This was followed by "Gandalf!" spoken in a deeper tone.

Dashing down the stairs, Gandalf rushed into the welcoming arms of his lovers. Long moments passed as they held each other tightly and murmured exclamations of love. As they went back up the stairway, Legolas said excitedly, "We got your letter. Did you get our reply?"

"Yes, and I must say I am proud of my mates!" Gandalf answered.

"Aye, but as soon as we are settled, you must tell us what happened at Rivendell," Gimli stated.

Wine and mead were retrieved, and once they were all seated, Gandalf said, "When I was in Rivendell with the hobbits, Lord Elrond spoke to me about giving counsel to the bonding of three members of his household. I was reluctant to do so. After all, our union is not that old! Yet Elrond thought that they might be more inclined to listen to me, as I too am part of a triple joining. Before I came to Middle-earth, I often moved among elves, bestowing advice and stirring hearts to good. I hope to do so again when I return to Valinor. Nevertheless, I have spent my time in Middle-earth giving guidance on matters relating to the Enemy, not to personal relationships. Therefore, I was inclined to refuse. Still, just because my mission here in Middle-earth is over, I don't like to think that I would pass up a chance to help people who need it. That's why I wrote to you two asking how you felt about me talking about our relationship."

Gimli chuckled. "Your letter came at a perfect time. There I was among Legolas' people, and I had just started debating exactly what being called Elvellon, elf friend, meant. Friends are supposed to care for one another. Then your note arrives asking if we would be comfortable with your discussing our union in order to aid another bonding of three! I told Legolas that I should refuse. I am not accustomed to having private matters talked about. And after all, what elves will listen to you when you are bonded to a dwarf? But..." The warrior sighed. "You know my answer."

Gandalf grinned. "Actually, Gimli, those that know of our union seem of the opinion that you and Legolas must have a harmonious relationship, or I would not be so happy. And if an elf and a dwarf can find ways of not only getting along but also loving, then surely there is hope for everyone that is having trouble in their marriage."

Gimli groaned, pretending to be upset. "I give up! But I assume you did talk to them, so what made you change your mind?"

"They came to me and asked. I suppose Lord Elrond told them of our union and that we were doing well. Or perhaps one of the elves who had come to Minas Tirith as part of the bridal escort guessed our relationship and mentioned it to others. I informed them that everything we discussed would be in confidence, with the exception of my contacting you for permission to counsel them. And also that the price of my sharing things that were delicate to me and my mates was that I would discuss what was said with my lovers."

Gandalf met Gimli's gaze. "I am well aware that giving permission was difficult for you. I was as careful as I could be to maintain your privacy." To Legolas he said, "I appreciate your consent, too, my Green Leaf!"

Legolas smiled. "Gimli struggled with it so much that by the time it was my turn to decide, I found it easy to agree."

The wizard sighed, his thoughts going to the three in Rivendell. "I let them talk and quickly realised one major difference between our union and theirs. We never grudge the happiness given to the other. We have always sought each other's joy. Whereas they were keeping count of each kindness shown to a mate and comparing it with how they thought they were being treated."

Gandalf paused briefly, recalling his long practice over the years not to compare lovers. There was a difference between comparing two lovers who knew of each other's existence but were not in a relationship together and comparing when they were bonded as one. But either way, comparison never aided a relationship, and he had vividly seen the damage and hurt caused by it.

He gazed fondly upon his two and continued, "I hope my words helped, but they have centuries of habits to undo, besides needing to learn new patterns of behaving. I think, though, that they are becoming desperate enough to make the effort." Gandalf motioned to the letter on the table. "I was just writing to encourage them. And missing my own mates immensely! Tell me, how did the visits to your homes go?" He directed the question to Gimli because the two had gone to Mirkwood first.

"Overall, it went well. I have developed a fondness for Legolas' people. Once I knew the paths of the forest, I even found the woods to my liking," Gimli replied. "As for my elf's relatives..." The dwarf sighed softly. "King Thranduil fears what the future will hold for Legolas because of our relationship. Legolas' family cannot be blamed for sorrowing over his loving a mortal."

Gandalf asked, "Did you speak with Thranduil on this matter?"

Gimli shook his head. "No, but...he wasn't angry when Legolas told him, just sad. Legolas took a while in the telling. He talked about how we became friends first. I believe the King saw the bond in Legolas' eyes. When our bond was new, Legolas mentioned that is possible for other elves to see our connexion that way. And there is this," Gimli gestured to the bonding rings they wore. "Long before Legolas got to the end of his tale, I could see the grief. I thought my own heart would break. I could not imagine anything I could say to ease that pain but once Legolas was finished, I did tell him how much we love his son."

Legolas broke in, "I think that did help. My Lord listened intently, and I believe he did find solace in Gimli's words."

Gimli laughed. "What he means is that the King stared at me so keenly that I would not be surprised if he could see the wall through me. He reminded me of what the Lady Galadriel might be like if she was determined to have the truth from someone. But he can search all he desires because my love for Legolas is an unchanging fact!

"I think your letter helped more than my words. He read it slowly and seemed less mournful afterwards and more accepting of our relationship."

Gimli added, "The first meeting was rough for all of us, but it went better afterwards. The elven King was kind to me. He spent over an hour with me one evening, sharing stories of Legolas' childhood. We were with Legolas' brothers and their spouses a great deal. I have come to love his brothers as if they were my own. I enjoyed the time in Eryn Lasgalen."

Legolas happily chimed in, "We were there for several weeks. And there was no discord between my people and my mate."

Gimli's eyes met the wizard's. There was a quiet sense of pride in the dark orbs, and Gandalf suspected that it might not have been as easy as Legolas' joyful words implied. No, Gimli had put effort into making sure there had been no discord and was rightly proud of his success. The dwarf said quietly, "I like Legolas' people."

And now he is giving the wood elves credit for the concord but there is no doubt that it took work on both sides. Gandalf thought. He grasped Gimli's hand and squeezed.

Legolas continued, "One night at the banquet table, Gimli related to my family my deeds during the war. There is something special about hearing one's mate speak of you with pride. And... Gimli told me his secret name there; under the trees of my home!" The elf's eyes shone with happiness.

Gandalf reached out and clasped the archer's hand, rejoicing with him. He was glad that Gimli had revealed his secret name to Legolas. The wizard had been uncomfortable knowing that he had knowledge of the name while Legolas did not. He surveyed Legolas, noting the radiant skin and bright eyes. His own heart joyful, he said, "Wonderful! Legolas, did all go well in Erebor?" Gandalf asked.

"Yes, better than I had imagined it would. Gloin seemed to think that my being Gimli's one was due to some sort of odd sense of humour on the part of Aule, because I am also Thranduil's son. Gimli just blurted out that I was his one to Gloin. I would have tried a slower approach, but it worked well. Gimli stated it with such happiness and pride that I guess Gloin realised his son was not heartbroken, or perhaps my presence assured him that I returned his son's feelings. The first thing he said was, "Gandalf? How is Gandalf?"

Gimli spoke up, "I told him that I could not stop loving you. I never could! And that Legolas had known you for a long time and cared for you deeply."

