WARNING: This is a hint of SLASH. While there is no explicit homosexual action, this story involves a man (male elf, really) in love with a man. If this bothers you, I am certainly not going to make you read it, and indeed kindly request that you take yourself elsewhere and read some of the lovely het works on ffnet. If you read the fic in spite of my warning, then don’t complain to me!
Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings, and all of its characters clearly do not belong to me. They belong to the amazing J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m merely playing with their minds... (evil grin).
Feedback: Please, please, please... yes, I am begging! I would like to know what you think of it – love it, hate it, don’t get it- whatever! Just keep in mind that flames will be used to heat my very cold dorm room. (along with Lady Ariannya’s hot water bottle)
Author's Notes: This is the seventh installment in the Double Edged series. This is the first with actual character interaction. I haven’t had much practice writing pieces that involve more than just someone thinking, or people randomly hacking at things. I am trying to keep Legolas and Aragorn in character, make the situations at least semi-plausible, and to create some depth beyond throwing the two of them in the sack (tempting though that is…). So, please let me know what you think about it -if you can offer some constructive criticism, and hints on how to improve, I would really appreciate it! Reviews are, of course, much appreciated. Keep reviewing, and I will keep writing!
Chapter 7 - Night
Night breaks upon this world with a vengeance. Stars shine bright, but remote. Trees grow taller, blending night with shadow to create a darkness so profound that I feel as though I could not tell the difference if I closed my eyes. I can feel the difference, however. When I close my eyes, the dark is velvety and comforting. There is no comfort in this night.
I started a fire to cook upon, yet even its passionate flames seem cold. I am nevertheless thankful for anything that will break this bleak monotony. I have never before felt lonely while within sight of the stars. The dear, brilliant pinpricks of light have been my closest companions for more years than I care to think about. I do not lightly fill my nights with false companionship. Stars are honest and true. I know full well that though I may sing to them, though I may spill my heart out for the wind to carry upon shuddering wings unto their souls, though I may bask in their glow, I shall never be able to reach them. Nor would I ever attempt to. I do not make pretensions to the stars. I have always known where I stand with them, what I can give, and what I may expect to receive. I can share my soul, and in return, they will bring some light to my solitary dark.
This night, though. This night seems to be trying to swallow the stars. Please, shadows, do not take the stars from me – they are all that I have!
"Legolas?" A voice cuts through the gelatinous gloom, bringing momentary relief. I turn, and my eyes track to the source. Aragorn stands tall against the background of foreboding forest, silhouetted by the light of the fire. I cannot see his face, but the glimmering halo comes to life around him, crackling and sputtering. The stars seem to draw nearer, as though they too wish to hear his words. For a moment there is life in this barren land.
"I’m going to lie down now. Wake me at high moon." He pauses, and I can tell that he is looking at me. Some of the beams of his halo follow the path of his eye and warm themselves in my heart. "You are certain that you wish to take the first watch?" Ever the noble king watching out for his subjects. But I am not his countryman. I may warm myself by his fire, but I have no right to reap the rewards of his sacrifice.
"Quite certain, friend. Rest well. I shall wake you when the time comes." He steps closer to the fire, to me, and I can see his eyes. They burn with life. And they shoot a suspicious gaze at me, as though he expects me to take the whole of the watch myself, granting him more sleep. No worries of that, my king. I know well that you are my equal and neither need nor desire coddling. Also, I do not wish to face this darkness all night. At least in my dreams I can wander lighted paths. The proud head dips in a nod. He accepts my word as the truth, and turns, receding into the dark. The halo diminishes, and all is cold.
This darkness brings a twofold offering. Left alone at night, my demons creep out to feed on my soul. Yet the very darkness that empowers them also hides the damage that they wreck from concerned eyes. Aragorn asked this afternoon what it was that troubled me. His eyes were so intent, so very concerned. I have been ill tempered and quiet. I know this, and I do seek to appear more content than I feel. But it is hard even for one who has spent lifetimes training his body and emotions to be peaceful when I am ripped apart from the inside. I desire him. I care for him. Gods – I love him. I have made my choice, and I will stand by it, and by him, always. But how to tell him of this, I know not. Nor even if I should make the attempt. There are more fragile things in the air than my heart. Arwen, for one. Oh stars, how can I so betray a noble lady? Yet I cannot betray my own heart. Of course, I know nothing of Aragorn’s feelings. Except – that he is engaged. And…that there has been a tension in the air between us. It started so gradually that I barely noticed. It has been growing stronger every day. Even a human’s senses are not so dulled as to be oblivious to such obvious emotion. He trembled when he confronted me. Not very much at all – just a slight tremor that started at the small of his back and extended through his fingertips. He has never before seen cause to tremble from me.
I cannot remember how I replied, so intent was I on avoiding the confession that trembled on my lips. Light, careless words flowed from my tongue – the wind had changed in an odd direction, or last night’s dinner had not gone well with me – some such idle excuse. I know better than to pretend, even to myself, that he believed me. He had stood before me, gazing at me warily. The tiny hairs on the backs of his hands stood on end. Yet he accepted my excuse, let the matter fall heavily between us, where it resides still. Since then, he has trembled when he spoke to me.
I hear him now, beyond the cold circle of the fire’s meager light. He tosses in his bedroll. I wonder why he cannot sleep. This ground is smooth and even, quite comfortable by our recent standards. And surely he is exhausted by the toil we have faced, and the burden that we carry. There are hollows under his eyes, and a lean look to his cheeks that tell me he would eat voraciously if we had the food to spare. Sleep should be a welcome and timely visitor to him.
Perhaps he longs for Arwen. Perhaps he fears for her. Or for himself. It is a hard path that he forces himself to travel. These cares have never so obviously robbed him of sleep though. Oh! Dear stars – mayhaps I am the cause of his unrest. I wish that it is not so, but the idea thought makes too much sense. He knows that something troubles me, and that I will not confess it to him. Never before have I been anything less than open and honest with him. What if he questions me, if he is uncertain in his trust of me? Certainly he knows that I would never betray him or our quest! But what other reason could his mind conceive for my actions? No – if he did not trust me, he would tell me so. He would confront me with his concerns immediately, rather than leave me to deal with mine in my own time.
A chill races through my body, deeper than the cold brought by the lightness eve, racing along the seam that binds soul and body. Perhaps…he did not push for an answer because he does not wish to hear what I have to say…perhaps he knows what lies heavy in my heart, beating at my ribs, struggling to be let free…Oh, Heavens. He knows my love, and my hope must turn to shame. I have been foolish and weak to try to hide my folly. I must confess myself at once, and request his absolution. If he cannot return the sentiment, if he cannot understand, perhaps I will be able to persuade him to forget. I will speak to him tomorrow. I must salvage his friendship at least – for a live without his presence would be as a night without stars, and no chance for the dawn. Tomorrow. I must. I will. Oh, stars, do not desert me now!
Return to Archive | next | previous