A Custom Shattered

by Sarah

Rating: NC 17.

Pairing: Gandalf/Gimli

Warnings: This will be slash. Graphic sex between two males.

Disclaimer: Tolkien owns the characters. They are not mine.

Beta: Nefertiti. Any mistakes left are mine.

Archiving: Meddling in the Affairs of Wizards. Anyone else, please ask.

Feedback: yes, please.

Dedicated to Nefertiti. I could dedicate this to her for many reasons: she inspired the story, her invaluable beta work, or all the encouragement and advice she has given me both on this and my other stories. However, I want to dedicate this story to her for the most important reason of all: she is my friend and I'm happy to have her friendship.

Gimli sat by the blazing fireplace and listened while the wizard told stories to the dwarves gathered around him. This was one of his favourite times, relaxing with a good ale and listening to Gandalf's tales. He rarely asked whether the tales were true or just myths garnered from the Istar's many travels. He was content to listen to the melodic voice and watch Gandalf's face in the firelight. It was an interesting face and Gimli could not decide what feature he liked better: the beard that glistened in the firelight or the intent grey eyes. The eyes, he mused after a few minutes. They are compassionate, wise eyes. Through them I can tell he is not just what he appears.

Gandalf never paused in his narrative, yet he was aware of the dwarf's scrutiny. It was this way each time he visited Erebor. Gimli, Gloin's son, would arrive at his side shortly after his return was announced, and except for night times, he did not leave. Gandalf enjoyed the dwarf's presence and encouraged him to stay at his side. Gimli was one of the easiest dwarves to get along with that Gandalf had ever been acquainted with. Often Gandalf would draw him into a conversation, as he had quickly discovered that Gimli was intelligent and thought deeply on many matters.

Gimli's strong support had several times helped him work with a people who tended to share knowledge of their customs unwillingly. Gimli's acceptance had brought him further admission into a reclusive society. There were many times when he would be invited to share a meal with one of the families and that invitation would include, "You will be bringing Gimli along, won't you?" Whether or not Gimli had wanted the position, he was often the liaison between Gandalf and the dwarves of Erebor.

They were all grateful enough for Gandalf's aid in their regaining Erebor, but the thankfulness did not extend to explaining customs or allowing him too close to the families. Gimli, however, had never refused him information and often volunteered facts he thought might be helpful for the wizard to have about his people. Gandalf treasured the trust he had been given. He also suspected that it was the meals with Gloin's family and later Gimli when the young dwarf had his own place that had caused the rest of them to feel it was acceptable for him to be in their homes and to be friends with their women and children.

Gimli's dark eyes were fixed on him now, as they always were when he talked. Gandalf noted that Gimli had a habit of finding the seat closest to him.

Gimli poured himself some more ale and refilled Gandalf's mug, too. He sat back down, pulling his chair a bit nearer to the Istar. Gandalf was telling a saga about a place called Gondolin. Gimli preferred battle stories like this one but what fascinated him most was how Gandalf's eyes were always kind even when relating the fiercest of accounts. The wizard was unlike any of the outsiders Gimli had ever known. He truly liked dwarves.

The evening wore on and the stories ended. The gathering gradually dwindled. Gandalf said good-night to those still remaining and got up to depart. He was not surprised when Gimli started to leave, too.

It had become a habit with them. Gimli's family tended to have the only pipeweed in the area, and since that visit when Gimli had offered to share his stash, they had often enjoyed a smoke together before parting for the night. Once Gandalf had asked Gimli where he got the weed. Gimli had replied, "Balin, most of the time. Once I went with him to the Shire. I go every time my father visits Bilbo, too. I like to travel, and if I can find an excuse to journey when someone goes to see Bilbo then I also go." Gandalf was cognizant that Gimli liked having glimpses of the world beyond the community of dwarves.

"Care for some company? I have some good weed," Gimli asked.

"Yes, I would appreciate both the company and the smoke."

The walk through the halls was silent, as both were busy with their thoughts.

Gimli was thinking of how much he loved Gandalf's visits. They were none too close but when Gandalf was around, Gimli felt he could have a view into another world besides his own. He sighed to himself. In truth, he found the wizard exciting. There were days when he wished he could have an adventure. He didn't care to admit that to anyone. He just felt restless, sometimes.

That wasn't what was annoying him now, and it wasn't why he considered Gandalf exciting, either. He sighed. He was beginning to have a powerful yearning for Gandalf. Gimli sighed again, more heavily. He probably shouldn't dwell on that. He didn't relish scandalizing every dwarf in Erebor. Not to mention Gandalf's reaction. That did not bear thinking of at all.

Gandalf noticed the sighs and frowns. Dwarves may have a reputation for being grumpy but Gimli was normally cheerful. A good smoke and perhaps Gimli would confide in him the trouble he was having.

