"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 the others wondered at this change."

-JRR Tolkien, The Mirror of Galadriel, The Fellowship of the Ring

A Successful Attempt

by Nieriel Raina

January

Year 3019, Third Age

They were arguing again.

Aragorn closed his eyes, trying to calm himself, but found he could not. There had been too much strain on all of them — not the least himself, having taken over leadership of their quest. It was not what he had wished, but it could not be helped with Gandalf's fall in Moria.

Their loss was great, and if he had to watch Frodo or one of the other hobbits cringe one more 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 before another round of bickering began. Without a word of warning, he simply grabbed the elf and dragged him into the trees, waving Boromir on with the others.

When they had passed far enough from earshot, Aragorn turned to his confused and somewhat perturbed friend. "At least make an effort, Legolas!"

It took the elf a moment to grasp his meaning, then, "I am making an effort! Did I not drag his dwarven arse—"

"LEGOLAS!"

"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.

Legolas 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.

— o —

They were grumbling at each other again.

Sam had simply had enough of that. 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, well, 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 sounded in a voice that was far more suited to singing, 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!" he told the dwarf and elf. "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 from the two of you 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!"

Sam pointed to Frodo. "He can't be resting properly, or even grieving in peace with all that nonsense of yours." His finger turned on the elf and dwarf. "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?"

Frodo's lips tilted up in a faint 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 bickering 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."

"Thank you, Sam."

— o —

They had left in separate directions, so the others were unaware that the elf and dwarf stumbled across one another shortly after leaving the company. 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 Gimli's chest, but somehow, 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 Legolas, 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 look on Legolas's face moved him. Gimli thought then that elves must feel things far 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.

— o —

"There they go again," Pippin commented as he watched the elf and dwarf leave to walk the paths.

He turned to look at Merry. "Where do you think they go?"

"I don't know," Merry replied, huddling down in a blanket.

Pippin peered at Sam and Frodo. Their companions sat close together, and Frodo had tears streaming down his face again.

Their grief seemed to come in waves. He would feel fine one minute, and then someone would say something, or he would see that sad look in Frodo's face and he would feel like weeping again himself.

"At least they are no longer bickering," Aragorn said from where he sat honing his blade, his eyes on the place Legolas and Gimli had disappeared.

Boromir nodded in agreement. "Aye. They were grating on my nerves."

"But where do you think they go? And what are they talking about if they are no longer arguing?"

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 then Sam started weeping again, and Pippin slipped over to place an arm around his shoulders in comfort.

"I think where they go and what they say is for them alone," Aragorn told him.

Pippin sighed.

— o —

They were talking amiably again.

Aragorn raised a brow curiously in question as he looked at Legolas.

The elf just shook his head with a soft smile, then turned to reply to Gimli's question about the halls of father.

Aragorn 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 together, Gimli using wild hand movements to explain something, and then Legolas laughed. Aragorn realized he had not seen or heard these two argue since the second day of their arrival, when Sam had chastised them both.

Boromir came over and sat beside him to eat. He jabbed his knife in the direction of the elf and dwarf. "What do you suppose happened between them?" he asked, knife returning to cut at his food.

"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 no coward, and the elf would not appreciate the insult. 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.

The rest of them 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.

— o —

Tharkûn - dwarven name for Gandalf