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.

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 7

Gimli had gathered his belongings and was walking through the halls to Gandalf's chambers when the elf stopped him.

"Could you tell me the way to the gardens?"

Gimli considered this an odd question. Why would one of Lord Elrond's people ask him the route to a place they would know far better than he would? Frowning, he looked up at the elf and then bit back a gasp. Never had he seen eyes so piercing blue. He wasn't sure that he liked the bright orbs. It seemed very abnormal to have eyes that shade. Remembering the inquiry, he managed, "Aye, why do you ask?" Now the elf was looking at him as if he were strange.

"I do not know the way and thought you might." Legolas wondered if all dwarves had such a lack of intelligence. This one was scowling at him as if he were the stupid party in the conversation.

Gimli tore his gaze from the sapphire eyes and noticed for the first time how differently this elf was dressed from the Rivendell elves. "Aye." He pointed down the corridor in the direction the elf had come from. "Go back and stay in this hall until you reach the first chamber. It has four archways. Take the exit to the left. It will lead you straight to the gardens." As he talked, his mind added the facts together, and he concluded that this elf was not from Rivendell. Still, just in case there was something wrong with this being, he'd best inquire. "Are you all right?"

Inwardly Legolas sighed. He had only been here for a few short hours, but the elves in Imladris seemed different enough from the woodland folk without having to deal with someone that was completely beyond understanding. Yet perhaps for some inexplicable reason he appeared ill to the male, who was probably just trying to be polite. "I am well. I thank you both for the concern and the directions. I would suggest that you leave Rivendell in the morning, not the evening. The roads can be dangerous."

For a second, this statement baffled Gimli. Then he grasped the meaning. The elf thought he was leaving because he had all his belongings with him. And therefore, he would know the path to the gardens because he would have been visiting for awhile. "I am not leaving Rivendell."

Now Legolas felt really confused. He had wondered if dwarves always journeyed in their better clothes, but surely it was not normal for the race to carry their packs everywhere with them. The dwarf was not covered with dust from travelling, so he could not have just arrived in the valley.

Realising they were both staring at each other, he tried to think sensibly. Such dark eyes he has, Legolas thought, and that reflection will not help this inane discussion. Trying to start over, he said, "I am Legolas Thranduilion. May I inquire who...?" He paused. The dwarf looked as if he had just been introduced to a dragon or a particularly vicious goblin.

Upsetting thoughts raced through Gimli's mind. Earlier, he had told his father that he would be staying with Gandalf. Now he would have to report that he had been standing in the passageway idly chatting with Thranduil's son. "Gimli," he announced and dashed off toward the wizard's quarters.

He left behind a very perplexed elf. Perhaps his Lord's negative opinion about dwarves was correct. Gimli, if that was his name, not only seemed to have difficulty with the easiest of questions but was also very eccentric and impolite. It was possible, he supposed, that Gimli had an objection to his father. That would account for the rudeness. Shaking his head slightly at the incomprehensibility of dwarves, Legolas turned to go to the gardens.

Gimli had arrived at Gandalf's door when shock at his own behaviour caught up with him. There was no need for me to act as if I had no manners at all. Giving him my name and doing it properly wouldn't have hurt either me or my father. He probably imagines that I am very discourteous, and a bit addled too. Seems obvious now that he is not from Rivendell. Not that I would say that his father comprehends much of courtesy. Still he was civil to me, and I had to go rushing away as if I had no sense at all. Disgusted at himself, Gimli knocked at the door.

Seconds later, Gandalf opened the door and upon seeing Gimli said, "My dear dwarf, as you are staying here with me, it is not necessary to knock!"

Gimli replied, "It is when a dwarf is witless."

Gandalf watched as Gimli moved past him and into the room. Shutting the door behind him, the wizard said, "I have never known you to be witless. What happened?"

Gimli dropped his packs on the floor. He sat at the table and with many broad gestures gave Gandalf an emotional account of the occurrence in the hall. He left out nothing, adding, "The elf did not sound very happy either." That statement halted the outpouring of words briefly as he considered it. He had not realised it at the time, but he had noted the sadness in a voice that had tones that reminded him of a bird call.

