Legolas had faced many great challenges during his life, and he was always fearless in the face of danger. Well, mostly fearless. Sometimes danger could be really scary.
Despite a few exceptions, Legolas would consider himself a brave elf, capable of facing any challenge, if it was really needed.
The problem was, he had never faced a challenge such as this.
He was almost wishing for some simpler problems, like spiders or orcs, things that he could shoot at and kill. He was simply much better at problems that could be solved with an arrow.
Still, no matter how tempting it was, he wouldn’t give in to his impulse and turn that horse around. They had gotten this far, there was no reason why he shouldn’t go the rest of the way.
“Something wrong?” Gimli said, caressing Legolas’ chest softly, where he could reach without taking his arms from around Legolas. He still didn’t like those big horses, especially when Legolas insisted on riding without a settle.
So maybe they had been standing at the road for a bit longer than it was necessary. Legolas was just talking his time, getting ready.
“Perhaps we should have sent word of our arrival. It would be rude to impose on your family,” Legolas said, staring at the distance, where Gimli told him the secret door was. Even to his eyes it was completely invisible, a true testament to dwarven craftsmanship.
Gimli rested his forehead on Legolas’ back, trying not to laugh. Legolas was far from subtle, it was sweet.
“They are expecting us. Not on a specific date, but you will never know hospitality like that of a dwarven house, even to unexpected guests.”
Legolas sighed. “I don’t doubt your words, but perhaps that would only be the case were I not an elf.”
There was a reason Legolas had been avoiding the meeting of the parents, and the animosity between their people was a large part of it.
“Would you rather we visit your father first?” Gimli suggested.
Legolas shook his head vigorously. “I left for the council meeting six seasons ago, father already received word of my part in the fellowship, I would prefer to give him more time to cope with those news before giving him anything else to think about.”
Legolas wanted to see his father again, of course, and he wanted to introduce Gimli to him, but there was no reason to do that so soon after worrying him by leaving on a dangerous mission without warning. Legolas wasn’t sure what would be the greatest shock, his participation in the last great alliance or his courtship with a dwarf.
“As long as you don’t plan on waiting for longer than I have to live.”
Legolas petted Gimli’s hand. “Remind me in a decade,” he said with a teasing tone.
Gimli mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like ‘why do I even love you’, but in a louder tone, annoyed but with no bite, he said, “Have you decided where we are going or will this horse be our home for the next decade?”
“I brought you this close to your home, I suppose this is a good opportunity to meet your family,” Legolas said, urging the horse to move forward.
“You know my father already, but it will be good for him to see you under a different light.”
That gave Legolas pause, as he tried to remember where they could have met. “Was he the dwarf that came with you to Rivendell?”
“Yes, but you met him before. I was told many stories of the battle of five armies, including that of how my father and his companions were captured by elves, including a certain elven prince.”
That made Legolas stop the horse. He remembered that, of course. It would be hard to forget the incident that lead to his involvement in a fight against a dragon. However, despite knowing that Gimli was of royal blood, Legolas had never connected the two facts.
“Your father was one of the invaders that escaped?”
“And I would have been too, but he thought me too young at the time to embark on that quest.”
Legolas thought back at the incident, trying to remember which of the dwarves was Glóin. Then it dawned on him.
Legolas flipped on the horse to stare at Gimli, turning around with a graceous jump, and Gimli nearly fell off the horse in the process. Legolas placed his hands on Gimli’s face, both holding him on the horse and keeping him still to stare at him, from closer than it was necessary with his elven vision. He inspected Gimli’s face carefully and slowly, until the silence was too much.
“Legolas?” Gimli asked tentatively.
“It was you in the locket!” Legolas said, astonished. Now that he thought of it, he remembered saying some rather unflattering things about the young lad depicted in the locket. “Did your father carry a locket with a drawing of you and your mother?”
Gimli frowned, trying to remember. “I think mother commissioned it for him, as a gift to take on his journey.”
Legolas let go of his face. “Do you think your father remembers anything about that?” he asked, averting Gimli’s gaze.
“Perhaps? He must still have the locket,” Gimli said, trying and failing to read Legolas’ expression. “Is there something wrong?”
Legolas turned back with another jump, staring front. “Nothing. Nothing. I just realized that this meeting might be more awkward than expected. Have I ever told you that you are an exceptionally handsome dwarf? It might be good to keep that in mind, in case something comes up. Also, that wasn’t a very flattering drawing,” Legolas said, refusing to look anywhere but front.
Faced with Legolas’ odd behavior, Gimli remembered his father saying something about an elf offending his wife and son. And the things his father said about that elf. Perhaps they should have visited the elven king first after all. Convincing his father to give his blessing to Gimli’s union to an elf would be hard enough without the elf in question being one that he personally disliked.
“Perhaps I should introduce you to my mother first.”