He paused, and Legolas said, "We had agreed to tell it that way to him. Because we did not want him to believe that I loved you and so was willing to tolerate Gimli. This way he knows that I love both of my mates!"

Gimli added, "And Legolas and I did not wish to speak too much of our grief in Lothlorien. It is still painful..."

Now Legolas spoke, "Nor did we want to bring him fresh sorrow over Oin or cause him to think that Gimli and I loved each other for comfort only."

Gandalf did not laugh, but he was tempted to. This imparting of information in bits, one chiming in for the other was both amusing and delightful as it spoke clearly of their closeness. The wizard wondered if his lovers' parents had been treated to the same display and imagined they had. It would have been heartening to Gloin but to Thranduil it would have been only additional certainty that Legolas would die when Gimli did.

Gimli was saying, "So then I told him that we had agreed on an union of three and that the vows had been spoken and that it was working so well that both my spouses were my one to me. I could tell no difference."

Legolas reached out and ran his fingers through Gimli's beard. Grinning at Gandalf, he said, "So he did! All in one long declaration just as you have heard it! Gloin was so shocked that I worried he might faint..."

Gimli interrupted, "Dwarves do not faint!"

Gandalf and Legolas laughed. Legolas said, "The only thing he said about our relationship after Gimli's announcement was that he was glad all was well with you. Your letter helped, I believe. He read it several times. Later he had many questions for me. I can understand that he found it difficult to believe an elf could love a dwarf. Although he asked me about you often enough, too. I like Gloin, and I think in time we will be good friends. He was supportive, and that helped us a great deal. Both our fathers sent you their greetings." Legolas grinned. "So if you wondered if they blamed you, you need not worry.

"I found Gimli's family to be very kind-just as my dwarf is! We would have had more difficulty with gaining the acceptance of the rest of the dwarven community had we not had their support. Erebor is beautiful, and I love Gimli's home there," Legolas said. "Gimli and I have learned a great deal about each other's culture. We still have a lot to discover, but things went better than I thought possible in both places."

Legolas' chin lifted, and for a brief second Gandalf glimpsed a flash of sheer determination in his eyes.

Just as Gimli is determined to maintain peace if it is in his power, so Legolas is also resolute. The wizard reflected. Aloud, he said, "I am glad, my friends!"

Legolas smiled. "We came with wagons and brought the supplies needed to make the gates. Some of the dwarves of Erebor have come with us and are currently staying in the city. We are willing to share everything that happened since we parted, but perhaps we could delay the telling. Gimli and I have not loved since leaving Erebor. We decided to wait for you, hoping you would be in Minas Tirith when we arrived. We have missed you so much and eagerly anticipated being with you again!"

Gimli nodded. "And we bathed in a lake just a few hours ago."

They were looking at him hopefully, and Gandalf laughed. "Let us retire then! There is nothing I would rather do than to spend the rest of the day with my mates!"

Early the next morning, Gimli and Legolas walked through the streets of Minas Tirith. They were going to meet the dwarves in the city, since the work on the gates was to start that day. It was not necessary for Legolas to go with Gimli. In fact, the archer suspected that the dwarves would be secretly amused by his presence, for he could not help them work. Moreover, Legolas had been happily anticipating spending a quiet day with Gandalf. Yet when Gimli arose before dawn that morning, Legolas had quickly joined him. The avenues were quiet and gave Legolas an opportunity to speak with Gimli. He began with, "I have been thinking about last night."

"Aye, I suspect the same thing has been on my mind, too. The Valar are preparing him to go back to Valinor. I reckon he misses it more and more."

Legolas nodded. "And now he has begun to aid elves as he did in Valinor... I have started to think what our policy should be regarding this issue."

"Policy," Gimli said, his nose wrinkling. "You want a policy for love and his departure--something that I can not think of without my heart shouting a protest."

"Which is exactly why we need a plan." Legolas paused and glanced around. Spying one of the empty houses, he motioned toward the courtyard.

Gimli followed him, sitting on a bench and looking around at an area that once was some family's garden.

Legolas said, "I think we should do everything we can make our bond as strong as we possibly can..." He paused. Gimli was staring at him in disbelief. "My dwarf?"

"And just how have we not done everything to make the bond strong? If there is something else an elf requires, I judge that I should have been informed of this long ago."

Gimli sounded slightly affronted, and Legolas hastened to make himself clearer. "Nay! I did not mean it that way! Only that we start surrounding him with our words of promise so when he is in Valinor they come to mind easily. I am not suggesting that we bring up the future separation all the time! But it hurts, and we avoid discussing it. I believe we should begin to tell him now and then that he will continue to be a part of us. He knows, of course, but I think we should be sure he has the words to recall."

Legolas put a hand on Gimli's shoulder. "Sometimes I see you look at him as if you would like to hold onto him and never let go. And there are moments when I feel the same way. I deem that we should hold onto him at those times. Let him share a bit of our sorrow with us, and we will partake in his grief. We are trying so hard not to cause him more pain than he must already feel that I worry about how he will fare in Valinor. Better a little extra heartache now if once away from us, it brings ease to his spirit."

Gimli said quietly, "You are saying that we should let him see our feelings more, because later he will remember and know without a doubt that our love remains steady."

"Yes," Legolas said. "Hiding all of our grief may aid him now but later may be of little comfort."

"I agree. I thought about this, too, though my musings went in another direction. He is taking Shadowfax, and the horse is not what one would call tiny. So do you think Cirdan would be willing to put a small chest in his cabin?"

"I am sure that we could persuade him to do so. Gandalf is only planning to take his packs, after all. My people often have several trunks with them when they leave. What did you have mind?" Legolas answered.

"A few gifts. Such as a blanket so he can remember that our love is always around him." Gimli shrugged. "He must plan on using some bodily form now and then, as Shadowfax will want to gallop at times."

"A wonderful proposal!" Legolas said.

They lingered for a few moments trading ideas, and then Legolas said, "We will be late if we do not hurry now. I shall stay with you long enough to bring amusement to your friends."

Gimli laughed. "Let us go then, my elf."

One day in April of 3020 Gandalf sat in Erebor, watching Gimli pack. He had helped Gimli put his clothes in a chest, had moved some crates into the front chamber, and now sat in a chair, enjoying some wine and wrapping chinaware into pieces of cloths. He had been thinking of Legolas, who was at his home in Eryn Lasgalen. Gandalf knew that the archer would be packing, also. He would leave with the elves going to Ithilien in just a few days. The wizard had made a quick trip to the Shire and then had gone to Erebor, where Gimli was preparing to leave for Aglarond with a group of dwarves. Gandalf desired to have one more time with Gimli in Erebor. The warrior was currently busy bringing boxes from the back rooms into the front in preparation for loading everything on a cart to be hauled upstairs. He had just opened a safe that was somewhere in the recesses of one of those rooms. He had placed a small bound trunk next to the wizard's chair. This had not puzzled Gandalf; obviously the contents were valuable, and Gimli felt it should be close by. The Istar's conclusion was confirmed when after placing another chest against the wizard's chair, Gimli took a key from a pocket and opened it, giving Gandalf a look at the gems inside.

