Author’s Note: I bow low to that wickedly delightful author Khylaren and the archivist Aliyah (of LBES fame) for suggestions with the denouement of the story. Also, there’s a little hint of W. B. Yeats in the second paragraph. Cookies for you if you get it. And wow, folks, I’m nearly ready to implode with the pressure of my own angst. You didn’t think my melodramatic tendencies would allow things to be resolved so easily with a little sex, did you? Well, ok, a lot of sex, but still...
Chapter Summary: “More light and light it grows, more dark and dark our woes.” - Romeo
Chapter 5 - In the Half-Light
By Milady Hawke
Aragorn shifted in his sleep, a suspicious moan escaping the man’s parted lips. The elf noted his lover’s rigid length pressed against his thigh, and smiled. The man was obviously replaying the previous night’s events.
How long Legolas had watched his love sleep he could not say, but the first whisperings of morning were beginning to creep into the room, softening the shadows into the grey in-between of night and light and the half light. He had prayed to Elbereth for the dawn to remain at bay, for the dark to stretch on into endless night, cloaking the lovers in its secret embrace, but the lightening of the hour came inevitably like the certainty that autumn would follow their summer. Soon, soon, too soon he would leave his lover’s side, or his lover leave his. One or the other would happen he knew, such was the nature of Arda that everything beautiful passes away.
The elf tucked a stray tendril behind Aragorn’s ear and then pulled the sheets further up over the man’s chest. Legolas’ eyes half closed in contentment with the view, even as his protectiveness of his lover kept him awake.
What had the elf done last night but undo all those years of purposeful sacrifice? In one drunken night of transcendent love-making, those years were gone, his decision to spare Aragorn the pain of separation with one fateful bite of an apple, all gone. And the honor of both was lost. ‘Arwen,’ the elf nearly groaned allowed. He had not been thinking, only feeling, letting the wine give vent to long-kept frustrations. He had cared for no one but Aragorn last night, and in the growing light of day he wished he could not care for anyone else now.
Legolas stretched a slender finger out to lightly trace a path along the man’s lips. They were weathered, and yet somehow softened by their experience. In this sleep, the toll of mortal years seemed to fall away from Aragorn’s face, leaving it with the supple glow of the youth Legolas had known all those years before. His love was beautiful, glorious, as if the elf had shared a part of his inner light with the man. This was how he wished to remember Aragorn, one and at peace with the world and himself.
Legolas brushed the barest whisper of a gentle kiss to the man’s mouth, but not gentle enough, for Aragorn’s lips came alive under the elf’s touch. The man stirred and opened sleepy eyes.
“Legolas,” said Aragorn with a dreamy smile as his hand rose up to cup the elf’s cheek. “My heart remembers. How could it not? I do love you, Legolas, my elf, I love you.”
The windows to his soul were soft and warm with love as Aragorn brought their mouths together then in a slow, tender kiss. Tears began to seep from the corners of Legolas’ closed eyes, and Aragorn wrapped his arms around the elf, rolling his lover on top of him.
Licking the tears away, the man asked, “Why do you weep, love?” as he stroked the elf’s cheek.
“Because under Earendil’s light, all things are possible, but in the light of day, you are king, and you are married, and I haven’t tears enough for the wrong I’ve done you, for the position I’ve put you in by forcing you to choose. In my wine I was weak and selfish not to care for Arwen.”
A stricken look passed over Aragorn’s face. “Is that not for me to decide? Was that not what last night was about?”
“I will not be a kept lover, and even if you would choose me over her, you cannot just send her away now - though if she knew of our love she would sail West, I am sure. She is so much nobler than either of us.”
Aragorn could no longer meet the elf’s gaze and looked down at their chests pressed tightly together. “I need this day to ponder what is to be done, A’maelamin, but I will come to you tonight when Ithil rides high in the arc of heaven. But whatever we do, I promise we will make the decision together this time.”
In the soft orange light of the hour before supper, a hunched figure sat at a writing desk facing a window, occasionally signing, stamping, and sealing the mess that had lain in front of him for hours. Outside, a warm summer breeze that hinted of lilies drifted in past his cheek, drawing a little sigh from his lips and a faraway look. He rested his head upon his hand as he stared out the window, giving up all pretense of trying to work.
In another part of the castle, the same breeze whipped long strands back from a golden elf’s face as he sat unmoving on the rail of a balcony high above Minas Tirith.
Several corridors away, a dark beauty in rich wine-colored velvets lay sprawled on her bed with heaving chest and a hand clasped over her heart.
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