Gandalf listened to the story and had to restrain himself from laughing. If these two were any example of how elves and dwarves communicated, it was amazing that there had not been even more discord between the two races in the past. He got up to get them both some ale and to keep the dwarf from seeing the amusement on his face.

When Gimli had finished the telling, he remarked, "Well, you can laugh, but I did not particularly enjoy having such a conversation. I am aware that you love elves, but if that is typical of exchanges with them I would rather avoid them completely."

Gandalf could no longer hold back the laughter.

After a few moments, Gimli laughed too.

Then Gandalf said, "Never mind, you can hardly be blamed for not perceiving that Legolas is a stranger to Rivendell. I doubt that you study how elves dress! Legolas arrived this afternoon with a message for me, but Elrond kindly did not come here and interrupt me when I was with you. He waited and told me about it over the meal. It wasn't that important anyway, because I already knew the news that Legolas was bringing me. It was about the escape of Gollum."

Gandalf was about to change the subject and bring up something else that was on his mind, but before he could begin, Gimli said, "Gollum? Is that is the being you and Aragorn were hunting?"

"Yes. Aragorn found him and took him to Thranduil. Legolas volunteered to help safeguard him. I found out from Gwaihir, the eagle, that Gollum escaped from the elves. I can only assume that Gollum convinced Legolas that he was miserable in the dungeon and the elf took him out to see the trees. He wouldn't realise..." he was halted by the expression of anger on Gimli's face.

"What a foolish and unreliable being he is!" Gimli ground out angrily.

"Legolas has a compassionate temperament and was repaid for it in evil. I told him to treat Gollum well."

"So you said that he was to take Gollum outdoors?"

"No, but he understood that I was hoping Gollum might be cured from the darkness he has harboured so long and probably presumed this would be an aid to that healing."

Gimli shook his head. It still appeared to him that this elf had been given a trust and had failed in it. "If a dwarf let Gollum abscond, he would be reprimanded in public and removed from any position of authority. He would be ordered to pay a determined compensation to our King for the dishonour he brought upon all of us. You would be considered within your rights to demand further penalties. The person would be considered disgraced."

"You do not believe that Legolas feels disgrace in the matter?"

Gimli started to say that he did not care, that it was no more than the elf deserved, when his own perception of Legolas' unhappiness stopped him. He sighed. "It does not matter what he feels, there ought to be some consequence for his deeds. You should..."

Gimli halted trying to think of an appropriate castigation for an elf. "You should ban him from the woods. Command it so that he cannot get near a tree without pain." This seemed inadequate to Gimli, since such a disciplinary action would not bother him. He would not miss being close to a forest, but he imagined that to an elf it would seem a severe correction, similar to keeping a dwarf from gold. This thought made the sentence sound very harsh to Gimli. "But only for a time. Are you planning to just let this be?"

Gandalf was aware that dwarves remembered grievances long after they were committed. Gimli had a very kind heart, though. Gently he said, "If it was your decision, you would have me use my powers to punish him. Is that what you would desire?"

The word "aye" was on Gimli's lips, ready to be spoken. A glance up from the table at the wizard caused the word to die. Gimli scrutinised Gandalf. They had been lovers for almost seventy years, and yet he was suddenly very conscious that he really had no idea just what Gandalf was capable of. He did discern that the wizard did not intend to harm Legolas in any way, but did he want to say that he felt Gandalf should take action against the elf?

Gandalf was looking at him with an amicable expression. He appears to be nothing more than a very gentle, harmless being, Gimli thought.

A memory flashed like lightening into his mind. A friend saying, "You are brave to take such a lover. Why, if he got angry he could probably change all your gems into worthless pebbles."

Gimli's eyes drifted over his lover of many years. Probably quite able to do such a thing. And I suppose an elf like Legolas would find being deprived of trees just as disastrous as I would suddenly finding myself with a strong-box full of pebbles. Do I wish that on Legolas? His mind insisted that the elf should not be allowed to avoid chastisement for this offence, but his heart recalled the bright blue eyes and the sadness in a voice that was surely meant for singing happy tunes.

