Author's note: Iím sorry this took SOOOOOO long, but Iíve been having some personal problems lately and I was not able to write anything. Anyway, I hope you like this one and donít worry, the next chapter is almost done as well. I decided not to put Legolasí POV in this yet, but in the next one. Enjoy and please let me hear your comments.

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien.


Love is all that matters

Chapter 4: So close again

By Marylou

       

~~~~ Aragorn ~~~~~

The words Eowyn had spoken echoed in my ears. "They go only because they would not be parted from thee - because they love thee."

I wished silently that these words were true. I wished that Legolas loved me. But I knew that my wish was made in vain.

I had lied to the lady. I had told her that if I were to follow my heart, I would now be in Rivendell. But my heart was not there. I was indeed following my heart; I was close to my beloved.

As I entered the lodge, I realized that he was awake. He sat on the layer, his gaze fixated on me. I gave him a wry smile and went to sit next to him.

"It was not my intention to eavesdrop, but my ears are keen and I heard you and the lady. You have a way in stealing hearts," he whispered, careful not to wake Gimli.

I smiled sadly. But not your heart, my lord... "I may have, but it is of no use, my friend. But tell me now, why do you not sleep? You need to rest."

He looked at me for a few minutes, with an unreadable expression on his face. Finally, he took my hand in his. "My sleep is unimportant. I see in our eyes that you need council, my friend. Come outside and let us talk," he said and with that, he lead me out of the lodge.

We walked for a while, until we were sure that no one could hear us. I was not surprised when I saw him climbing on a tree and inviting me to follow him. What other place would an elf choose to feel comfortable?

Without second thought, I climbed the tree and sat next to him on a branch. We sat face-to-face and I had the chance to examine his beauty once more. Even in the weak moonlight, his fairness was incomparable.

"Speak now, my friend. I am ready to hear your worries," Legolas said.

"Why would you wish to hear my worries? I am sure you have your own that trouble your heart," I said, unsure of why he had drugged me out there.

"You forget quickly Aragorn," he replied, "I have told you that I consider you as my best friend. And it is my duty, as your friend, to share your burden."

I gazed at him lovingly. If only he knew what the cause of my troubles was. "You have your point, my prince," I said, "But let us make a deal first." I was not going to let the chance slip away and not find out what was going on in my elfís heart.

He looked at me curiously, inclining his head to the left. "What kind of deal?" he asked and grinned mischievously. I could see that he liked the idea.

"You shall talk first. Do not try to deny it, fair prince. I know that there is something in your mind as well," I challenged him, hoping that he would accept my offer.

He nodded, but to my surprise, he did not answer. Instead, he sighed and averted his gaze from me.

"Let me guess," I offered, "It is your heart that troubles you. You miss your home and your people. Or maybe, you miss your future wife," I suggested, unsure if I wished to hear an answer or not.

He raised his head at once, his eyes wide open from surprise. "My what?" he exclaimed, "Aragorn, where did you get that idea?"

Now, it was my turn to look surprised and confused. "What you mean? I thought that you were... "

"Going to get married?" he finished my sentence. "Why would you think that?"

"Because... you said... the horse," I struggled to find the right words. I saw a sparkle in Legolasí eyes, indicating, that he had understood what I was talking about.

"You mean the wedding gift from lord Elrond. Aragorn, I told you that it was for me to take it home. To take it home to my oldest brother who would get married. Or I guess, he already has," he said, smiling.

I closed my eyes for a brief moment, trying to reflect was had just been said to me. He would not get married. He did not love another.

"All this time, I thought... " I trailed my sentence of. His merry laughter echoed in the silence of the night. It had been very long since I last had seen him so content.

"You fool! You should have asked," he said, shaking his head. "I would never get married, I... " he bit his lips, looking lithe to continue his sentence. " Never mind," he finally said, "It is your turn to speak now. Or should I guess too?"

"You can try," I suggested. For one brief moment, I toyed with the thought of telling him the truth, but I then decided that it would be wiser to wait.

"I believe that it is you, whose heart is troubled. Tell me if I am wrong, but I think that you miss your pretty lady," Legolas said quietly.

It was now my turn, to avert my gaze from him. I must be honest, I told myself silently. "No, I do not miss the Evenstar," I whispered, "I do not miss her, because I do not love her."

I heard a small gasp from Legolas that indicated his surprise. Before I even knew it, a strong hand grasped my chin and my head was forced up, so that I could meet his gaze. "Do you have any idea of what you are talking about?" he said, his voice being surprisingly cold.

"What do you mean?" I whispered, unsure of why he reacted that way.

