Disclaimer: I don't own LoTR - the e'er wonderful Tolkien does that - nor do I hold claim to any of the characters mentioned in the book or the movie.
Author's Notes: So I wrote Legolas/Aragorn, but I didn't wanna totally diss poor Arwen - who I feel gets way too bad a rep from a lot of writers. Okay, the movie-Arwen was bad, but book Arwen didn't get much of a chance to develop that thing we call character - hence this fic. Also, I woke up too early and wanted to write. This is what you get. R&R respected!
They'd been travelling for over a week now, each succumbing to a state of constant, trancelike exhaustion and hunger. Gimli tried desperately to call to mind the face of Lady Galadriel; Frodo was lost in memories of some distant time; Sam hungered after the Shire as did Merry and Pippin, and a good smoke; Boromir remembered Minas Tirith, the white tower; and Legolas' mind was no doubt with his people, as was his heart, and the woods of Mirkwood.
Aragorn dwelt often upon the beloved features of Arwen, and more and more often it seemed that he was unable to draw his eyes away from Legolas' fair elven face because of the similarities he found. Oh, there were few to be sure, but Elven is as Elven does and it was close enough that Aragorn found his throat clenching at the poignant beauty of the Elf.
When Legolas spoke, it was music, painfully sweet to Aragorn's ears and he listened intently more to the tone of it than the content. When Legolas shaded his eyes to glance along their road, Aragorn found himself more absorbed in the flawless line of his brow and mouth than the expression it contained. When Legolas 'slept', his eyes open and his mind lost amidst his memories, Aragorn was able to satiate his need for sight of the Elf in full; he would often gaze for hours on end until at last sleep claimed him and he dreamt of golden hair and dark eyes, of his Elven companion, mingled with thoughts of Arwen, beloved Evenstar of her people and his heart.
He was pulled suddenly from sleep, from a dream in which the white limbs of Arwen mingled with Legolas' sweet voice to find the latter speaking to him: "Aragorn, sleep you easy?"
"Huh?" it sounded so stupid, so gauche, that Aragorn was surprised to find himself embarrassed by it and by, he realised uncomfortably, a state of arousal left by the dream. "Uh...yes. You should sleep too, Legolas."
The Elf smiled slightly, his face illuminated by the soft light of the moon, and held out his hand towards Aragorn. "You were dreaming." it wasn't a question. Legolas' eyes were knowing, infinitely tender, and Aragorn felt a flash of anger that his privacy was invaded.
The Elf, moaning beneath him, pillowed on Aragorn's arms...
"Yes." Aragorn agreed after a moment, trying to draw his blanket further around him in the hope that it would hide his arousal. All this and you find yourself with no more control than any boy in heat! he scolded himself angrily. "Sleep, friend."
Legolas hesitated, his fair face riven with doubt, and then he rose to his feet lightly and beckoned Aragorn to join him as he walked a little way away from where the rest of the Fellowship slept. Intrigued, the son of Arathorn followed him, halting at the edge of a small copse of sweet smelling trees.
"The Lady Arwen," Legolas began carefully, and Aragorn felt a tiny stab of guilt pierce his heart. He'd been dreaming of Legolas whilst Arwen waited for him at Rivendell. "The Lady Arwen...asked me to protect you. Specifically."
Aragorn bit out a harsh laugh, choking on it. "I need no protection, Thranduil's son. I've skill with the sword and Anduril is forged better than many others."
Legolas' face was grave. "Not from any physical foe, Estel." he used Aragorn's childhood name deliberately, and watched the other man's eyes narrow warily. "Arwen had fear that your heart would be torn and need healing that she would be unable to apply, in distant Rivendell. Your lady is wise, Aragorn."
"She is." Aragorn closed his eyes, conjuring up the image of Arwen's sweetly lovely face and the sound of her voice, feeling a tiny glow of love for his Evenstar. Prickles of guilt surrounded him as next to her face, he found the Mirkwood Elf's dark-eyed one, and he realised that his desire for Legolas, though it had stemmed from his love for Arwen, rivalled his poignant affection for Undomiel.
"I have seen you watching me, Estel-Aragorn. Arwen has seen it too -"
"No." Aragorn whispered flatly.
Legolas reached out towards him, and Aragorn stepped back, his eyes wide with horror. "No!"
"- and it was she who asked that I...be there for you. You find me similar to the Evenstar, do you not? It is those similarities from which your desire stems. Arwen, with the foresight gifted to those of the Half-Elven and children of Luthien, understood that perhaps on our journeys you would find yourself desiring...me, because of my likeness to Arwen which is no more than that of other Elves. She does not mind, Aragorn!"
"Quiet!" Aragorn cried out, his voice cracked by pain that didn't ease as he let the Elf move closer to him. Betrayal; guilt; love; desire...and a knowledge that death was probably all that waited at the end of this Quest, having never tasted his lady's caress.
Legolas' face was so sad, so loving, so knowing. "You were calling my name, in your sleep, Aragorn. And Arwen's. It is no betrayal of your lady. I can offer what comfort I have," he tilted his face to the other man's and let his fingers just gently graze Aragorn's cheek. "And that is all. Not everlasting bondage and commitment, nor my immortality."
Aragorn gazed up at the sky, seemingly lost in fault, then he turned his head and pressed a kiss to Legolas' fingers. "I understand that, Prince of Mirkwood. And I thank you for it." he closed his eyes, struggling with desire and with love...love for both the Elf before him and the Lady waiting in Rivendell.
Painful knowledge crossed Legolas' face for a moment, and then he stepped forwards and let his hand move round to cradle the back of Aragorn's head as he leant down to brush his lips tenderly with the other man's.
Aragorn stiffened, as if deciding what to do, and then he found that he was returning the kiss instinctively, with a half-sob under his breath for the perfection of it. The kiss grew deeper, harder, as he trailed hands up the Elf's arms to grip his shoulders with surprising strength and their tongues duelled a heated war of desire. They stood so close that Legolas could feel the heat radiating off Aragorn's body, and Aragorn could feel the cool hardness of Legolas' build. They broke the kiss only to come back again, nipping lower lips and tangling fingers into golden hair, dark curls; running hands down shoulders to clasp briefly and then move back up to caress along sensitive jawlines.
Aragorn moaned, a sound swallowed by the Elf's skilled mouth as they broke the second kiss and gazed for a moment into each other's eyes. It was Aragorn who leant forwards and captured Legolas' mouth with a tender, final kiss.
And Earendil shone on them as they made their way back to camp, side by side as friends who are determined stick by one another will do.
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