After Gimli had made the next trip to the back, the wizard knew from a lump in Gimli's shirt that the dwarf had put a case in its pocket. This caused Gandalf a great amount of curiosity, because as Gimli retrieved several more coffers, the Istar noted that the dwarf occasionally patted the item in his pocket and was now humming to himself. It plainly made him happy, and as he placed another box down next to the Istar, Gandalf decided to ask. "My good dwarf..." he began.

At the same time, Gimli said, "What am I..."

Understanding what Gimli was about to ask, Gandalf said, "What you are doing to make me curious is continually giving attention to whatever you have in your tunic!"

Gimli laughed. He took the case from his shirt and handed it to the wizard. Reaching into another pocket, he withdrew two silver keys.

"Two locks, Gimli?"

"Aye, and they must be opened in the proper order. The second lock will not work unless the first is already undone and you press here at the same time." He demonstrated.

Gandalf was now very curious about the contents and was surprised when the case revealed nothing more than a grey stone. He studied it sceptically, wondering what its value could possibly be. Gazing up at Gimli, he said, "I suppose this is worth quite a bit."

It was a question more than a statement, and Gimli grinned. "Aye, it is to me. Legolas is fond of it, too. It is galena."

Gandalf's curiosity reached a new height as he wondered what an elf could find to like in this stone.

"Never pleasured yourself in front of a mirror, eh?" Gimli asked.

Now totally bewildered, the Istar shook his head slightly.

"An odd thing to do, I will admit, but if you had you might know why I love this mineral." Gimli gently caressed Gandalf's face. "Your eyes are the exact colour of this stone when you achieve ecstasy."

Suddenly overwhelmed with love, Gandalf stared at the rock, his vision blurring. He briefly glanced at the coffers near his chair. They all no doubt contained gold and gems yet it was this stone that Gimli was keeping on his person. It was this mineral that was causing him to hum with happiness. He watched as Gimli gently closed the box and returned it to his pocket. Grabbing Gimli, the wizard held him close, declaring, "I love you, my heart!"

Gimli wrapped his arms around his lover. Gandalf's head rested against his chest, and the dwarf stroked his hair. "I love you, too."

A few hours later, Gimli had placed all of the smaller strongboxes into one big trunk and had fastened it with straps and locks. It would not go upstairs until he did the next morning, but a cart already held Gimli's household goods and most of his clothes. Gandalf added a box to the cart and stood there thinking. This was most likely his last visit to Erebor. He would not forget this place where so much good had taken place. He was reminiscing when he felt Gimli's hand on his back, and the dwarf said, "Not easy, I know."

Gandalf turned and nodded. "No, it is not. I was just remembering my first visit to Erebor after we had become intimate. As I travelled here I wondered if it was known that we were now lovers and if you had encountered a lot of criticism that might have made you change your mind about our relationship. I was in the stable seeing to my horse when you arrived. You put your hand on my back..." Gandalf smiled as he saw Gimli realise that his palm was resting on the wizard's back now. "...and you whispered, "I am so happy to see you again." I heard such joy in your voice. I have never doubted my welcome since."

Gimli smiled, his hand rubbing the wizard's back. "I remember! I was so happy to see you! The reunions have always been wonderful, my love."

"True, my lover! I doubt I will return to Erebor, but we have already made great memories in Aglarond," Gandalf answered.

"Aye!" Gimli answered.

There was concern in his voice, and Gandalf said, "I am enjoying the memories, much as a long smoke is appreciated."

Gimli laughed. "I understand."

Gandalf pulled Gimli closer. "You have lived here a long time."

The statement was an invitation to talk, and Gimli recognised it as such.

"Aye, it is hard to leave behind my home here. Some of my friends and family will be coming with me, but I will be leaving loved ones behind, too. I deliberated over whether to keep my dwelling in Erebor or sell it. I have many good memories here. But I realised that retaining three homes plus the travelling we plan on doing... it was best to have one less lodging to worry about. I was reluctant to sell this place. We have shared many wonderful nights here!"

He sighed. "I am glad that you are not leaving Middle-earth right away, else I think my heart would truly break. This already feels too much like a farewell."

"I will be in Middle-earth for almost another year, so it is certainly not a farewell, my good friend!" Gandalf said.

Gimli nodded. "No farewells yet. Not yet."

"Not yet," Gandalf repeated, not sure whether he was reassuring Gimli or himself.

Gandalf and Gimli had the evening meal with Gloin that night. Talk centred on various events in Erebor and Gimli selling his home. At a break in the conversation, Gandalf, remembering what Legolas had said in Minas Tirith, stated to Gloin, "It was not Aule that decided that Gimli's one was to be Legolas. Legolas is one of Iluvater's children. It is he that determines an elf's fate."

Gloin paused in eating and stared at him, declaring, "Gimli is a dwarf!"

Gandalf replied, "I am aware of that! Still, it was Eru that sanctified Aule's work and Eru who made elves."

Gloin seemed to consider this and then shook his head. "It is Aule that determines who a dwarf's one is. This is what we are taught, and I have never heard differently."

Gandalf nodded. He wished he had learned more about dwarves when he had lived in Valinor. He intended to have many long talks with Aule about the race when he was home. He answered, "Yes, so Gimli told me. Nevertheless, I imagine that when Iluvatar blessed Aule's creations, he gave approval to the Vala's choices. Certainly in Gimli's case, Eru's will is the one that determined matters. Legolas is his."

This was greeted with silence. Gandalf glanced at Gimli, who had been quiet during this exchange. The warrior flashed him a grin, and Gandalf got the impression that Gimli had already had a similar discussion with Legolas.

After refilling Gandalf's glass with wine, Gloin said, "I do believe that your fondness for Gimli has been quite beneficial for our people. I was speaking with Dwalin just the other day, and we were remarking how your patience with dwarves has increased over the years. Why neither of us recalls you recently giving us that interesting gesture with the eyebrows that you..."

Gimli began to choke on his wine, and Gandalf did not hear the rest of the sentence. He swallowed his own mirth, aware that Gloin had paused to study them.

Once Gloin had assured himself that Gimli was fine, he said to Gandalf, "I do not see what you two find so humorous, but the fact remains that you have had more patience with dwarves since you and Gimli took to each other."

"I thank you, my good dwarf! I hope I have! I suppose you could say that Gimli and I took to each other. I happen to love Gimli dearly! And I am confident that he loves me."

"Aye, I do!" Gimli chimed in.

Gloin looked fondly at Gimli. "That is for the best, my son." His attention turned back to Gandalf. "I cannot begin to tell you how worried I was when Gimli broke the news to me about Legolas. I have seen how happy Gimli makes you. Your letter brought me great solace, and I thank you for it! I will admit that the solution the three of you chose stunned me, but I know how you and Gimli feel about each other. And from what I can gather, you are correct, Legolas loves both of you. What a patient elf he is! I probed him often, reassuring myself that his heart could love a dwarf and a wizard both. It must have been annoying at times, but he never showed anything but understanding to me. If the two of you had to add another, I judge you did well for yourself!"

Gimli's eyes shone with pride, and the wizard imagined the same joyful glow was seen in his.

He means the words, Gandalf thought. Yet I believe he knows that I will be leaving Middle-earth and is giving this to me. "Thank you, my friend!"

Gloin nodded. "I understand that you will be making the journey to Aglarond with Gimli."