"Dunedain, you cannot say that you do not love the lady Arwen when you have pledged yourself to her. When she has given you her immortality. You cannot really mean these words," he told me. He had an unreadable expression on his face, which looked almost like desperation.

"I mean it, Legolas. I made a terrible mistake when I made those love-vows to her, I know it now. But I was just a stupid child back then, and I thought that I had the strength to forget the one my heart really sings for," I admitted.

He immediately took his hand from my face. "So, there is another?" he asked coldly.

"Why do you react this way, Legolas?" I finally snapped, "It makes no sense."

The elf bowed his head. "I know," he whispered, "I am sorry. I do not know what got into me. You just caught me by surprise, thatís all."

I smiled at him affectionately. "You do not need to apologize, my friend. I can understand your surprise. I know that everyone believes I love Arwen."

"It is logical isnít it? You have pledged eternal love to her. I never thought you could say such a lie, Estel. You must truly love that other person, donít you?" he asked curiously.

Yes, my mind screamed, I love you. I love you more than anything. But you would not understand. It is too soon to reveal anything. I only nodded as a response.

Silence was spread between us for several minutes. I didnít even dare to look at him, in fear that my eyes would betray the war of emotions that took place in my soul. My love and longing for him were almost too strong to be fought by logic.

It was he, who finally broke the silence. "Let us get back. You need rest, my dear friend." Without waiting for an answer, he leapt gracefully to the ground.

I followed him seconds later and together, we made our way back. We entered the lodge and lay down next to each other. Even in the heaviest darkness, his smile shined like gold and melted my heart.

Gently he took my hand in his and entangled our fingers together. "Be strong, Estel," he whispered affectionately.

"I will be, my most dearest of friends, if you promise me one thing," I told him, as I squeezed his hand tighter.

"Anything," the single word came as a reply from the fair lips. It could only have been my idea, but it seemed to me like he had moved a little closer, like I could now feel the heat of his body against me. But it could only have been my imagination.

"Ride by my side tomorrow. Give me a little of your endless strength. Be my support through our long fight," I begged, my voice close to a sob. I had so much more to ask for, yet I had no strength for that.

"I promise you, my Estel. I will stand by your side tomorrow and for as long as you will ask me to," he told me reassuringly. And this time it was not my imagination; I could indeed feel his body touching mine.

"Forever," I whispered, but his delicate, white finger immediately covered my lips.

"Do not say this word, Estel. It is not meant to be used by humans. It does not suit you," he warned me.

"Forever," I repeated stubbornly, before sinking into sleep, his hand still wrapped tightly in mine.

       

When I opened my eyes next dawn, I almost chocked at the sight I faced. My arms were curled around Legolasí waist and his golden hair was spread around like a halo.

My heart began thundering in my chest, as I realized that every part of our bodies was touching. I buried my face in his hair for several minutes, enjoying his sweet smell caressing my nostrils.

Finally, I stoked his cheek with the back of my hand and whispered his name in his ear. Legolas stirred in my embrace and his eyes chanced back to the wakeful state.

For a second, he tried to understand where he was. "Aragorn," he whispered sleepily, looking me into the eyes. "Oh my! I am so sorry," he mumbled as he realized what was going on and tried to release himself from my arms.

I tightened my grip around his waist to still him. "It is all right," I whispered reassuringly. Now that I finally had him exactly where I wanted him, I wasnít going to let him go so easily.

"I must have moved in my sleep, I did not mean to... " he cut his sentence as I moved my face closer to his. His warm breath caressed my mouth and sent chills down my spine.

I lifted my hand and traced the fine lines of his cheekbones. I heard his breath becoming sharp and unsteady as I continued my motions.

Without a warning, Legolas reached his hand out and touched my neck, groping for something under my shirt.

"You donít wear it?" he whispered faintly, his eyes never leaving mine.

"I never wore it," I answered. I did not even need to ask to what he was referring.

A small sight came as a reply. I brought my hand to he back of his head, bringing him even closer. It was now or never, I thought. All the odds were at my side.

I closed my eyes and with my lips slightly parted, I moved my mouth to his. Please, I prayed silently, donít let him deny me!

Only an inch and... "Aragorn!" I heard Halbaradsí voice calling me from outside the lodge. My eyes flung open and I met Legolasí intense gaze.

Without a word, he stood up and turned to pack his things. I bit my lips in a desperate attempt not to cry out from frustration. We had been so close...

Unwillingly, I forced myself to stand and walked out of the lodge, feeling more confused and lost than ever.

One thing was for sure. I had let my chance slip away once and I never made the same mistakes twice...

To be continued...


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