Legolas was furious.
His hands curled into fists as he stood over Gimli who had collapsed to the dirt, clutching at a twisted ankle. The Dwarf managed to roll upright, biting back a moan of pain. "'Tis broken, I think, but not badly," the stout warrior gasped.
Legolas barely heard him for the blood roaring in his ears. He looked ahead to the dark figure of Aragorn, as he wove, heedless, through the trees. So obsessed with the relentless pace he was setting, the Man was not even aware he was swiftly leaving his companions behind. Legolas considered calling out to the Ranger, then changed his mind. He would deal with Aragorn on his own.
He knelt beside Gimli and helped the Dwarf into a comfortable position against the base of a tree. The Elf could already feel the swelling of the Dwarf's ankle through the heavy boot that he wore. "It would be best to leave this on," Legolas said, gingerly propping the other's foot upon a rock. "I'll bind it from the outside, else you will not be able to fit into your boot again."
"I'll not have us fall behind because of such a trifling injury," Gimli grumbled, sweat sheeting across his forehead. "Splint it and I'll be fine to continue."
Legolas managed to smile as he tore strips of cloth from the bottom of his tunic. "I've no doubt you'd scale Caradhras itself with two broken legs, my fine warrior, but there is no need this day to risk further hurt. One day will not set us back overmuch."
Though Legolas was gentle, Gimli hissed as the Elf bound his foot. "I wish you luck in convincing Aragorn of such. The Man has set a pace to cross Mordor in hours!"
Finished with his binding, Legolas sat back on his heels, grim-faced. "Aragorn is not a concern," he told the Dwarf quietly. He glanced towards the trees and was unsurprised to find that the Man had disappeared from sight. "I will convince him of the wisdom of rest."
Gimli's snort was skeptical. "Have your knives at the ready, then," he advised, half-serious. "Aragorn is a Man possessed."
Possessed, and -- to Legolas' mind-- therefore dangerous. But he hid his misgivings and smiled for the Dwarf's benefit. "Rest easy, my friend. I shall deal with it. In the meantime, I shall build you a fire and set out something to eat." So saying, within minutes he had set up camp for them and seen to it that Gimli was fed and resting as comfortably as his broken ankle would allow.
"Be careful," Gimli warned again as Legolas rose and prepared to find the Ranger. "Responsibility weights heavily upon Aragorn. Whatever his flaws, his motives are noble."
Legolas merely nodded and left with a promise to return shortly. He ran swiftly through the trees, following the path Aragorn had taken.
Dusk awaited on the hills. Surely Aragorn would think of setting up camp and notice their absence. But Legolas continued to run, seeing and hearing nothing of the Ranger. It wasn't until the edges of the sky darkened to a deep purple that Legolas finally saw him. The Elf slowed to a walk and crept quietly forward.
Aragorn stood beside a tree, drinking deeply from a flask. When he lowered the waterskin, Legolas was disturbed to see the frustration etched so deeply upon the Man's face. Aragorn did not appear worried for them. Rather, he looked almost angry that he had been forced to stop to search for the Elf and Dwarf. Legolas knew this wasn't so; Aragorn was a Man deeply committed to his companions. But the Ranger's agitation was unmistakeable. Impatience burned in him like a beacon, *willing* the others to find him.
Legolas knew at once that Aragorn would not be easy to speak to. In his experience, once a Man had succumbed to emotion, convincing him to listen to reason was akin to reversing a waterfall.
"Ah, I am sorry I must do this," Legolas murmured regretfully. He raised his bow, drew careful aim and let loose an arrow.
Aragorn stiffened at the sound, but could not move fast enough. The arrowhead pierced the upraised sleeve of his tunic, forcing the waterskin to the ground as the arrow sunk deeply into the bark of the tree behind him. The air hissed as another arrow shot from the darkness and stabbed through the fabric of his other sleeve. Aragorn struggled, but the arrows pinned his arms tightly to the tree.
"What do you think you're doing?" he demanded as Legolas emerged from the forest. "This is no time for games, Legolas. Where's Gimli? We've got to find Merry and Pippin!"
"This is no game, Aragorn. Gimli has broken his ankle. I left him back at our camp."
Aragorn frowned, ceasing his struggles. "Broken his ankle? When?"
Legolas sighed, coming to a stop before the Ranger. "I understand your need to find the Hobbits, Aragorn. But you've set a pace that shows no care for body or spirit. Gimli has fallen, yet in your haste you have unwittingly abandoned us. As strong of heart as Gimli is, he cannot continue this way. He needs one day of recovery, at the least."
Pain darkened the Man's face. "One day that we fall behind is one more day Merry and Pippin are left in the foul clutches of the orcs. I cannot -- nay, will not -- let that happen. Though I am sorry for it, we must leave Gimli behind."
