Author's Note: Hello again! Finally, the start of another story! I will just state the usual here, I am not involved in Tolkien's genealogy at all and I make no profit from this, trust me, I am very broke. And by the way, I absolutely love getting reviews. And yes, this includes constructive criticism. You could flame, but it better be a creative one. Anyways, I'll shut up now and we can start the spanking new story!

Chapter One

"There now, that was not so terrible was it?" asked Legolas.

Gimli looked up at him with a slight turn in his lip. "It was well enough I suppose for those who like such things." But even as he spoke seriously he could not keep a small grin from passing over his face.

The two companions had just stepped out from under the eaves of Fangorn after spending a few days wandering under the trees. Legolas had been thrilled throughout all of it and had told Gimli more than he ever wanted to know about trees. For his part, Gimli was only keeping up the end of a bargain made during battle, one that he had not wholly suspected he would have been alive to keep.

Legolas laughed aloud. "Careful now or I shall suspect that you will soon prefer the trees to your dim halls in mountains."

Gimli snorted. "Our dim halls as you say will be forever my first preference. Though I might be tempted to admit that trees are not a horrible alternative."

Legolas threw up his hands. "Then I know not what to do. I have tried everything to have you appreciate true beauty, but you stick to your stubborn ways and foolish ideals."

"And those foolish ideals are readily backed up," Gimli proclaimed, his hand going for the shaft of his axe.

Legolas glanced askance at him, amusement flickering in his eyes. "Do not force me to draw my bow. For though you have proven yourself to be hearty in battle I believe I have proven myself as well."

Gimli let go of his axe. "I would not force you into close combat with me, for I have come to tolerate your strange ways and I might miss them. After all, we both know who proved themself best at Helm's Deep."

Legolas stopped in his tracks. "You only beat me by a single orc, and I have long suspected that you were somewhat gracious in your counting."

Gimli grew indignant. "You accuse me of cheating?"

Legolas and Gimli stood still, eyeing each other. Though Legolas towered over his stout friend, Gimli drew himself up and glared defiantly up at him. They remained that way for a few moments, a familiar tension growing between them.

Finally Legolas let out a breath. "Of course I do not accuse you of cheating," he said.

Gimli breathed as well and smiled a little before the both of them turned to continue on their walk. "You were merely in a busier place than I," Legolas finished.

Gimli shook his head. There was no use in arguing about it now, they would never get anywhere, and Gimli wanted to get as far away from the forest he still did not trust as quickly as possible. "Believe what you want," Gimli muttered.

Legolas' keen hearing picked up his words easily enough, but he only suppressed a laugh at that. He enjoyed the banter between him and the dwarf, and he had been in such a light mood since the end of the war of the ring that he often found himself looking forward to their verbal sparring.

"Now that I have seen your caves and you the trees, where shall our journey now take us?" Legolas asked.

"We go to our homelands of course," Gimli answered. "We told Aragorn that we would bring some of our own kin to help in the restorations of the White City."

Legolas nodded. "A fair enough course."

"And now that you have seen the Glittering Caves you must see the next best place. My home in the Lonely Mountains."

"You wish for me to accompany you there?" Legolas asked.

Gimli was taken aback. "Of course. Why do you ask such a foolish question? We are taking this journey together, I will not leave you idly by the mountain side."

"I thought that I would stay in Mirkwood and our paths would recross when you were done seeing to your home," Legolas said absently.

"No," Gimli said firmly, "I will see your homeland and then you shall see mine."

Legolas' eyebrows lifted. "You wish to see Mirkwood?"

"I will endure another forest if I have to," Gimli answered. He frowned, usually the elf was eager to drag him from one forest to another. "What bothers you about this plan?"

Legolas shook his head and turned his eyes to look ahead. "Nothing, I just thought that you would not want to see Mirkwood. And I also thought that I might not be welcome in your homeland."

He said the last part quietly, but Gimli did not let it pass. This time it was the dwarf who stopped.

"And what put that in your head? Why would a friend of mine not be welcome in my house?"

Legolas swung his eyes back to Gimli and Gimli was surprised at the unfamiliar light in them. "I had thought that the past actions between our own fathers might still be an open wound."

