-Note- I've never actually written anything with members of the fellowship in it...we'll see how this works out. One of my favorite parts of the trilogy is the friendship of Gimli and Legolas, so I hope this turned out well. I've read both Gimli and Legolas friendship and romance, but I've stuck to friendship here to keep it simple.

-Disclaimer- I own nothing.

Friend

He left the camp at dark, when he would not be missed, and sought another's company. Legoals was, undoubtedly, singing and looking, starry-eyed, at the sky through the boughs of the tired-looking trees that lined the stream. Ithilien, Gimli had found, had far too many woods and not enough good, solid rock.

Which was why, he knew, the Elf loved it so. Blasted Elves and their precious woods...

True to his guess, he found Legolas laying beside a young tree, feet in the fast-moving water. With a rough oof, he sat back on his elbows and waited.

They relaxed in companionable silence. So much better than the stiff awe surrounding them at camp.

"You've left your axe behind?" asked the Elf, breaking the quiet.

"Aye. War's over."

"Aye."

A bat flitted, squeaking, overhead, a black form against black sky and silver stars. Gimli took comfort seeing such a familiar creature.

"And we survived."

"Aye," said the Elf. Always one for simplicity, he was.

"Which means..." he broke off, watching his companion with his eyebrows raised.

Legolas sighed. "You show me your infernal caverns. I am aware."

Gimli smiled and reached for his pipe inside his cloak. Quick as a flash, Legolas' hand was holding down his cloak pocket.

"Dwarf..." he growled. Gimli had not known that Elves growled, but this one, apparently, could. "I have no wish to smell that repulsive stuff of yours."

Gimli grunted in displeasure, but gave up. Elves, he found, were not quite as strong as they boasted. To not love pipe smoking!

"You know..." said Legolas lightly. "We will also visit Fangorn Forest. I would pass yéni there, if I could. Speaking trees..." He smiled. "A wonder, indeed."

"Then while away your years in that ghastly wood. I, for one, will not be joining you."

"Really? And here I was, thinking you were a Dwarf of you word. I am disappointed."

"Are you, Elf?" he asked testily. There was no possibility of him ever going into that cursed forest again...

"Yes. You seem to have forgotten my half of our bargain."

Gimli groaned. "Elves do not forget, then."

"Nay, we do not."

"But we will see the Caves first. And then see how your paltry forest compares to the grandeur of the earth."

"Paltry? I resent that."

"I know."

"Dwarves!" Legolas sighed exasperatedly.

Neither spoke for a moment.

Gimli was troubled. "And then?"

"Yes?"

"After we have seen both ends of the bargain. There shall be naught for us to do, and this old Dwarf will have seen all of Middle Earth."

"Oh, I think not."

"Ah? Tell me, then."

"We shall, of course, have to visit Aragorn often. And we can busy ourselves with the remaining orcs...the war is won, but the fighting is not over. And then..." he thought for a moment. "You have not seen my wood, and I have not seen the halls of your fathers."

Gimli turned quickly to face the Elf, beaming.

"It has not been fully repaired, of course...but the mountain is magnificent nonetheless. If only you could have seen them before that cursed dragon..."

"As I recall, you hadn't either."

"Aye, but I have lived with the stories," he amended.

"I see. My home is not what it once was, either. But it will matter not, soon."

Now, Gimli thought, they had reached the heart of the matter.

"And you?"

"And I? I will sail, after a time." Gimli cursed the gull's cry that had already taken the Elf away, and cursed his own inability to understand.

"And what of your dear old, bumbling Dwarf?" he asked.

Legolas raised an eyebrow. "I had thought to wait till after yours' and Aragorn's death."

"Ah."

"Does this suit you?"

"No," he said flatly.

"Ah."

"Take me with you. I should like to see what all this sea-fuss is about."

Legolas, Gimli realized with a small trace of glee, was visibly shocked.

"You-" he started. Gimli laughed.

"There had better be some good rock. I wouldn't expect any less than the best, you know."

"Gimli!"

"I'm sure the Lady could find some room for me."

"You'd go?"

"Why not?" he faced him earnestly. "To see the Lady, Legolas. And I would not want you to go with only Elves- who would teach you a proper appreciation of the earth beneath us?"

"You'd be...you'd be older." It was a difficult thing for him to think of and grasp, but one day, soon in his mind, the Dwarf beside him would be dead.

"Aye. I should like to see her one last time, Legolas."

"Then so be it."

"Good fellow. Perhaps I have talked some Dwarvish sense into you, after all."

"Perhaps."

"Legolas?"

"Aye?"

"Thank you," He tried the foreign words on his tongue before he said them, deciding they were far too airy for his taste, "mellon-nîn."

Legolas turned to Gimli, startled. He grinned.

And Gimli, suppressing his own gruff smile, pretended not to notice.

--

1 yén= 144 solar years

mellon-nîn= my friend

Thanks for reading!