The conversation moved to Aglarond and Gimli's goals for the colony.

On the way home, Gimli said, "I agree that your patience has improved with the years."

"That is not what you said to me in Rivendell when you first visited there," Gandalf teased.

"Ah, but you were testing my patience then," Gimli said.

He gazed at Gandalf with love, and the wizard chuckled. Talking quietly, they made their way back to an almost empty dwelling.

A little while later Gandalf and Gimli reclined together in a large old chair of Bombur's. They were dressed only in their leggings and were talking quietly. At a pause in the conversation, Gandalf glanced around the chamber. Gimli was leaving most of the furnishings, yet all his personal belongings and the paintings had been packed away. The dwarf was not taking the chair they were reclining in. He was going to make most of his furniture in Aglarond and had told the wizard that he was planning on building a chair of his own design there. Gandalf sighed softly. He treasured the times he had spent with Gimli here.

As if he was guessing his lover's thoughts, Gimli said, "Erebor is where we loved for the first time."

Gandalf put his arm around Gimli and said softly, "He is not me, Gimli, but he loves you dearly. Let him comfort you, and give him what solace you can when I am gone."

Gimli shifted in the chair to embrace the wizard. He gripped Gandalf tightly, his hands firm on the Istar's back. "And who will console you, my one?" Gimli asked.

There was mourning in his lover's voice, but Gandalf heard the endearment, and his eyes closed. No matter how often Gimli used the term, it was wonderful to hear the dwarf refer to him in that manner. Sending love to Legolas who so willingly shared something that special, Gandalf said, "Knowing you will come to me will bring me great encouragement. I will spend many hours with Nienna. I love her as you do the Lady Galadriel. That will give me cheer. And I will have memories for consolation."

Gimli replied, "Remember my love and Legolas', too. My heart shall long for you until we are together again."

"And I shall be happiest when my lovers are in my embrace once more," Gandalf answered.

Gimli was silent for a moment. Then he said, "How grateful I am that we became friends and lovers! You have enriched my life so much! I think I fully realised just how much when I was in Eryn Lasgalen. Legolas and I told you that the visit went well, and so it did. But the first few days were rough. I had trouble not feeling resentment toward the people who had mistreated my father and uncle. I could have easily taken everything they did or said as an indication of their dislike of dwarves. Although I know that King Thranduil finds that incident to be highly regrettable."

Gimli's tone was very serious, but suddenly he laughed. "I could hear your voice mingling with my own thoughts." He looked at Gandalf, the devotion he felt for the wizard clear in his face. "Not lecturing me. No, I could hear your love for me, and I knew you would not want me to view everything negatively. So I tried to see people as if I had no preconceived notions. That night at the feast, I realised something. Legolas' family was just as anxious as I was to have no quarrel arise. Elves take a bonding very seriously. Spouses are the most important part of a person's life. The same way dwarves feel about their one. They feared an argument with me might cause Legolas to forsake them. I reckon that is why King Thranduil and I managed to get along. We had a common goal, that of having no discord, because Legolas should not have to give up his family for one of his mates."

The dwarf snuggled in close to Gandalf. "Your influence on me has been the best thing that ever happened to me."

Gandalf smiled. "If I have encouraged you to behold others fairly then I am glad, my dear one! Still, even without my impact on your life, you have a good heart, Gimli."

Gimli smiled in return. "I can even view the loneliness between your visits with good thoughts. Not many dwarves have had such an exciting lover to look forward to!"

Gandalf leaned down and brushed Gimli's lips with his own. He whispered against them, "I shall never forget our first kiss."

"Aye, I was so afraid that you would reject me, and I am so glad that you did not!" Gimli said.

"Definitely one of my wiser decisions, my friend!" Gandalf said.

Tenderly the wizard's lips moved over Gimli's. His gesture was an almost tentative rediscovery, both of them recalling that first kiss years ago. Their lips brushed again and Gimli trembled as the wizard's mouth pressed his own. Sweet, moist breath mingled as their lips parted. Their tongues met gently and then withdrew, only to find each other once more. Slowly the kisses grew ravenous, sending pure fire down Gandalf's spine and causing Gimli to grip the chair arm tightly.

Gasping, the two drew apart. Gimli put his arms around Gandalf and his head against the wizard's. "I love you," he whispered in the Istar's ear. Gandalf's hand brushed his nipple, and the dwarf's voice caught.

Gandalf pulled his head slightly back and watched Gimli's nipples grow taut as his fingers traced them lightly. Once more, the wizard captured Gimli's lips, thrusting his tongue deep into the dwarf's mouth. The warrior slid his hand under the Istar's hair and rubbed Gandalf's neck.

Thoroughly Gandalf charted Gimli's mouth with his tongue, delighting at the tremble in the dwarf's fingers as they massaged his neck. Releasing Gimli's mouth, he lowered his head to his lover's chest. A cry of pleasure broke from Gimli as Gandalf's nimble tongue swirled around his nipple. The wizard drew the entire area around the nipple into his mouth, suckling hard. Moaning loudly, Gimli's hands drifted down over the Istar's back. Gently he squeezed Gandalf's buttocks. "I need you! I need you so much!" Gimli muttered.

"And I want you, my love!" Standing up, Gandalf dropped his leggings to the floor. He could see desire and love in Gimli's gaze as the warrior studied his movements closely. The dwarf tugged his own trousers off, his eyes never leaving the wizard.

When they were both undressed, Gimli leaned back in the chair. Gandalf straddled the dwarf, gliding his hands down Gimli's sides until he could clasp his lover's waist. He tilted his hips, pushing his erection against Gimli's hard member. Gimli muttered, "You feel so good!"

Slowly, Gandalf rocked their arousals together. The wizard's eyes closed at the pleasure of the firm rod sliding against his own. Wrapping his hand around their erections, Gimli brought them even closer. Gandalf whimpered as the warrior's cock pressed his erect flesh. A soft, blissful sigh escaped the dwarf.

Gimli grasped the small vial that was waiting on a stand next to the chair. Uncorking it, he poured the fragrant oil into the palm of his hand. Once the bottle was re-corked and set aside, Gimli applied the liquid to his own straining cock. The warrior's broad hands cupped Gandalf's bottom and then the dwarf's fingers made lingering circles across the Istar's flesh as they danced downwards.

Gliding his finger over the wizard's furled entrance, Gimli began to lubricate the clenching opening. "Love you," the warrior whispered as he slipped the finger beyond the tight ring of muscle that guarded Gandalf's entry. Gently Gimli slid another finger in next to the first, beginning to open and shut them, getting the passage ready for his penetration. His thoughts were centred on loving Gandalf and the delight the silken channel would soon give him. A third digit was added to the other two inside the quivering passage, and slowly he widened his fingers.

Removing his fingers, Gimli took his erection in hand and guided it to the eagerly waiting aperture. Putting his free hand on Gandalf's hips, he helped the wizard ease onto his phallus. Gradually the Istar moved downward, groaning as Gimli's erection slid in deeper and deeper.

Gimli's needy flesh sunk far into the wizard's vice-like sheath. Once he was fully embedded, the dwarf halted to delight in the warmth and snugness that enclosed him. Gazing into Gandalf's dark eyes, Gimli declared, "I love you. I shall always love you!"