Shock left Legolas momentarily speechless. This was not the Man that he knew. The faces of Gandalf and Boromir suddenly came to mind. Perhaps the transformation had occurred beneath Legolas' very nose.
"Aragorn," he pleaded, stepping close, "you cannot mean this. Gimli cannot remain by himself. He is injured. He would be unable to defend himself."
The barest flicker of shame passed through the Man's blue eyes. "Then you shall remain by his side and I will find the Hobbits on my own. They are my responsibility. I will not fail them as I have the others."
A great sadness welled up in Legolas as he studied the Man. With the passing of Gandalf, leadership had fallen to the one amongst them who had held no interest in determining the fates of others. The burden Aragorn had never wanted weighed heavily upon him now.
"You are but a Man," Legolas reminded him softly. He caught the stubbled chin in his hand and forced the blue eyes to meet his. "You cannot hold us all within the embrace of your protection."
"I have no choice!" Aragorn spat back, angrily. "Gandalf entrusted the Fellowship to me, Legolas. I lost Boromir, I could not protect Frodo -- Release me and let me do what I must!"
"Nay, you are being a fool --"
"I said release me, Legolas. Unlike an Elf, I actually care about matters of life and death!"
Outrage widened the Elf's eyes. Coldness settled along his spine. "Take care in what you say, *Man*." Contempt twisted the word as he had never used it before. "Even should I release you, you would only meet your doom at the hands of the orcs. And I *do* care about that. Without me by your side you are weak and blinded by haste. You forget what you are: a healer, a leader of Men, one who would be king. Though you are strong, by yourself you are not invincible."
Aragorn raised his chin. "I am strong enough to fight you."
Grim amusement twisted Legolas' lips. "Indeed? I'd wager that even my lightest touch could defeat you."
Aragorn laughed. "Boastfulness does not become you."
A warning went off in Legolas' head. "I'd prove you wrong." The warning grew louder, but he ignored it. He knew well the many weaknesses of Men. In particular, he knew of Aragorn's. Holding the Man's gaze, Legolas laid his palm upon the other's chest. "If I am able to show you your weakness, will you agree to stay and wait with us?"
For the first time, anger gave way to resignation. "You waste time better spent on Merry and Pippin. Have you no heart?" When Legolas remained silent, his face stony, Aragorn sighed wearily. He licked his lips. "If this is what you must do before you will let me go, so be it. I give you leave to try."
Relief passed through Legolas, but curiously, he could not relax. His hand curled upon Aragorn's chest, clutching the fabric. "As strong as you think you are, I will show you how you are weaker. Never forget this, Aragorn of Arathorn, for I hope it will slow your step when you would stumble forward blindly."
He raised his hand and Aragorn tensed as though prepared to be struck. But Legolas intended torture of a very different nature. He laid his palm, ever so gently, against the Man's cheek. Aragorn flinched and pulled his head away but Legolas maintained the contact. The bristles of the Man's beard were scratchy beneath his palm. But when he brushed his thumb over the bottom edge of the Man's lip, he discovered a pillowy softness.
"Stop this," Aragorn whispered suddenly. The Elf looked into his eyes and read the fear there. "Why are you doing this?"
Legolas watched his thumb stroke slowly back and forth across the Man's lip, coaxing the Ranger's mouth to open. "Sometimes we need a lesson in humility, Aragorn. You have forgotten you are but a Man. I am here to remind you."
The Elf moved his hands to Aragorn's shoulders and pressed their lips together. The Ranger went still against him, but Legolas did not stop the kiss. He moved his lips gently against the other's, keeping his touch light. After a moment of this, he tried nipping Aragorn's top lip before sucking the fuller bottom lip into his mouth. A shudder passed through the Man's body as Legolas sucked lightly on the plump flesh. The Elf opened his mouth wider and flicked his tongue out, tapping against the closed resistance of teeth.
"Open for me," Legolas murmured into his mouth. "I won't hurt you."
Aragorn made a sound as if affronted, then opened to the Elf's probing tongue. Heat rushed into Legolas as the Man's hot breath filled him. He sent his tongue questing into the Ranger's mouth and encountered the firm slickness of Aragorn's tongue, lying in wait. Their tongues met hesitantly at first, then slid over and around each other with growing boldness.
Legolas had expected this. Since leaving Rivendell, he had recognized the need that shadowed he and Aragorn's every exchange. Yes, he had known the Man desired him. Only, he had not been prepared for the intensity of it...Aragorn growled against him. His body fairly vibrated with barely restrained passion. The Elf found himself caught up in the fervency of the Man's kiss. Felt himself losing control of the situtation...
