Boundaries Crossed

by Sarah

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: Gandalf/Gimli

Summary: The sequel to Barriers Broken. The story deals with the time of the Quest and afterwards.

Disclaimer: They belong to Tolkien. I claim only the original ideas and characters.

Feedback: Please.

Beta: Nefertiti. Thank you! Any mistakes left are mine.

Chapter 3

They arrived in the wizard's chambers, and the door shut behind them. After a second's hesitation Gandalf decided to take a chance, and he opened his arms to Gimli. The dwarf moved into them, enclosing the wizard in a hug. He may be worried about others' opinions, Gandalf thought, but he does desire to be close. His conclusion was supported by the sigh of contentment from his lover. They stood silently. Gandalf rubbed the dwarf's back.

After a few minutes, they moved to the round table in the middle of the room. Gimli sat across from Gandalf. The dwarf was quiet, and Gandalf followed his gaze.

Gimli glanced up at the arches far above his head. The room had three of them supported by stone pillars. The last arch was at the far end of the room and led straight to the gardens.

Gandalf got up and pulled the doors on each side of the archway closed explaining, "I do not want anyone to overhear what I have to say." He went to the wooden wine cabinets at the left of the room. He had some mead that they both enjoyed.

Gimli was still peering upwards when Gandalf came back. Now the dwarf was studying the huge chandelier above the table. Gandalf slid the goblet past the potted ferns to Gimli. "I know the room is immense. I quite like the cosier chambers at Erebor."

Gimli glanced at him and went back to scrutinising the room. There was another wide opening with side doors that pulled together at the right. Like all the entrances it was a semi-circle. The fireplace was next to it and a fire could be started in both the outer and inner chambers in it. It had several chairs around it.

Gimli seemed in no hurry for conversations or indeed for anything else, Gandalf mused. Had his dwarf become reclusive in only three years? Perhaps the rooms made him uncomfortable. "Is there something wrong with the chambers?"

Gimli shook his head. "Floor is remarkably well done." He knew the wizard was puzzled at his behaviour, but he wanted to study this room where Gandalf had spent many years before he was even born.

The floor? Gandalf stared at Gimli in disbelief. Since when had the floor been more exciting than he? He looked down. He had never paid any attention to the floor. Now Gandalf tried to see it through Gimli's eyes. It was white and brown marble. The table set in the centre of a circle of blue stone. Not remarkable at all, though maybe a dwarf would think differently. Certainty not as remarkable as a wizard.

Gimli looked across the table. He took a sip of his mead. He could not see Gandalf well for the plant, but he supposed he could talk to it. "Would..." This felt ridiculous, and Gimli stood up and went around to the side of the table. He moved behind Gandalf's chair and put his hands on the wizard's shoulders. "Would I be right in thinking you did not design these chambers either?" His fingers began to gently stroke. Gandalf's shoulders felt strained under his touch and the dwarf noted it. He's anxious over Frodo. Regret over his words about Gandalf's lack of patience filled Gimli's heart. These tense shoulders bore a great many responsibilities, and he vowed to remember that the next time the wizard directed a little irritation at him.

"You would be correct."

"I thought so. You'd best not tell me anything."

Gandalf leaned into the gently massaging fingers. "Why not?" he asked in surprise. He glanced back at Gimli.

"My King feels that I should be a poignant reminder to you that Erebor is important. He did not outright say so but I believe he imagines that I will be given confidences from you that I'm obligated to report to him."

"Nonsense! If you were going to do that you'd have told him about Bilbo. I trust you, and you need not worry. I'm not going to inform you of matters that would make you have to choose between me and Erebor. Lord Elrond is going to have a council, and it will be discussed then. I just want you to hear it from me first."

Gimli's fingers were soothing, and Gandalf closed his eyes briefly before continuing. He slowly told of Saruman, and his treachery ending at his arrival in Rivendell.

When he had finished, Gimli reached out and laid his hand over Gandalf's heart, "How are you doing?"

Gandalf turned sideways in the chair and tugged at Gimli. Instantly Gimli hugged him.

It was a relief, Gandalf reflected, to have someone ask first for his welfare, instead of talking of the consequences they all faced due to Saruman's betrayal. "It is painful. I had thought we were friends. Now I am alone, for little aid can I expect from Radagast."

Gimli's fingers caressed the wizard's beard as he gazed into Gandalf's eyes. "You are loved by many people. I know it is not the same as having the help of other wizards but you do have many allies. I cannot understand how he could betray you. He may be a wizard, but I am not impressed with his wisdom. You are honest and true and deserve not such treatment."

Gimli said nothing else. He was angry at the other wizard's actions, but he remembered well the one lecture he had received from Gandalf during the years they were lovers. Gandalf had been teaching him the order of wizards. Gimli was always very quiet if the Istar started to share information not given to others for fear an interruption would end the revealing. He did not always understand what was being stated, but it could be mused on later. He never stopped Gandalf to ask questions.

That night, though, Gandalf had declared that Saruman was the head of their order and the wisest. Without any thought at all, Gimli had announced, "No. He is not. No one is wiser than you!" He had received a scathing look for his loyalty and a "You should not boldly assert such statements. I know of what I speak."

Gandalf was also recalling that night. He had no doubt that Gimli was keeping silence due to his reproach, although if the dwarf brought it back up, Gandalf would not blame him. Saruman had not chosen a path of wisdom. When there was no other response from Gimli, the wizard put his head against the dwarf.

Gandalf caressed Gimli's face. "If you are uncomfortable with us being lovers here, I will respect that."

Gimli's thoughts went to his father. He would have to talk to his father later on this matter, but the decision was his alone. He loved Gandalf and longed for more than just the hug they had shared. "I do not care what they say about me. I am proud to be your lover. Disrespect toward you, though, would be distressful for me. I know not what I want." Yet his heart was saying that the rest of Middle-earth was not as important as sharing love with his friend.

"You often told me that you could deal with Erebor. I can manage Rivendell. I suppose someone might say something to you, but I doubt it. They certainty would not to me. They fear my wrath even if you do not! Lord Elrond already knows." Gandalf explained watching Gimli's reaction closely.

Gimli just looked serious. "He does not care?"

"No. He is amused because I was so eager to get to you that it was obvious but that is all. He will not be amused at any elf that causes me to feel insulted."

Gimli remembered well all the times the wizard had fretted over his welfare in Erebor. Yet Gandalf had let Gimli deal with his people. He would let Gandalf manage Rivendell.

Gimli chuckled. "One other question. Is there an open archway in your bed chambers too?"

"No. Are you planning on studying each detail in that chamber too?"

"Aye, unless I find something more interesting in the room."

"I shall have to see that you do."