"And I shall always love you, my dear dwarf!" Gandalf panted.

Gandalf leaned forward and kissed Gimli, pouring his love into the kiss and feeling that love returned in his dwarf's passionate response. Gandalf began to move up and then down. Gimli's hips lifted and dropped in harmony with his lover, his thrusts gentle. Pushing his cock over the Istar's prostate, Gimli drew a loud moan from Gandalf. The wizard wrapped himself around Gimli, encouraging his lover to thrust harder. The warrior plunged his length into Gandalf. The wizard's beard drifted across Gimli's chest and stomach, causing the dwarf to cup Gandalf's chin and whisper, "Beautiful! You are such a delight!"

"And you are my treasure! I need more, faster!" Gandalf cried out, his own movements matching his words as his body rode the hard flesh within him. Gandalf tightened and then relaxed his muscles around the rigid penis, eliciting long groans from Gimli.

The dwarf quickened his speed, his hands steady on the wizard's waist. Having found a rhythm, for long moments they moved together. Gimli's cries of bliss and his whispers of love merged with Gandalf's moans and quietly muttered endearments.

"Close, Gimli," the Istar panted, "I am so close!"

Reaching between their bodies, Gimli clutched Gandalf's dripping erection and began stroking it firmly in time with his thrusts. His own orgasm was building, fire gathering in his loins.

Gandalf's stomach muscles were quivering, passion rising in his body. His head turned from side to side as his body pleaded for relief from the continually building pressure in his loins. Their movements became erratic, their gasps were uneven. One more firm pull and a flick of the dwarf's thumb over the head of Gandalf's cock, and the Istar's passion exploded, his seed streaming over his lover's hand and onto the warrior's stomach. He shouted, "Gimli!"

Gandalf's internal muscles clamped down, rippling around the dwarf's erection, pushing him over the brink. With another hard thrust Gimli came, crying out, "Olorin!" His seed gushed deep into his lover's sheath.

Their spirits mingled, escalating the intensity of their climax. The power and the strength of it shook both of them, producing long gasps. Gimli thrust shallowly throughout the aftermath, slowing and then ceasing. The wizard lay on Gimli's still quivering body. They traded gentle kisses before the dwarf slid out of the wizard's channel.

Gimli wrapped his arms around Gandalf. They embraced tightly as their breathing slowly returned to normal, gazing into each other's eyes. Then Gimli said, "How often I have peered into your eyes, treasuring each glimpse of your spirit. Now I can feel your spirit entwined with mine. How wonderful it is!"

Gandalf smiled. "I am glad that we had a chance to make love one last time here in Erebor, my dwarf! And that we were granted the opportunity to have a union of spirits! I like that closeness to you!"

"Aye, I agree! I wanted to love once more here, and these last few days have been wonderful! Being united with you in spirit is something I had never dreamed of, but it brings me great happiness!" Gimli replied.

Both of them thought of Legolas, who had made the joining of spirits possible, and Gimli smiled. He placed his hand over Gandalf's heart. "Always with us even when absent."

Gandalf nodded, knowing the words were meant for him to remember.

Gandalf was in Ithilien in late September of the year 3020. He was living in the cabin that Legolas and his people had constructed as a temporary living quarters. He sat in a chair, gazing out the window. There was a large meadow in front of the dwelling, and the elves were busily picking blackberries from it. Gandalf's attention was centred on one elf in particular. He watched as Legolas moved gracefully through the glade. His elf paused twice; once to wave at him and another time to halt by a trail that led toward Rohan and cast a glance down the path. Gimli had been in Aglarond for three weeks now, tending to the new colony there. He was not yet comfortable leaving the settlement for too long. Tomorrow the wizard and Legolas would leave for Aglarond. It had become a custom not to make love while travelling unless all three were together. Instead, they would wait for the reunion, setting aside desire in order to heighten the anticipation. Tonight would be the last time for a while that he and Legolas would make love without Gimli.

A month earlier, when the three had been living together in the house, they had discussed whether Gandalf would go with Gimli or stay in Ithilien. In the end, it had been decided that the wizard would remain with Legolas, who was occupied with harvesting the fruit of the land. As Gimli had said to Gandalf, "No point in your moving back and forth. You are settled here, might as well stay settled." The dwarf had planted a kiss on Gandalf's cheek and said, "Besides, I know how much you love the summertime singing under the stars."

Gandalf smiled now. He knew Gimli loved the singing, too. Often they had walked with Legolas under the stars, Gimli occasionally pausing just to listen to the elven voices lifted in song.

The sun was setting, and Legolas would be returning to the cabin soon. Gandalf went and checked the fish that were roasting over the hearth. He turned them with a long fork and then descended into the little cellar, bringing back some fruit and a mug of cider. He had just placed the fish on the table when he heard Legolas' cheerful humming and the thump of the door being closed.

Legolas came in with a basket of berries and a pitcher of cream. He sat the items on the table and turned to Gandalf for a kiss. Their lips met, and tongues gently explored each other's mouth. They broke apart, Gandalf laughing against the elf's lips.

"Is there something about my kiss that you find amusing?" Legolas teased.

Gandalf smiled. "You have been sampling the blackberries."

Now Legolas laughed. "Yes, I have."

They had a quiet meal together, talking of the days ahead. Legolas was excited by the building Gimli would be doing when he returned. The plan was to construct a house where the cabin now stood. It would have two stories and the upper level would open out into the branches of the beech tree next to the abode. This would give Legolas a talan without Gimli having to climb a tree or a ladder. Gandalf himself was eager for the construction to begin, as he hoped to be there to celebrate when the dwelling was completed. He knew that Gimli planned for it to be finished by the spring of the next year.

While they enjoyed the berries and cream, Gandalf asked, "Would you like to walk tonight?" The wizard smiled at Legolas' enthusiastic assent.

Legolas suddenly became very serious. He reached out and clasped the wizard's free hand. "At Helm's Deep when we were trying to find a solution to everyone's unhappiness, I thought about Lothlorien and what would have happened were it not for Moria. I know that dreams are just that: dreams. And that matters would have never gone as smoothly as I imagined them but..." Legolas shrugged. "Gimli had been telling me of the marriage of three in Erebor, and he said that the new lover would probably have moved in with the other two. So my thoughts were that once Gimli had discovered I was his one, I would have joined you both. And while I know that it would not have gone so easily, I also pondered things such as taking long walks under the stars with my lovers. I will admit that I still tend to think of this as part of what would have occurred in Lothlorien. I have loved the time I have spent with my mates during the nights in Ithilien. In a sense, it felt much as if my fantasies had come true."

Gandalf smiled. "I shall always hold close to my heart the memories of the nightly walks in Ithilien. And I can recall a certain noon in a little glade, too."

Legolas grinned. "So do I!"

As the first stars made their appearance, Gandalf and Legolas left the house. Along with others, they made their way to a meadow that was bordered by trees. It was here that Legolas' people came on clear evenings to sing, dance, and share stories. Although Gimli was not present, the pair both turned to the dwarf's favourite spot to sit. Smiling at each other, they settled in the soft, sweet-smelling grass under a huge oak. The quiet chatter of the elves around them muffled the sound of the wakening night insects. Above their heads, the stars glittered brightly. The edges of the meadow were bright from the lamps. The rest of the forest was swathed in an inky, warm darkness.

