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A True Dwarf

Chapter 1: A True Dwarf

by PoweroftheBook

If Gimli seems a bit out of character, I chalk it up to the fact that we've never seen him speaking to a lover. I tend to think that beneath the gruff exterior there's a heart of mush and sugar.

 
A True Dwarf

 
 
 
She wondered about her new husband, waiting in their new chambers on the night before they were to be wed. He was no doubt being congratulated and teased by that multitude of oddly matched folk that referred to themselves as 'The Fellowship'.

If she had wanted normal, she could have picked another, indeed, several others, given the dearth of her sex. Yet her heart was given to this one, and she could not now change it.

Would she want to? Could she? Beyond what her mother had told her was normal apprehension on approaching her wedding day, she did not know how to fit in with her new husband's circle of friends, and it was quite obvious that she would have to change much of herself beyond what relating to his friends would do.

As was true of all the females of her kind, she did not much care for traveling. Now all of her worldly possessions were packed and neatly bundled, awaiting transport to her husband's settlement, leagues and leagues away from the only home she had ever known. It was true that the pictures her soon-to-be husband had created with his words had moved her, and she did look forward to seeing the glittering beauty of her new home.

They had smiled at her warmly when she greeted them upon their arrivals a few days before. She had chatted with them about small things, marveled at the number of children the one Hobbit had sired, nodded with polite interest at the Man's choice of wife.

That particular bit of knowledge had rankled in her memory. Her future husband made no secret of the three golden hairs he possessed that the Lady Elf had given them on their journey. He wrought an encasement of crystal to contain them and keep them safe, and the hairs currently resided in pride of place in his home, a sign of the Elf-Lady's favor.

When she had asked, she regretted it, for it gave him leave to extol the virtues and beauty of another female, one whose favor her betrothed was in eternally. She could not condemn either for this act, for she had not even known him then.

Did Elves oft choose mates outside of their race? She could not conceive of it within her own race, yet she could not deny their beauty, both in their physical form and in their personalities. Granted, she only knew one Elf, her future husband's constant companion.

Funny, that. Hadn't the Elf's father once imprisoned her future husband's father? And yet these two consulted each other on all aspects of life. She wondered momentarily if they discussed her, if the Elf had influenced him in any way in his manner towards her.

She wondered how much of a Dwarf her husband-to-be really was.

He was a Lord of their folk, statuesque in his Dwarven glory. No other Dwarf stood as firmly, none glared as fiercely, and none swung an axe in quite that thrilling move. His chest was broad and firm, his hair a curly auburn that made her catch her breath each time she was able to pick him out in a crowd.

None kissed like him, either.

But what of his mannerisms? What had he learned from the Elves and learned to cherish? Was his heart even his to give to her?

Such things had not mattered when he asked her to be his bride. Then, she had been so overcome with joy at the thought of being his mate that the consequences and questions of being his mate had not entirely occurred to her.

He entered then, smiling gently as he saw her glance at him from her seat at the window.

"Cold feet?" he inquired gently. Had she been looking at him instead of her hands, she would have seen the worry in his eyes.

"Nay. 'Tis summer. My feet are quite warm, thank you," she replied. Was that another Elvish peculiarity?

She was surprised to hear his gentle laughter. "No, no, my love. 'Tis an expression of Menfolk - I was inquiring as to whether you are nervous or reticent about our wedding on the morrow."

Were her doubts that obvious to him? She pondered the question for a long moment, but as she raised her eyes to meet his own, she was struck by the growing fear in them.

Her husband-to-be, afraid? Now she was even more confused.

"I..." she broke off, unable to complete the sentence.

"My love?" There was no mistaking the tremulousness in his whisper, his question already answered.

"My own love," she began, "Are you certain that it is I you desire as wife? Does no other hold your heart, your secrets, your love?"

"No other!" he said fervently, on his knees before her. The beard she so loved to stroke tickled her hand slightly as she brushed his cheek, resting her hand against the side of his head. There was no doubt that it gave her a sensual thrill to feel the warmth of his tough skin and the softness of his hair, the way he leaned into the caress. His dark brown eyes still sought her own, entreating her with their softness.

"Why do you question my love for you, dearest one? Have I given you reason to doubt my constancy? Tell me, so that I may right it!" Now his hand sought her free hand, clasping her hand in welcome warm roughness.

"Nay...well...the hairs in the crystal...the Lady they belong to," she struggled out, embarrassment causing a battle between her cheeks and her hair for reddest hue.

"Ah, her," he said, never once flinching from her gaze.

"Yes, her," she replied, waiting for him to speak.

"The Lady does not hold your place in my heart, she never will," he said simply.

He flinched at the weight of her gaze, and reconsidered.

"My love, how do you regard your own mother?" he questioned unexpectedly.

"My mother?" she parroted back. "Well...I suppose I regard her in the highest order, and I love her greatly."

"Exactly," her husband-to-be replied, satisfied. "Such is my regard for the Lady. I can appreciate her warmth, her beauty, her favor, without the love I bear her being an insult to anyone, including her husband. She is to me a distant kingdom that I might regard with appreciation from afar. But no one can tell me that my own home is not more beautiful, more enchanting, more comfortable, more loving than that golden speck on the horizon. You, my love, are my home."

