The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth: Part XVIII
by Camilla Sandman
Part Eighteen: My Inner Dwarf


Yes, she was somewhere hot.


Okay, so she was surrounded by something soft.


Someone was asleep.

All this would add up to - she was in a bed. A nice, soft bed. It sure was nice to sleep. Nice.

She awoke again, not quite sure how much time had passed. Still seemed to be a bed, because it was still hot and soft. But something was rather scratchy against her skin. Odd. Unusual sensation to have in a bed.

There was a very heavy fog in her mind.

"My preciousss."

Oy. That was odd. It sounded just like -

"GOLLUM!" she shrieked and jumped out of the bed as if her bum was on fire.

"We found our preciousss in our bed, yesss." Gollum whispered from somewhere under the blankets.

"Shit! Shit! Shit!" she cursed. "I'm never drinking again. Never ever. For sure this time."

"Preciousss shouldn't yell," Gollum muttered.

"I'm not your Preciousss," Lina groaned, clutching her head. Boy, it hurt - still. And of all the people whose bed she could have fallen asleep in - had to be Gollum. Of course.

"Preciousss has sssoft hair," Gollum said adoringly, peeking up from the blankets. "Red like fire. We likesss, we doesss."

"I'm not.." she began, when an idea struck her. Quietly, she slipped out and picked up the ring she had thrown by the door next to Gollum's (poor Morgoth, what a neighbour to have. Or was it poor Gollum?).

"Here's your Preciousss," she announced, throwing Toey at the bed.

"Oh, shiny!"

Leaving Gollum to play with Toey, Lina ventured into the hallway again. It was quiet - hard to say what time it could be. Lunch? Dinnertime? How long had she slept? It didn't feel like long, her whole body still hurt.

"How do they live without watches?" she muttered. Okay, so if she headed right she should get to the large hall. Then she had to get by the mini-Balrogs. Hopefully they wouldn't bother her since she came from inside the staff section rather than trying to sneak in.

Very quietly she rounded the corner and - quickly, she pulled her head back. Someone was in the hall!

"I think some students are showing signs of progress," Miss Cam's voice echoed.

"Indeed," Thundera Tiger added. "Headmaster, may I just say what a great honour it is to meet you?"

"Thank you, Miss Cam and Miss Tiger. I trust you will stay on top of things," said a deep, male voice. Lina was quite sure she had never heard it before.

"But keep Gandalf out of the kitchens. He'll repopulate Middle-earth with a new species if we're not careful."

"We'll do our best, Headmaster," Miss Cam replied, her voice slipping away. Daring to look around the corner again, Lina spotted them heading up the stairs and into a large room marked 'Headmaster's office. No entry - that means you'.

So that was the Headmaster. But who was he?

"Lina, what are you doing here?"

She nearly had a heart attack as she heard the oh so familiar voice nearby, and spun around to face Gimli. The dwarf's face was blank as he regarded her.

"Come to try to sneak into Legolas's room?"

Her cheeks reddened. She honestly hadn't thought of that, but now the image of a sleeping, naked elf crept into her mind uninvited.

"I wasn't! I. Shit. Sauron locked me in the dungeon when I fell asleep in his class, all right? And I.. um.. fell asleep in there."

"Oh, it was you who fell asleep in Sauron's class," Gimli's face broke into a grin and his eyes lit up. "Bad hangover, eh? I keep telling the elves their wine is not for humans, but they seem to think you'll acquire a taste for it. Come on, I have a good remedy for hangovers."

She trotted after him, trying to shake the image of Legolas in his birthday suit. She wondered what size - okay, better not go there, or she'd never lose the image.

"This is my room," Gimli announced as they had climbed up the stairs and taken a left. The door was rather small, and she had to bend down slightly to get in.

The room was filled with axes, rocks and charts over different mines. There was a few books, some with Elvish titles.

"Legolas is trying to cultivate me," Gimli said when he noticed her glance as she took a seat. "He has a big theory about how everyone has an inner elf, and it's just a matter of luring it out."

"You think he's right?"

The dwarf shrugged. "If he is right, maybe everyone has an inner dwarf as well."

He gave her a long look before reaching into a drawer and taking out a small vial.

"It is normally to cure beer hangovers, but I have found it works just as well on elven wine hangovers. You get a few of those when you spend time with Legolas. Just one drop, that'll clear your head."

The liquid tasted oddly like peppermint, but it took just a few seconds before she could feel her head clear. She leaned back in the chair and sighed.

"That's a nice necklace," Gimli remarked lightly.

She lifted her head to look at him, his clear deep eyes staring right into her soul.

"It was you, wasn't it?" she muttered.

"Don't know what you're talking about."

Her head was spinning again, but it felt rather nice this time. She tried to resist it nevertheless, but her body wanted to sleep. Her mind wanted to sleep.

She felt strong arms lift her up and lay her on the bed (amazingly strong when considering the size), and a gentle hand push her hair away from her face.

"Sleep, Lina."

And his gruff voice was the last thing she heard as sleep claimed her once more.

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