As they were getting comfortable, elves all around them put down blankets and lamps. On spying Andorian and his two mates, Caier and Ohtalle, Legolas and Gandalf beckoned to them to sit nearby. The Istar knew that Gimli and Legolas had spent a great deal of time with the three when they were in Eryn Lasgalen. They all were close friends now. Gandalf suspected that they were partly responsible for Gimli's allowing the wizard to speak of their union with others. Andorian and his spouses had not only welcomed Gimli into Eryn Lasgalen but had also been generous with their wisdom in what had worked for them in making a harmonious threesome.

Andorian said to them, "Give our greetings to Gimli."

"Yes, and tell him we hope all is well in Aglarond," Caier added.

"And that we shall be glad to see him when once more he is Ithilien," Ohtalle chimed in.

Legolas answered, "I shall gladly bear your greetings to him."

It was not the first time that day that they had been asked to give messages to Gimli, and the wizard was pleased that many of the elves genuinely liked the dwarf.

Two hours later, the music became softer and quieter as some of the elves departed for their cabins and repose.
Andorian slipped away with his lovers into the shadows. Legolas whispered to Gandalf, "Let me know when you are ready to leave."

When they departed, moonlight was making pale paths across the wild grass and flowers. They did not head back toward their cabin but to a spot that they both were familiar with, taking the longer route, prolonging the joy of the night.

Under an enormous willow, Legolas dropped his pack and commenced to pull blankets from it. Once they had spread two of the covers out, Legolas rolled another one up.

They lay close together. Moonlight filtered through the branches of the tree, and the sound of a nearby waterfall could be heard. The faint scent of water lilies drifted on the wind. Legolas turned onto his side and studied the wizard.

Suddenly the archer pulled Gandalf into an embrace. He held tightly onto the Istar. His fingers nestled into the wizard's beard. "I shall miss you so much!" he whispered into Gandalf's ear.

"I shall miss you, too!" Gandalf cried, folding his arms around the elf.

Legolas' head snuggled into the wizard's shoulder. The Istar's fingers run through the elf's silky hair. He gently traced the braids in Legolas' tresses. After a time, he pulled back to gaze into his lover's eyes. How quickly and deeply he had come to love Legolas! Slowly he began to undo the braids in the archer's locks. The soft strands fell through his fingers. "How enthralling you are, my Green Leaf!"

Legolas was very still as the wizard's digits undid the ties in his hair. Somehow no matter how many times Gandalf did this, the gesture brought overwhelming happiness. It reminded Legolas of Gimli and gave him a feeling of belonging to both of them. He felt fortunate that Gimli had agreed to be bonded to them both.

When his hair was flowing freely around his shoulders, Legolas placed a gentle kiss on the wizard's lips. "I love you," he whispered, before his tongue entered Gandalf's mouth. The wet muscle played there, expressing both love and passion.

When they separated, Legolas sat up and swiftly began to shed his clothes. He paused and said softly, "I want you!"

"Yes," Gandalf muttered, stripping his own clothes off rapidly. As soon as his garments were removed, Legolas pulled him close. A soft gasp escaped from the archer as the wizard's naked body slid against his own.

"Mmmm..." Gandalf said, happily. Gliding down, the wizard gently nibbled on the archer's nipple. As the nub grew erect under his mouth, Gandalf laved it with his tongue. Legolas' hands played across his back, and the archer's chest trembled. Switching to the other nipple, Gandalf gently tugged on the tip. He smiled around it as Legolas whimpered.

It was Gandalf's turn to quiver as Legolas' fingers moved down to his hips and lightly over the wizard's quickly hardening penis. The archer's digits curled around the wizard's erection, and Gandalf moaned. Legolas' hand moved slowly up and down, pausing to let his thumb graze across the head of the Istar's cock.

Gandalf laid his head on the elf's chest, his fingers idly plucking at the archer's nipples, his eyes closed with pleasure. He could hear Legolas' heart racing. Reaching out, Gandalf seized a tin from his pack.

Legolas laid back and opened his legs in invitation. A low rasping breath came from Gandalf, and his hands trembled as he slid the rolled-up blanket under his lover's hips. He opened the container and dipped his fingers in the cool lotion. He moved between the archer's legs.

Legolas' cock jutted over his stomach, the tip of it glistening with moisture, and Gandalf could not resist. He eagerly took the phallus deep into his mouth.

Wrapped in the heat of his mate's mouth, Legolas bucked upwards, his fingers grabbing the blanket beneath him. The wizard rubbed his fingers together to warm the lotion as he curled his tongue around the crown of Legolas' shaft, collecting the drops of wetness there. He let a finger trail over the archer's scrotum, delighting in the soft moan from the elf. Lightly, he traced the outline of the entrance to his mate's body before sliding a slender finger inside. He glided it in and out of the tight passage while moving his mouth faster on his lover's hard flesh.

Legolas let out a choked cry and said, "More!"

Gandalf worked a second digit into the velvety channel. Crooking his fingers, he found the nub that caused Legolas to arch into his mouth and cry out. Sucking the head of his lover's erection, the wizard slowly added another finger into the snug passage. He rubbed the small rise before scissoring his fingers. His cock jerked in readiness as the tight muscles gripped him, and he carefully removed his fingers.

He eased off the rigid cock in his mouth, eliciting a soft cry from Legolas. The archer pulled his legs up, and Gandalf mounted the elf. Placing his arousal at the waiting entrance, he penetrated his lover. Legolas' low whimpers guided him on.

When the wizard was fully seated inside the elf, the archer wrapped his legs around Gandalf. After a moment of adjustment, Legolas tugged on the Istar's hips. The wizard needed no second urging and began to thrust. His movements were slow and gentle at first, gradually becoming more powerful and fast. His beard strayed over the archer's chest, and Legolas moaned out his pleasure. It took only one shift to find that special area inside the elf and to wring cries from his lover as he rubbed across it on each lunge forward. He enclosed Legolas' erection within his fingers. Gandalf stroked his lover's cock in accord with his swift, hard thrusts, hastening them both to completion.

As he plummeted over the edge, Legolas' essence spilled over the wizard's hand. He cried out the Istar's name, his channel grasping the Istar's cock. Grabbing Gandalf, he held on tightly. The union of spirits was swift causing both to cry out.

Feeling his lover's seed overflow his hand and the passage clench around him, Gandalf could hold back no longer. His semen poured into Legolas' body. "My Green Leaf!"

Legolas' spirit united with his, mingling their light together. Gandalf stilled, allowing the bliss to reign in his body and spirit. He could feel his lover's joy so strongly that it was difficult to discern it from his own sensations.

A short time later, Gandalf carefully pulled out of Legolas. He turned onto his side and tugged his lover into his arms.

After a while, the archer took a jug from his pack and with a soft cloth cleaned them both.

"It is a lovely night. Would you like to sleep here, my lover?" Gandalf asked. He rested his head on Legolas' chest.

Legolas' yes was soft and sleepy, and Gandalf smiled. He drifted into slumber, content in the embrace of his lover.