Legolas pushed his fingers into the long strands of Aragorn's hair, clutching at the Man's head to hold him tight. A moan slid from Aragorn's throat down the Elf's. Not sure how it had happened, Legolas found himself crushed full length against the Ranger, every inch of contact a spark upon his fevered senses. The sleeping dragon Legolas had sought to awaken now stirred hotly against his stomach as Aragorn ground his hips forward.
The Ranger's skin was an inferno that sought to consume. Feeling the scorch, Legolas broke off the kiss, ignoring Aragorn's groan of protest. He dragged his mouth and tongue along the lightly furred jaw. He found the pulse that raced in the hollow of the Man's throat and licked it. Restrained by the arrows, Aragorn nevertheless tried to clutch at Legolas when the Elf straightened and pulled
back."Don't go --"
Passion flooded Legolas at the desperate plea. Instinctively, he discarded his bow and quiver, then pulled quickly at the ties of his tunic. A cool rush of air passed over his heated flesh. With its sobering touch came reason. Legolas blinked. He dropped his hands. What was he doing? He had already broken Aragorn, proved him undone by his desire for the Elf. Why was he continuing?
The Elf raised his head, focusing on the bound Ranger. Aragorn watched him with a hunger that was almost frightening. "Take off your tunic, Legolas." His tone left no doubt that it was a command and not a request.
"Nay, this has gone far enough. I --"
"Take. It. Off," Aragorn bit out.
Legolas shut his eyes, helpless as a wave of desire rushed through him. "Do as I say," Aragorn continued, his voice low and husky. "You started this. I'm going to see it's done right. Take it off."
Legolas raised his hands to the hem of his tunic and started to yank it off, but Aragon's voice stopped him. "Slowly," the Man instructed, his eyes gleaming in the falling darkness. "Take it off slowly."
Heat crested his cheekbones, but Legolas slowed his movements. He drew the rough fabric up, baring his naked skin inch by inch. The chill air made him suck in his stomach, but it was Aragorn's unwavering stare that caused the gooseflesh to break out over his skin. Though he was held immobile against the tree, Legolas felt almost as if it were Aragorn pulling his tunic up. When the fabric lifted above Legolas'chest, the Ranger's intent blue gaze caused the Elf's nipples to draw up as tightly as though the Man's fingers had pinched them.
"You are cold," Aragorn murmured, noticing the reaction. His tongue flicked out to wet his lips, making Legolas fight back a moan. The Elf drew his tunic completely over his head and let it drop to the ground beside him.
"Come here," the Man said. Legolas stepped up to him, feeling the heat that radiated. "Give me your finger." Legolas hesitated, then slipped his forefinger into the Man's open mouth. The Elf's knees nearly buckled as Aragorn's tongue swirled wetly around him. He felt himself grow painfully tight within his leggings as the Man licked and sucked him. Just as his eyes fluttered shut, Aragorn opened his mouth. Legolas opened his eyes and pulled his hand back. Aragorn smiled. "Now touch yourself."
Legolas knew he blushed. He hoped the darkness hid it. Unable to meet the Man's steady gaze, he dropped his eyes as he lightly touched a nipple with his wet finger. "Oh --" he sighed, startled by the pinpoint of pleasure. He drew a lazy circle around the nub, spreading the moistness of Aragorn's mouth upon his flesh. If possible, his nipple clenched even tighter as the cold air bit. Legolas shivered, moved his hand to his other nipple and plucked at it with his wet finger.
He heard Aragorn shift against the tree, heard the Man mutter a curse beneath his breath. Legolas did not look up. Instead, he closed his eyes and raised his other hand to his chest.
Never before had he fully appreciated the subtle texture in his hands and fingers. Callouses that served him well as an archer now drew deliciously rough across sensitive skin. Nails that before had been merely functional became instruments of pleasure as they scratched a path of fire up his ribcage.
Yet even more exciting was to imagine that it was *he* -- Aragorn -- who was handling him with such a knowing touch. It was Aragorn's skillful thumb that caressed the plane of Legolas' collarbone. It was the Ranger's deft fingers that traced the firm ridges of rib and stomach. Legolas stroked down the sides of his waist and moaned aloud at the flash of sensation it elicited. Aragorn's answering groan quickly followed. Awash in the pleasure he -- they -- were creating, Legolas barely heard the Ranger speak.
"Legolas, undo your leggings." The Elf slowly opened his eyes. Aragorn's face was dark and sheened with desire. "Undo them," the Man repeated huskily. "Pull them down and let me see you."
Admitting he had lost all control of the situation and no longer caring, Legolas dropped his hands to the top of his leggings. Now that his hands were closer to the source of his pleasure, Legolas realized that he was fully enflamed. He ached beneath the restraint of his leggings. Removing them would be a relief.