And would he really ever choose for Gandalf to hurt someone that was not truly evil? Something that had been nagging at him now burst forth in his mind: he could see Gandalf clearly across the table.

Glancing around, Gimli saw that the ferns had been given a stand and set next to the archway leading to the garden. Gimli looked back at Gandalf. His lover was kind and thoughtful, and the dwarf did not want the wizard to take any action that might change his character.

Gandalf watched the expressions play across Gimli's face. He was not surprised when the dwarf sighed and shook his head.

"I don't like Gollum's escape and Legolas' part in it, but I am not inclined to have either of us take revenge. I definitely do not believe you should. It might change something in your basic nature. I would not want that."

"It would for you, too. Revenge and the desire for it twist the spirit and dim its light. That is true of any race." Gandalf observed Gimli's noting of his statement, and the wizard hoped the dwarf would let the truth find a home in his heart. "Gimli, does your father still feel animosity toward Thranduil?"

"No. He has not forgotten the incident, though." Gimli hesitated and then forged ahead with, "Where are your parents?"

"I do not have parents." Gandalf had a very good notion of what this was leading to.

Gimli listened to Gandalf's tone of voice with great care. He had long since begun to suspect that there was something very unusual about 'wizards.' Virtually every person in Middle-earth identified himself by who his father was, and yet Gandalf never did that. The wizard did not seem unhappy about not having parents, and Gimli wondered whether his lover had ever had any. He continued, "Then you do not know how it feels to have someone mistreat one."

Gandalf felt that if he had been inclined to argue with Gimli about feeling angry on behalf of Gloin, he would have already lost the disagreement. He could not prevent the slight grin. "Yes, but Legolas is not responsible for his father's decisions."

"Aye, I bear no particular grudge against the elf. But I see no reason to stand in a corridor and have a long talk with him, either. Tell me, if you do not agree with revenge, why did you aid my people in the retaking of Erebor?"

Gandalf smiled. Trust Gimli to ask difficult questions. "There is a difference between justice and revenge, my dear dwarf! One cannot have dragons inhabiting every abode of the dwarves, not to mention eating many of them and terrorising the men of Dale."

Gimli chuckled. "I hope not! Well, all I can say, is if Aragorn had brought Gollum to Erebor, he would not have found it so easy to get loose."

"Mirkwood was closer. My dear lover, you are fortunate and have no idea of what it is like to be in Gollum's presence. He is continually whining that his precious was stolen, often makes strange noises, talks to himself, and says over and over that we are cruel. I will spare you the details of his eating habits. I would never be able to bring myself to tell Aragorn to spend any more time in the company of such a creature than necessary."

Gimli nodded. They stared at each other across the table, and then Gimli said, "Thank you for removing the ferns."

"I do not enjoy talking to it anymore than I desire to speak to my beard." Gandalf remembered what he had wanted to ask before the conversation had shifted to Gollum. "I informed Elrond that I would like you to attend the council that he will summon once Frodo and the others are here. Otherwise I will have to repeat everything to you afterwards. Hopefully Aragorn will arrive with Frodo soon."

Gandalf stood up and reached for one of Gimli's packs. "Let's get you settled in. How did your talk with your father go?"

Gimli grabbed another and said, "It went well."

"Well as in he is barely speaking to you and I should have gone with you? Or well as in he has no objection to your moving into my chambers?"

Gimli chuckled. "Well as in he accepts it and hopes you are right about the elves' attitude."

They went into the bed chambers and the wizard went to the white chest of drawers. "There is room for clothes here." He set the pack down and reached for Gimli.

Gimli moved into the welcoming embrace, leaning upwards and pressing his body against the inviting warmth of his lover.

Gandalf eased down and seized Gimli's lips to indulge in a lingering kiss.

Gimli stood still in the hug, his lips trembling. His mouth opened with a hitching gasp, permitting the questing tongue access. How he loved the wizard's taste of ale and sunshine.

After a second they pulled apart and began to put clothes away. Gimli recounted the conversation with his father.

Gandalf noted the pride and goodwill that was in Gimli's speech. Gimli finished, and Gandalf said, "That is indeed well, as in you have a very wise father."