September of 3021 found the three in the Grey Havens. The little house where they rested was nestled among trees not far from the quay. A fall wind rustled the trees that flourished in the courtyard outside and scattered the scent of the sea through the air.

Gandalf propped himself on an elbow and studied his two lovers. Legolas was curled around Gimli, one hand firmly lodged in the dwarf's beard. Only a month ago, the wizard would have been placed in between his mates. The change of positions had been his idea. He wanted Gimli and Legolas to be accustomed to holding each other during rest without him. He knew it was the correct decision because the first night of the change, Gimli had been very restless. Legolas had informed the wizard that this was typical for Gimli, stating, "He is always that way the first few nights apart from you." Now the dwarf rested peacefully within Legolas' arms.

Gandalf already felt bereft. The three had cried together last night, and in the years after the war, his two had often spoken of this day and how they would miss him. Gandalf blinked. He was determined not to cry, for that would no doubt rouse his mates. They were sensitive to each other's emotions. He did not know if this was due to the continual intimacy between them or the elven bond. He suspected that it was a bit of both.

The wizard studied his lovers, committing each feature to memory. His gaze lingered longest over Gimli because he knew the dwarf would be many years older when he arrived in Tol Eressea. Then his concentration went back to Legolas, taking comfort in the fact that the elf would not have changed much despite time passing.

Strong though the call to go home was, once more the wizard reviewed it, wondering if he could delay his departing for a while longer. He sighed. His heart told him that it was time to leave and they already were in the havens. To turn back now would mean putting them all through the anguish of the last few days again.

More of the dawn's light filtered into the room, and Gandalf sighed again. Then putting a smile on his face, he whispered into Legolas' ear, "Wake up, my Green Leaf!"

He watched as the archer's eyes slowly focused on him. Not intending to give his lover a chance to begin to mourn, Gandalf gently rubbed an exposed nipple. There was a soft gasp from Legolas. Placing kisses along the elf's neck, Gandalf said, "I love you, my Green Leaf. Thank you for sharing our dwarf."

"Thank you for giving me your heart so freely and for not grudging me Gimli's love," Legolas replied.

Gandalf showered kisses across the archer's face. Eagerly the elf offered his lips to the Istar. As Gandalf captured his mouth, Legolas slid an arm around his mate. The elf's breath quickened as an insistent tongue plunged repeatedly into his mouth, hot and slick.

When they broke apart, Gimli had began to stir, and Gandalf said breathlessly, "It is time to wake our other."

Legolas moved over Gimli to rest on the other side. Gandalf gently nuzzled into the dwarf's beard and then placed a kiss on the warrior's lips. "My dwarf, love, dawn is here." One hand slid over Gimli's chest to play with a nipple while the other reached to Legolas, his fingers lightly moving over the archer's waist.

Gimli's eyes opened, and he stared up at Gandalf. The wizard saw the sorrow start to dart in and whispered, "No, Gimli, not yet."

Already understanding that Gandalf wanted to put the grief off a little longer, Legolas said, "Gimli, meleth."

Gimli's eyes met Legolas', and suddenly he was glad that they had spoken of how they would act on this day. He nodded slightly and turned to Gandalf. He nibbled gently at the wizard's lips. When the dwarf's tongue slid over them, Gandalf opened for it.

A quiver of excitement raced through Gandalf as he felt the archer's lips hot against his neck, while Gimli's tongue explored his mouth. Gimli's hands wandered down the Istar's back, to cup Gandalf's smooth buttocks. His fingers massaged the firm muscles.

Gimli nuzzled the wizard's neck, while Legolas placed kisses into the hollow of his throat. Moist kisses and tender nips trailed over Gandalf's shoulders and down his chest. He gasped when both nipples were fastened onto at the same time by two warm mouths. Reaching out, Gandalf cradled his lover's heads as they suckled his nipples.

Then Gimli's tongue twirled over his stomach and Legolas' dipped into his navel. A moan escaped Gandalf's lips as hands trailed up his thighs while teeth nipped gently over his hips. His cock pulsed as fingers threaded through the white curls at its root and teased tantalisingly over his sac. Two mouths replaced the digits, each drawing a firm ball into its wet heat. He cried out, arching his hips upward. He felt Gimli's broad hands slide under his hips, lifting them while Legolas placed a pillow beneath him. He opened passion-glazed eyes to see Legolas move between his spread legs. Then thought departed as the dwarf's mouth moved smoothly over his erection, taking it to the base in one long stroke. Legolas' tongue brushed over his entrance and dipped inside to stab and swirl. Clutching at the sheets, Gandalf panted and groaned.

Gimli's tongue twirled over Gandalf's cock. He licked and laved each inch, promising himself that he would remember the taste and feel of the wizard's phallus. He pulled back only when Gandalf's fingers gripped his shoulder tightly and he knew the Istar was close. Taking his cue from Gimli, the archer moved back and sat up.

A whimper came from Gandalf, and Legolas grabbed the oil by the bed. He generously lubricated Gandalf's cock with lingering touches that made the wizard shudder. He gave the bottle to Gandalf, who drew a long, gasping breath. Gimli had turned to his side, and now the Istar quickly pressed oiled digits into the dwarf's body, slicking and stretching the tight passage.

When the wizard's fingers withdrew, Gimli rolled onto his back. Gandalf settled between his spread legs. Centring his cock, the Istar carefully breached the dwarf. Gimli's deep mutters of encouragement propelled him forward. Gandalf's head fell back, his eyes closing as he sheathed his shaft in the velvety warmth.

Legolas' fingers fondled Gandalf's nipples and then stroked lovingly down his back. After rubbing some of the oil over his fingers and erection, the archer's hands traced tenderly across the wizard's taut buttocks, before spreading them gently. Legolas slid his fingers down, circling the puckered opening. He slipped first one finger and then another inside the Istar. He scissored them, loosening the channel enough to receive him.

Fully enclosed by Gimli's tight channel, Gandalf halted, his concentration on Legolas' movements. His hand languorously tweaked the dwarf's nipples.

Burrowing one hand into the wizard's silky hair, Gimli tugged the Istar into a forceful kiss. The dwarf's tongue delved deep into the wizard's mouth as Legolas' fingers probed within his body. When they broke apart, Gandalf moaned, "Please, my Green Leaf! Now!"

Holding the Istar's hips firmly, Legolas positioned himself and slowly penetrated Gandalf. They both cried out as the archer inched deeper. Legolas groaned, "So good, you feel so good." The elf's tongue made long trails down the wizard's back, while his hand shifted to circle the base of Gandalf's erection, feeling it slide slowly in and out of Gimli's passage. Legolas reached forward to enclose the dwarf's phallus in his oil-covered digits, stroking it in pace with his own slow thrusts.

The archer moved so his cock would rub across that special area inside the wizard. They swiftly fell into a swaying rhythm, the vigour of Legolas' thrusts driving Gandalf into Gimli. Quiet whimpers came from Gimli and groans from Legolas, but wedged between the two, Gandalf could only

Gimli stroked Gandalf's beard and said, "Love, my love."

