Disclaimer: They all belong to Tolkien. I just borrow and return.
"Legolas was away much among the Galadrim, and after the first night he did not sleep with the other companions, though he returned to eat and talk with them. Often he took Gimli with him when he went abroad in the land, and he others wondered at this change."
--JRR Tolkien, The Mirror of Galadriel, The Fellowship of the Ring
A Successful Attempt
by Nieriel Raina
Aragorn closed his eyes briefly, trying to calm himself, but found he could not. There had been too much strain on them all, not the least himself, having taken over leadership of their quest,; not something he truly wished, but it could not be helped. Their loss was great, and if he had to watch Frodo or one of the other hobbits cringe another time at the senseless words of anger, he felt his control would be lost.
Unfortunately, the quiet walk towards the Golden Wood only lasted another five minutes, and without a word of warning, he simply grabbed the elf and drug him off into the trees, waving Boromir on with the others.
When they had passed far enough ahead, Aragorn turned to his confused and somewhat perturbed friend. "At least make an effort, Legolas!"
It took the elf a moment to grasp what was being said, then, "I am making an effort! Did I not drag his dwarven as..."
"Well, I did! I could have left him there with his kin!" Legolas fumed. "But no, his tears moved me..." To Aragorn's astonishment, the elf's voice broke, and then he was silent, a slight flush tipping his ears. He took a deep breath and let it out in a long sigh. "I will attempt...to do better." The words were clipped and short, but the man heard the sincerity in them.
'That is all I ask," he said, placing a hand on his friend's shoulder. "I know it is difficult. All our tempers are short, with reason. He meant much to all of us."
Legolas inclined his head sharply, and together they made their way back to the others.
The grumbling started once more, and Sam had simply had enough. Wasn't it bad enough that they had lost Mr. Gandalf? Not to mention being here with all these elves, who were very nice and friendly and all, but that Lady Galadriel, she frightened him to no end, and Mr. Frodo wasn't looking all that well. And all the bickering along the way, even here where it was peaceful and restful, only made his master look troubled and pale around the edges, so to speak.
A sharp retort in a voice that sounded much better singing or speaking softly caught his attention, and Sam stood to his feet, face flushed with anger. He had attempted to say nothing, but he could hold it in no longer. "Now that will be enough of all that! It doesn't matter much now what the elves and dwarves did back then, or who was right and who was wrong. If you be asking me, I say both were inconsiderate and selfish, since that is all I've seen on this here trip." He paused to take a deep breath, hardly seeing the looks of chagrin on the faces of those he chastised. "All that matters now is this quest, and it won't be going much of anywhere if we don't be taking advantage of the opportunity to rest while we have it. And I won't have anymore of you upsetting Mr. Frodo! He can't be resting properly, or even grieving in peace with all that nonsense of yours. You fight and argue and bicker when you should be grieving! Or did Mr. Gandalf mean nothing to you? I think he must've not since you didn't do what he asked you. 'At least be friends,' he said. 'I need you,' he said. But no, you just keep thinking the other is wrong and you are right!"
There were muffled apologies, one soft and one gruff, but Sam wasn't about to let them off so easy. He glanced down at his toes and began again. "Sure you're sorry, and you should be. Always going on and on..."
"Sam." the soft spoken word twitched his ear back.
"Just a minute, Mr. Frodo, I was telling... Hey now, where did they go?"
A smile. "They left, Sam. I think you made your point."
"Well, I hope I didn't go hurting their feelings none, Mr. Frodo, but I just can't take all that anymore, not now that we've lost Mr. Gandalf, and it seems everything has gone from bad to worse."
"I know, Sam. And I think they know, too. They don't mean to argue so much, you know. I think deep down, they respect each other, but just don't know how to say it."
"Well, I'll be. I never thought of it that way. Oh, here, let me get you a pillow for behind your back, then you'll be able to rest properly, now that it's quiet."
A chuckle. "Thank you, Sam."
They had left in separate directions, so the others were unaware that the elf and dwarf stumbled across one another shortly after leaving. They stared warily at each other a moment, and then the elf waved a hand down the path he traveled in invitation, and without a word, Gimli joined him. Nothing was said between them.
