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

Feedback: Please.

Warning: 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 6

Gimli knocked firmly on the door, calling, "Father."

"Come in," Gloin answered.

After the door was shut behind him, Gimli paused for a moment. His father was sitting on thesky-blue loungeacross fromthe grey stonefireplace. He was whittling a piece of wood, and Gimli could tell that it would eventually be a flute. Gloin had a wide wooden bowl at his feet to catch the shavings.

The room had lamps atop woodens tands that were cut so that they zigzagged upwards to a height almost equal to that of the dwarves.Acreamy white rugcovered thefloor.One of the archways in the room had a heavy white curtain pulled across it. Another was open to the outdoors, though the cliff against which the chambers were set shaded the entrance, giving it a feeling of privacy. A series of paintings showing the river Bruinen in all four seasons decorated the walls. Two white pillows with blue circles sewn onto them were placed on each side of the lounge.

Gimli sat next to one of the pillows. His father must have been reading earlier, for there was a book on the low brown table in the centre of the room.The table also held a vase with white flowers and candles with roses carved into them sitting in crystal holders.

Gimli began, "I saw Gandalf today. I obeyed you and did not seek him out." He sighed. His father had glanced up but then had gone back to his craft. "When Gandalf and I became lovers in Erebor, he often worried about what the consequences would be for me as far as my standing in the community was concerned." Gimli paused to look at his father. He was being very open, but he was not sure whether that was the best method.

Gloin only nodded and replied, "That is as it should be."

"Yet my family stood behind me, and all has been well."

Gloin frowned. "That might havebeen a factor in it, but there were two other reasons thatdetermined how you were treated. Gandalf being a wizard is a big partof it. He could have chosen any dwarf, yet you were the one that was selected. Many peopleview that as a statement that you are a special person."

Gimli kept quiet. He did notsee it as necessary to state that Gandalf had not picked him. It was he that had deepened the relationship. His parent's words still hadsignificance, though, for the reality was that the wizard could have rejected Gimli.

"Of course, I suspect that many dwarves would not agree to having an outsider as a lover and might have felt there was somedisgrace in your doing so.Your own conduct was a major aid in your keeping respect within the community. You were discreet, forcing no one to accept the relationship if they did not want to. Yet you never acted as if you were ashamed of it either. If you had done so even once, you would have faced a loss of status with our people that no amount of support from family could repair. The attitude would have been that if even Gimli thinks it is dishonourable, then it must surely be. You handled it very wisely. I am not sure I would have done the same in your place. I would have been tempted to try to hide it more. I almost advised you to do so and then..." his hands stilled briefly. "Then I watched the two of you share a joke over a meal one night and realised the joy you both received from one another's company. I thought, 'If he does not feelguilty over it, why should I?' So I let it be. That turned out for the best." He went back to crafting the flute.

Gimli studied his father silently. These were not the words he had expected, but they filled him with pride and gave him encouragement to continue. "Gandalf feels that I should let him deal with Rivendell as he let me manage Erebor."

Gimli was surprised when his father chuckled.

"Does he now? So he wants not just his friend but his lover, too. Very complimentary that, I suppose. I guess I don't need to ask for your decision in the matter. I've seen the way you look at him as if he is more important than all else. I still don't feel it is the best course." His hands stopped again, and he caught Gimli's gaze, "I do not want to risk my son's being hurt when he has to face slurs or, worse, see someone he loves be insulted."

"Gandalf says that he is respected enough that we should be left alone."

"Ah. This is one of the troubles a person faces by loving an outsider. They can never really comprehend our culture. I wonder ifGandalf realises that if someone offends you, you are not going to run to him with the news. Not the dwarven way. Have you told him that, Gimli?"

"No. I am prepared to deal with the consequences.I love him, and we are not together often. It seems foolish to waste this time in Rivendell. I have agreed to move into his quarters."

Gloin said nothing for a few minutes. "I do not like the idea that you will spend the rest of your life in a bed that is empty more often than not. Nor the notion that most ofyour days will hold some worry for a lover whose existence involves being indanger a great deal. Gimli, is he your one?"

Gimli hesitated. "You told me that I would know. I don't. Yet how could he not be? I cannot believe I could love anyone elseas much as Icherish Gandalf. Dwarves love only once, so he must be."

Gloin selected another chiselling tool from the pack at his feet. "You will know when you have found your one. You have arrived at a common conclusion among dwarves but a wrong one. You feel that because you havegiven your heart to Gandalf, never again will it be fully yours to grant to someone.I do not want to make light of this matter, for it is indeed a serious one." He looked at Gimli. "Do youcare to hearmy thoughts on the subject?"

Gimli took a deep breath. His father's question meant that if he said "aye," Gloin would be very frank with him. "Aye."

"Very well." Gloin went back to his task. "I watched the situation with Hurin closely. You helped him find and marry his one instead of just ending the relationship, as most would have done. Youdiscovered a solution that meant no one grieved, although I doubt it was so easy for you. Irealise thatyou were veryfond of Hurin. Ireckon that most would have thought it was impossible to preventhim from being hurt. I do not know what is going to happen when youmeet your one, but I've seen you handle two difficult situations very well.

"I will share something that might aid you.When I married your mother, I felt I could neveradore anyone as I did her. Then a baby boy was put into my arms, and I deemed that there is nodevotion like the love a father feels for his son. There are different types of love, all of which a dwarf is capable of. Your deep love for Gandalf does not signifythatyou can love no one else."

Gimli said, "Yet I may never find my one. When I am with Gandalf, the happiness makes all the loneliness worth it. Iam aware thatyou've seen how difficult these last two years have been for me, but it is not always so. During most of Gandalf's absences, I am content with life. I am proud to be his lover, and he loves me even more than many that have shared his bed. Perhaps more than anyone else, for he has put me first for years now, living with his own loneliness when he could have had other lovers."

Gloin smiled."I am glad. I have considered Gandalf to be a good friend of mine for a long time. He saved us several times during the Quest for Erebor. I never thought he was very good at explaining himself--though you seem to understand him quite well!"

The bell for the evening meal rang, and Gloin began putting his work away. "You are of age," he said.

Gimli had heard that statement before and discerned what it implied. His father had said what hebelieved on an issue,and now he was leaving it to his son to do whatGimli felt was right.