More thoughts, equally unpleasant, came to Gimli. It was likely that all of Erebor would be shocked by such a relationship with an outsider, but quite possible some would not be particularly surprised. He was the first person to be told of Gandalf's arrival. When Gandalf was visiting, everyone, including his father, sought the wizard out if they were searching for Gimli. It would be horrible if they believed he was lying with Gandalf when he couldn't even find enough courage to hint of his longings to the wizard. Gimli tugged on his beard in frustration.

The cavern that was reserved for Gandalf's dwelling during his stay was one toward the outer gate. It had a small entry for hanging cloaks and a front room with low chairs, a mirror, and a table. Lamps stood in various places. There was a painting of a mountain stream following its course through rocks and crevices. There were white stone floors throughout. It was not big, but it was the best guest room. A pitcher of water had been placed on the table, along with a bowl of fruit.

After lighting the lamps, they settled into their favourite chairs. Gimli got out his pipe and the precious weed from a pouch.

Gimli's ponderings continued. He glanced quickly at Gandalf. The wizard was bound to see that something was wrong, and being a kindly fellow, he might inquire what it was. Then what could he reply? 'I want to stay here with you tonight. I'd like to touch you and...' It would not do and the tightening in his loins warned him not to pursue such reflections. He had watched Gandalf closely during his last stay in Erebor, and the wizard had never given the slightest indication that he was interested in dwarves in that fashion.

Gandalf observed Gimli. The dwarf seemed to find the floor very enthralling, judging by how he kept his gaze there. Occasionally, he would glance over at the wizard only to look away again. He was displaying no enthusiasm for smoke rings. Gandalf had only arrived in Erebor that afternoon. Perhaps some event had taken place since his last visit that was upsetting Gimli. He would have liked to ease whatever was vexing his companion. He studied Gimli. A very handsome dwarf and an excellent friend. Indeed, he could think of one very enjoyable way in which he could draw Gimli away from his worries. There was no point in thinking along those lines, though.

They sat in silence for awhile and then Gandalf said, "Tell me, Gimli, what is bothering you?" He began to put his pipe away.

Gimli knew he would have to give some kind of answer. A 'nothing is wrong' would be an obvious lie. He was never dishonest. "I've a friend. Lately, I've been wanting to explore the possibility of being more than friends. I know his heart isn't involved, but I have no problem with that. He is not my one. My heart stubbornly refuses to find that one. Yet I do love him." Gimli put his own pipe aside.

"If I understand you correctly, you want to become lovers with this dwarf. Am I right?"

Gimli focused his eyes on the wall. He wasn't going to be able to avoid a full disclosure, but if all he requested was a kiss, than that was the only thing he could be rejected for. "He has a beautiful beard. I'd like to know what it feels like. I desire a kiss. Then we'd see how we both feel about more."

Gandalf wondered who the lucky dwarf was. Gimli never looked straight at him and that was puzzling. Probably the nature of the conversation but a nagging realization seemed just at the edge of his consciousness. He was missing something. "I take it you haven't told him?"

"No. I haven't told him. I am aware that things aren't always easy for him. I don't want to add to his burdens. I just yearn to be part of what brings him joy while he is here." Gimli felt the time for a complete confession had come. He stood up. "I realize he probably has lovers elsewhere, and I don't care. I'll have my own while he is gone."

Comprehension reached Gandalf with sudden force bringing a rush of longing to his body.

Gimli walked to Gandalf's side. Keeping his eyes fixed on the wizard's, he put one hand on Gandalf's shoulder, and with the other hand, he reached out stopping just short of the Istar's beard. Then he leaned forward, his lips almost but not quite touching Gandalf's. He whispered and Gandalf had to strain to hear him, "I wish to know how your beard feels. Is it different from mine? And your lips, how would they taste?"

Gandalf had not expected this, yet now that the desire was out in the open, he realized that the signs had been plain. If Gimli had been any other race instead of a dwarf, he would have been aware of the attraction long ago. Dwarves were a private race. Once, a very long time back, when he hinted to a dwarf that he wouldn't mind being more than good friends, he had been very firmly informed that dwarves shared intimacies only with each other.

The brown eyes that held his were steady but showed clearly that a rejection was expected. Gandalf had to admit that he also felt distinctly curious, and he was extraordinary fond of Gimli. He had been acquainted with many dwarves but none had matched Gimli in his loyal friendship.

Gimli regarded his silence as a rebuff. The wizard appeared to be very surprised. The idea has never occurred to him and he probably doesn't appreciate being given a problem when he hasn't even been in Erebor for long. He sadly turned, with his gaze lowered, to get his pouch.

Gandalf said quietly, "I'm not declining you. I care a great deal for you, and I am curious myself."

Now Gimli's eyes met and caught his. This, Gimli thought, is quite hopeful.