After the War by thecoldofwinter
“Come, mellon nîn, we have far to go and much to see,” Legolas Greenleaf, son of Thranduil and Elf Prince of Mirkwood says to his friend. “It is a long journey.”
“Aye, Elf. I must say I am wary of entering the forest of Fangorn, after the Last March of the Ents, but I will accompany you so long as you uphold your promise to see the Glittering Caves of Helm’s Deep,” Gimli, son of Glóin, a Dwarf of Durin’s line replies.
Legolas gives him one of those inscrutable Elf smiles. “I have a surprise for you, old friend.”
Gimli looks at him in suspicion. “And what might that be, Master Elf?”
“The journey to Fangorn from Gondor is indeed far. Four to five days, as the Nazgûl flies. Walking there would certainly take too long for my taste, and in extreme foresight, I have brought Arod to carry us there,” Legolas says a word in Sindarin, and the white horse comes trotting out from behind a stone pillar.
Gimli bristles. “You cannot expect me to get on that hellhound you call a horse!”
Legolas laughs, a clear melodic sound that is akin to the trickle of water in a stream. “I saw you feeding him apples just the other day, mellon nîn. Surely your feelings aren’t that of hatred.”
Gimli’s eyes widen fractionally, and he goes as red as his hair. “I-I don’t like apples, Legolas. But if this be the only way, then I shall have no choice but to bear it for my friend.”
“Ah, Gimli. Your face betrays your thoughts. Come, I am sure Arod feels the same about you. I will not let you fall off, have confidence in Arod’s footsteps and my guidance.”
“Confidence in an Elf? Hah!” Gimli snorted teasingly, but allowed the Elf to help him up nonetheless. “If I fall off, you will have to face my axe, and you should know by now how good I am with one!”
Legolas swung himself into the saddle with all an Elf’s grace. “Ah, but you will be dead before your stroke fell, for one of my arrows will sprout from your forehead like a flower in bloom.”
“Aye, but that’s why armour exists, lad.”
“The Valar forbid you two to ever stop bickering,” a new voice says with a merry ring.
“Aragorn!” Gimli says joyfully, without any respect for the King of Gondor, and starts as if to walk forward, before painfully being reminded that he is, in fact, otherwise incapacitated.
“My Lord Aragorn,” Legolas says more respectfully, and raises a hand to touch his forehead. “Have you come to see us off?”
Aragorn shakes his head, and long brown tresses swish with his movement. “Legolas, mellon nîn, how many times must I say it? There is no need for titles amongst us, we three hunters, for we are friends.”
Legolas smiles. “Indeed, Aragorn. Fear not, for we shall return in due time.”
“Goodbye then, my friends. Namárië! I wish you all the luck in the world.” Aragorn waves them off as the two ride off into the early morning sun. When the two have all but disappeared into the horizon, Aragorn turns back into his city. He would have loved to go with them to see the sights of the world, but alas, for Gondor needed him to rebuild the once shining White City, and his final promise to Boromir lingered.
“I do not know what strength is in my blood, but I swear to you I will not let the White City fall, nor our people fail.”
Aragorn intended to hold true to his promise.
“That’s it, Legolas. I’ve had enough of riding on this nasty contraption. I will not stand it, you hear me?” Gimli groaned as the horse broke into a gallop, and he knocked a very sensitive area of his body.
Legolas laughed again. “Mellon nîn, it has been but half an hour. Surely you cannot mean to give up on our journey so soon? Already I grace you with the presence of a saddle, for my kind rides without.”
At this, Gimli’s mouth falls open. “That cannot be! How do you stand it? How do you not slip off?”
Legolas throws his head back and laughs. “Oh, Gimli. We are Elves. No Elf falls off a horse unless dead! Do you fall off your mining carts?”
Gimli sputters. “What a thing to say, accusing a Dwarf of falling off a mining cart! I’ll have you know laddie, we are practically born in them!”
“Then it is the same for Elves.”
Gimli muttered it frustration as his giant hand tightened around Legolas’ waist. At once, the Elf began to choke. “Gimli, if you would kindly relinquish hold of my ribcage, for if you don’t I fear I won’t survive the journey!”
Gimli lets go of Legolas so surprisedly that he nearly falls over, and it is only Elven grace and reflexes that save him from toppling over the side.
Legolas lets go off Gimli’s leg once he is certain his friend is safe in his saddle.
“You do not know your own strength, my friend.” Legolas chuckles as the horse picks up speed.
“I know I have strength enough to snap you in half like rock to an Ent!”
“While that may be true, I would rather you not test it out.”
“Aye, lad. I would not dare to lose my friend now, would I? We have so much to see! Perhaps after the Glittering Caves…”
Legolas gives Gimli’s leg a pinch. “You would not dare.”
Gimli merely laughs.
Quotes in italics are from Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring movie.