"Go on," Aragorn urged, jerking ineffectually against the arrows. "Take them off."
The Man's obvious helplessness made Legolas bolder. He kept his eyes on Aragorn's as he hooked his thumbs in the fabric and gradually drew it down over the prominent bulge of his erection. Holding eye contact, he stepped out of the leggings and waited.
Aragorn's head fell back against the tree with a dull thud. Desire rose, undisguised, between the Man's legs. Aragorn's blue eyes worshipped the Elf standing naked before him.
"Gods, you are beautiful, Legolas," he breathed. "How I long to wrap my lips around you and taste every inch of your flesh." He emitted a pained laugh as Legolas trembled. "If my words were my hands, I have undone you, my fair Elf. Let me unwind you a little more. Wrap your hand around that lovely cock."
Legolas did as he was told, releasing a pent-up breath as the friction pushed him just a little bit further over the edge.
"Tell me what you feel like," Aragorn urged.
Legolas spread his fingers, discovering every curve and hollow of his swollen flesh. He pulled his fingers over the glistening tip, shuddering at the burst of pleasure.
"You look so hard," Aragorn continued in a strained voice. "Tell me how hard you are."
"Ai, yes!" Legolas answered desperately, stroking lightly along his length. "I feel as hard and stiff as Anduril right now. It pains me, yet it feels so good." He began to stroke himself in ernest.
But Aragorn would not let him. "Nay!" he protested fiercely. "Go slowly. If I must suffer this torture, than so shall you. Close your eyes, Legolas." He waited until the Elf complied. "Now imagine that it is my hand upon you. I would stroke you slowly, yet firmly, as though I am measuring your length and deciding how it would feel deep within me."
Legolas could not help the soft whimper that escaped him. His hips thrust forward, trying to force a faster pace into his hand. He willed himself still.
"Feel how stiff you are, how hot." Aragorn's voice thickened. "Feel the wetness that you smear across the tip to prepare yourself for me."
This was indeed torture, Legolas thought. It was a struggle to maintain eye contact as he used his thumb to slicken the senstive head of his erection. Each teasing pass over the throbbing tip made him tremble in pained pleasure.
"Are you wet enough?"
"Yes..." the Elf gasped.
A smirk was in Aragorn's voice. "I don't think you are. I want you to be dripping, Legolas."
Elvish curses rent the air. "Don't make me hurt you, Aragorn."
"Ah, but maybe that's what I want." Legolas strained to hear above the tide of blood in his ears. "I want you to shove that cock into me now, Legolas. Push it in, hard!"
Legolas tightened his fist and thrust forward with a relieved groan. In his mind, it was Aragorn's body he was breaching, the Man's tight flesh that squeezed him so exquisitely. The Elf's lips parted as he pumped mindlessly into his fist, each savage thrust a deeper plunge into the Man who would be king. He heard himself emitting panting cries as he neared his peak. Aragorn was speaking to him, encouraging him, but Legolas was too far gone to make sense of the words. Deep, deeper he drilled into Aragorn --
The Man's voice finally broke through his concentration. "Make me come, Legolas --"
It was too much. Legolas gasped, shuddered violently. Liquid heat spilled over his hand, sprinkled upon the ground. Lights blinked behind his eyes. He wanted to collapse.
Aragorn's choked call roused the Elf to look up. The Man strained desperately against the arrows, his hands unable to reach the source of his torment. Legolas summoned his strength and staggered to the tree, dropping to his knees before the Ranger. The Man's cock was swelled to bursting. Aragorn cried out when Legolas took him swiftly into his mouth.
Aragorn was not long in finding his relief. A few demanding strokes of the Elf's tongue and Aragorn came with an explosive convulsion that left him hanging weakly from his bonds. Legolas licked his lips of the Man's essence and stood. With the remainder of his strength, he braced his foot upon the tree and yanked the arrows free. Aragorn fell into his arms.
"You have proven my weakness," Aragorn panted, leaning back. "You win." A wry smile was on his face. "It seems I am woefully mortal when it comes to you, my fair Elf."
Legolas shook his head ruefully. "Weakness is not solely the province of Man, as I have so gracelessly demonstrated. Neither of us, it seems, is strong enough to be without the other."
Aragorn nodded and some of his previous seriousness returned. "We will wait for Gimli to recover before we head out again. The Fellowship has been scattered enough as it is. It will not be broken further."
The Elf smiled in relief. "That is all I ask. Thank you."
A grin suddenly creased the Ranger's face. "Ah, but Legolas, I am curious. The teacher sets out to teach a lesson and instead learns from the pupil." He laughed. "How is this so?"
Legolas glared at him. For the second time that night, Elvish curses split the air.
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