She had never heard such words of devotion from his mouth, even during their courtship. His gaze remained riveted on her own, pleading for a response.

She took a deep breath and spoke. "I am sorry, my betrothed, it's just that..."

"Just that?" he prompted.

"Just that you spend so much time with Elves, and I wondered if you had grown accustomed to their ways, accustomed to their ideals of beauty," she finished lamely, her insecurities laid open and raw for his inspection.

"My Elvish friends have taught me much of the world and of themselves, and the Princeling the most. He told me only yesterday that he could not imagine a more suitable and beautiful bride for me. Do you know why?"

She shook her head mutely.

"It is because they see the beauty of love within your soul. Was the Lady without love of any kind, she would have been repulsive to me as an orc. Your features are beautiful, but I confess it makes you even more beautiful when I know that I have your love, when the smile on your face is for me and me alone."

She felt herself close to tears that she was having trouble fighting back. "You truly think I am beautiful?"

"I would, even if you spurned my love." She recognized the gentle chiding in his voice, and hastened to reassure him with a kiss. The feel of his strong lips upon her own was heady, it alone could have cleared all doubts in her mind. There was at once in his kiss both a demand for her attention and a plea for her love.

The kiss gentled, and she let her face gently drop down to his shoulder, thrilling in the chill of his armor and the warmth of his neck. She whispered his name and her love into his beard as he pulled her against his hard frame, and whispered loving words back.

"I know this cannot be the only reason. Is it that you dislike travel?" A redundant question, but there it was.

She took a deep breath, willing herself to speak the worst insecurity of her heart. "More than that, it is that I shall be cut off from most of my kin and travel to a strange place inhabited by strange races that visit. I would want to know that my husband did not regard me and our race as inferior to all other races. I would know that my husband is proud to be a Dwarf and not yearning to be an Elf."

He paused, her words pinning him to the wall, and in the lines of his face she read the anxiety he held at plucking her from the bosom of her family.

"If there were one thing I could change about our union, it would be that you would not have to leave your kin. No greater guilt pulls at my heart. With the trade line established, it is my hope that travel will be easier and more frequent between realms. I know you and your mother might not like to travel, but perhaps once in a while, you could go north, or your father go south, mayhap even your mother."

"Trade line?" she queried, feeling hope once again sprout within her breast.

"Aye. Did the Princeling not tell you of it? He is to move south, away from his kinfolk as well. I will trade ores and minerals to him, and in return he will trade southern foodstuffs north to Mirkwood. Mirkwood will trade more wines -perhaps even a few jewels - to our homeland, and our homeland will in turn trade foodstuffs to us so that we may concentrate mostly on mining and perfecting the Caves."

Somehow, the notion that her husband's best friend would be enduring something akin to what she would comforted her more than the knowledge of the trade line.

"As to my race, I am proud to be a Dwarf, a son of the earth. I am also proud to have a wife that will slap me back into line the moment I start prancing about like that bowlegged Princeling."

She laughed, a bit taken aback at his trust in her, when she had just voiced her own doubts about her trust in him.

"Thank you," she murmured softly, "Thank you for assuaging my fears."

"I am only grateful that we had this out before we married, my love," he smiled, nuzzling his nose into her copper hair. "I would not have had you marry me with a heavy heart for all the jewels and gold in the world."

"I know that I will miss my family," she continued, "but I am glad that I know my husband will be with me."

"Your brothers, too," he chuckled. When she looked at him in astonishment, he continued, "They wanted to surprise you, and were going to make the journey down once you and I have settled."

Joy sprang within her heart. She would gladly have made the journey to be in a place where her only friend would be her husband, for his sake, but she was reassured with the fact that she would have reminders of her old life to help her settle.

"Thank you, betrothed," she whispered. "I am blessed beyond reason to gain you as a husband tomorrow."

She felt his lips in her hair, on her forehead, on her nose, and finally, longingly, on her open and waiting mouth. He took eager possession of her there, and she responded in kind. Her hands moved stroke his beard as he tenderly tugged at the soft fuzz of her own facial hair. The love-play continued for some time, until her husband-to-be broke off reluctantly.

"Your brothers..." he panted, eyes slightly out of focus.

"What of them?" she replied, delighting in the way his eyes moved to the curve of her bosom as she panted for breath.

"They've threatened to shave me beardless and hairless if I dishonor you before our wedding," he groaned, obviously restraining himself. She herself was having a hard time with restraint, but custom was custom.

"If they think to stop us tomorrow night, 'twill be more than your anger they will deal with. 'Twill be my axe blade," she growled, reaching for him once more.

He took hungry possession of her mouth once more, but pulled away with a regretful sigh. "Tomorrow night, then," he agreed reluctantly, beginning to take his leave of her. "My love?"

"Aye?"

"You bring the axe...I will make a false beard for emergencies."

And so Gimli took leave of his bride, finding her in grief, and leaving her in anticipation. Every inch of him was a Dwarf, and there was no part of him, heart, soul, or mind, that would not be hers.