Understanding what Gimli desired, Gandalf thrust harder and deeper, massaging that one region on each forward drive. Passion built in the wizard's loins, and, fulfilling Gimli's unspoken request, Gandalf forced his eyes open and met the dwarf's. A few more quick lunges and the Istar's seed streamed into Gimli. Gandalf's body shook with the force of his climax and the intensity of the uniting of spirits.

Gandalf's eyes never left Gimli's, and the dwarf's love of their beauty plunged the warrior into his own ecstasy. Even as his essence flooded over Legolas' hand, the union of his spirit with his mate triggered more bliss.

Legolas moaned loudly as Gandalf's muscles clenched around his cock. Hearing the music of his lovers receiving pleasure and feeling the light in his spirit that signalled their union, Legolas cried out in bliss as he surrendered to the ecstasy of his body.

All three quivered through the aftershocks for a long time. Slowly they untangled limbs, and Gandalf collapsed on his back, tugging his lovers to rest on either side of him, their heads pillowed against his heaving chest.

It was Gandalf who finally broke the silence. The room was completely lit now, and he knew it was time. Gimli was not crying, but the Istar could tell from the dwarf's breathing that his lover was hurting. He turned first to Gimli and said, "Do not think of the ending when you think of me, my dwarf. Remember the beginning and how our love grew.

"I could never begin to tell you how much your love has meant to me. You have been my solace. You make me feel cherished, and that is priceless." Gandalf reined in the tears as Gimli's eyes, bright with grief, met his.

"You are my mithril, and I love only my diamond as much as I do you," Gimli replied.

Legolas, knowing that he was the diamond, reached over and gripped Gimli's arm.

Gandalf turned his attention to Legolas. "My Green Leaf, never forget how much I love you, too. I treasure each hour we have had together. You are indeed a diamond."

"Thank you, my lover. Remember that even when we are apart, our spirits are one. Our love for you will remain strong." Legolas wanted to say more, he desired to whisper words of love for hours into the Istar's ears. Yet he had done so over the last few days, and now the sorrow seemed too great for speech. Still he was determined to stay strong. Gimli had never experienced separating from a friend or loved one when they chose to sail. Legolas had, although he knew this parting would always be the one that grieved him the most. He was also aware that Gimli, being friends with many elves now, would have to face these farewells again. Nothing so hard as this, Legolas reflected. He sighed.

Gimli sat up to retrieve cloths. He dipped them in the water basin and said, "I hope you will not worry about us quarrelling. Legolas and I will be fine. Nor will our love for you diminish with time."

Once they were cleansed and dressed, Legolas left the chamber. He returned with a tray loaded with a loaf of bread, a jar of honey, a flask of wine, three glasses, and a pot of something Gandalf did not recognise. "I know none of us is that hungry and you will be having breakfast on the ship. Gimli and I will eat later. This is a custom of my people upon parting."

He placed the bread down on the stand beside them and cut three slices. He dipped them into the honey and gave two of the pieces to his lovers. "The past is like honey, in our memories, sweet to the tongue. We are held together by our bond, though apart. May memories stay bright and bring us comfort." He took a bite of the bread and his lovers followed his example.

Legolas then dipped the bread into the pot. "This is made from bitter wild greens. It represents the present, which is sorrowful to us." He repeated his actions, and his mates imitated them, taking a bite of the bread that had been plunged in the tart sauce.

The archer poured them a drink, saying, "This is sweetened wine. When we are reunited we shall celebrate with wine and wash away the taste of the grief due to parting and the anguish of missing each other. A sip is taken now to remind us of that time and give encouragement to the heart."

They were crying now, but the wine was sipped, and then they embraced, holding each other tightly. It was only after many minutes had passed that Legolas could bring himself to break away. Sliding his fingers under the wizard's beard, he cupped Gandalf's chin and gazing into the Istar's eyes, he said, "I love you, will love you forever. I will bring you your dwarf. May the wait not seem too long, and may Nienna comfort you while your mates are absent." He placed a kiss on Gandalf's forehead and slipped out the door, leaving Gimli in the wizard's arms.

The two held each other for a short time longer then Gimli said, "I will come to you. I promise."

"If..." Gandalf began, but Gimli shook his head. "No ifs. Besides, someone has to bring your elf to you." He smiled sadly. He rested his head against Gandalf once more and then pulled back. "It was worth it to me. Never forget that."

At the door, he turned back. "Thank you," he said and bowed.

With tears in his eyes, Gandalf turned to retrieve his packs.

Gandalf had spent the day with Lady Galadriel, neither of them desiring to be alone with their heart. Now evening was departing, and the wizard sat at a small table in his cabin. His sight blurred, and the Istar rubbed his eyes. He had only been sundered from his lovers for one day. It seemed too early to begin to shed tears. He bit back the feeling of bereavement, telling himself it was just another separation, although a long one. He glanced at the bed and shook his head. He could not face an empty bed yet.

Getting up he went to the shelves by the bed, intending to get the eagle that Gimli had given him long ago. He slipped the bar off the shelf and let down the door. There by his packs was a chest that he did not recognise. The wizard frowned, wondering if the previous occupant had accidentally left it. Then he saw it: the carving of a sun, a tree, and a mountain on the lid.

Opening the trunk, Gandalf's eyes rested first upon a bundle of letters wrapped in twine. The top one had Gimli's writing on the outside, and the words read, "Year One." Gandalf understood. They had written letters to him to be opened at certain times.

Next to the missives was a large wooden box. Sketched on it was a meadow scene with a horse resembling Shadowfax grazing. Opening it revealed plenty of pipeweed and a new pipe.

Gandalf smiled and reached inside the chest and took out a tall candle. It too was marked with years and around it was tied a note. Gandalf read Legolas' words on it. "Light the candle on the day of our parting each year and let it melt into the next. We have a candle, also, and will do the same. Before the candles are completed, we will be reunited again and will set their flames alight and let the extra years burn."

The next thing Gandalf pulled from the chest was a book. He flipped through the pages and found that they had copied his most loved poems into it. They had inscribed two stories that he had shared with them, labelling them, "Our favourites." Also between the pages was a bookmark; a green leaf that had been dipped in wax.

There was a small box next to it and opening it, Gandalf found two locks of hair. Gently he touched the red tints in one before letting the silk of the blonde strands grace his fingers.

There was also something enclosed in several cloths and the wizard gasped when the wraps fell away. There in a golden frame was a portrait of the three of them in front of the fireplace in the newly built house in Ithilien.

His eyes glistening, Gandalf pulled the last item out of the chest. It was a blanket and pinned to it was a message that said, "To keep you warm and surround you with love until we can do so ourselves once more." The wizard shook the quilt out and saw a part of Middle-earth in each square. Here were the blue mountains of Gimli's birth, the tall trees and butterflies of Legolas' home, mallorns of Lothlorien, a soaring eagle, a waterfall of Ithilien, autumn birches of Rivendell, sunset against the walls of Minas Tirith, the Lonely Mountain, a field of flowers in the Shire, and shimmering stalactites of Aglarond.

Gandalf hugged the quilt and let himself cry. They were not entirely the drops of sorrow that he had felt certain he would experience on this day. Instead, the tears were also ones that came from the overwhelming sensation of being loved. Perhaps the years apart would not seem too long after all.