Tharkûn's loss along with finding Balin's tomb were a constant ache in his chest, but walking alongside the elf comforted him. In truth, Gimli liked the son of the Elvenking of Mirkwood, not that he would ever admit that to anyone. No one he had ever met could match him in words like the elf did, and it was exhilarating to watch the elf get all riled up at one of his comments. And so, he walked beside the fair creature, letting his ache ease some as they walked paths so beautiful, Gimli had no words to describe them.
It was not long before he looked up at his companion. The face of his companion nearly broke his heart. Gimli thought then that elves must feel things more deeply than other races, for the grief in the elf's face seemed to permeate the air around them, making even the trees and flowers appear sad. It was compounded by the sadness of the song filling the air, yet the elf did not join his voice to it. Gimli harrumphed to himself and kept walking, not wishing to be the first to speak.
"There they go again," Boromir commented as he watched the elf and dwarf leave to walk the paths. He had Pippin held against him as he sobbed, while Aragorn held Merry. Sam and Frodo sat together, tears streaming down both their faces. Their grief seemed to come in waves, and if one started weeping or talking about Gandalf, it seemed to affect the others.
"At least they are no longer bickering," Aragorn replied, the man's eyes on the place Legolas and Gimli had disappeared.
Boromir nodded, rubbing a hand lightly over Pippin's back. The hobbit hicupped, pulled away some, and looked up. Boromir smiled, but Pippin's face crumbled. The Man of Gondor just pulled him back against him, attempting to comfort the grieving young hobbit the same as he had his brother when their mother had died.
He was curious about the behavior of the elf and dwarf, and would have liked to follow them to see what they did during these times they walked together. But he could not leave Aragorn to try to comfort all of them by himself. Sighing, he rubbed Pippin's back some more and sought to think of some words of consolation.
Aragorn smiled at his friend, tilting his head curiously in question. Legolas just shook his head with a soft smile, then turned to reply to Gimli's question about the palace of the Elvenking.
He did not know how much time had passed since they had arrived in the wood, but it had been restful and beneficial to all of their company. The hobbits were back to their chattering selves, Boromir had just today mentioned continuing sword lessons with Merry and Pippin, and Sam insisted on checking over everything the elves tried to feed to Frodo.
Aragorn picked at his own food, a nagging feeling that something was missing caused him to look once more at Legolas and Gimli. The two spoke quietly among themselves, Gimli using wild hand movements to explain something, and Legolas laughed. The man realized he had not seen or heard these two argue since the second day of their arrival.
Boromir came over and sat beside him, picking up a fork to eat. The fork jabbed in the direction of the elf and dwarf. "What do you suppose happened between them?" he asked, fork returning to the plate.
"I am not sure," Aragorn told him as he watched Legolas shake his head over something Gimli tried to put on his plate. The dwarf grinned and called the elf a coward. Aragorn bristled at the insult. Legolas was not coward. He waited for the biting remark that would follow such a comment, and prepared himself to jump to his feet to stop a fight.
Boromir tensed beside him as well, and Frodo's eyes widened. Sam stood to his feet hands on his hips, while Pippin sat, fork half way to his mouth and gaped. Only Merry seemed to not have heard the comment, and continued chatting to Pippin as he covered a slice of bread with honey.
All stared at the elf as he blinked at Gimli, then proceeded to stick his tongue out at the dwarf, plucked the item off his plate and simply tossed it over his shoulder. Gimli laughed, and tossed a piece of fruit to the elf. Legolas thanked him, both oblivious to the stares they were getting or the glances of amazement shared between their companions
Returning to his own food, Aragorn realized what had been missing. The arguing and bickering of Legolas and Gimli had accompanied them for so long that now that things seemed back to normal, the lack of it seemed strange. He thought to ask them what had happened during their walks to so change their opinion of one another, but felt they might rather keep it to themselves.
Smiling, Aragorn decided to just accept that they had made a successful attempt at being friends. And if an elf and a dwarf could be friends, then anything was possible.
Tharkûn - dwarven name for Gandalf