Understanding finally came to Gimli. He had forgotten about that. Often he even forgot that Legolas was an elf himself, until he did some sort of irritating elf habit. "That was a long time ago," Gimli said, "and much more important things have happened since then. I am sure it is closed by now."

Legolas let a small smile form on his lips. "If you believe so, then I have no better word to trust," he said. "On we go then."

Gimli picked up the pace again and shook his head to himself. Of all the things for the elf to worry over. He had no doubt that his father would have long since forgiven the unfortunate incident that had happened in Mirkwood. When traveling with Bilbo, his father had been momentarily held prisoner by Legolas' father Thranduil and they had escaped by way of barrels in the wine cellar.

Yes, surely it would all be buried by now. Dwarves were stubborn but not stupid.

The rest of the day was spent in travel. There was little more conversation and Gimli hoped that the elf was still not thinking about what may come once they reached the Lonely Mountains.

For his part, Legolas tried not to think about it, but he could not quite suppress his thoughts. He still remembered his brief encounter with Gloin at the Council of Elrond. He had spoken of the elves being unkind to him, and Legolas had noted a spark deep within the old dwarf's eyes. The issue had still been sore then.

But Gimli was right, much more important things had happened since then. Surely Gimli's father would be more than welcoming to his son's traveling companion and close friend. Legolas had saved Gimli's life more than once through their many battles in the War of the Ring, even though he had never told Gimli so. He suspected his friend would not want to know about the many times Legolas had silently taken out an orc he had noticed creeping up on Gimli when Gimli was occupied with another. The dwarf's confidence led him to never worry about covering his own back, he merely leapt headlong into battle.

All would be well, and Legolas had to admit he did have some sort of vague curiosity to see Gimli's home. He somewhat suspected it would be like any other cave or mine he ever had the misfortune of seeing based on Gimli's descriptions. But Gimli talked about it with such enthusiasm that Legolas thought perhaps there would be some sort of new element to it.

When night had fallen and the two had set up their camp, Legolas wandered nearby for a bit. It was his way, for although Sauron's reign was over, orcs still roamed through Middle-earth. They no longer had direction or a leader, but they still banned together when they could and were not above killing travelers.

"I had a thought," Legolas said when he came back from his scouting. He sat down cross-legged next to where Gimli was chewing on a piece of dried meat by the fire.

Gimli looked up expectantly. "It would be possible to take a slight veer from our course to visit Lorien," Legolas said.

Gimli's eyes brightened for a moment, but then he sighed. "No, we shouldn't do that. For if we go to visit I shall never want to leave again. It is well enough, I have just come from traveling with my lady and I know that we shall meet again. Besides, I wish to return to Aragorn with our promised help as soon as possible."

Legolas smiled. He knew the dwarf would give anything to visit Galadriel again. Gimli looked down and then back up at Legolas. "What? I appreciate your offer, but we cannot spend that much time. I'm not lying to you when I say you will have difficulty in dragging me from there."

Legolas nodded. "Very well then. I just thought I would ask. Worry not friend, I am sure you will see the lady Galadriel again."

Gimli snorted. "Well if you claim that we are free from orcs I should like to sleep. Not all of us are able to catch their rest while walking."

Legolas smiled again. He knew the reason for the dwarf's sudden grumpiness. He hated showing his emotions so he covered them with the ones he did not mind showing.

"Sleep away friend," Legolas said, "I will get my own rest after a while."

Gimli grumbled a bit before finishing his meat and then settling down on his pallet. He pulled his blanket over his head and then said no more.

Legolas stood after a few moments of idly watching the fire. It was dying down and he would let it. Though he knew that there was nothing in the immediate area, he could not shake a feeling of threat growing inside of him. He was never one to ignore his instincts, so he was restless while he tried to figure the cause of it.

Legolas paced a bit while he tried to reason with himself. No doubt he was feeling unease at visiting the Lonely Mountain. Though Gimli accepted him as a friend and was undoubtedly his closest friend he was still wise enough to know that not every dwarf would accept him as kindly.

When the fire was long since dead and the moon had passed over its zenith Legolas finally forced himself to lay down. He attributed his feelings to nervousness about the future confrontations, nothing more.

Slowly, Legolas drifted into the wispy realms of sleep.