Flame and Shadow
by Jen Lynn

Title: Flame and Shadow
Author: Jen Lynn
E-Mail: ilovelegolas AT nyc.rr.com
Disclaimer: This fan fiction is in large part based on the movies. These characters and their world do not belong to me; they’re just being borrowed briefly.
Pairings: Legolas/Aragorn; Legolas/Haldir (implied)
Warning: Violent attack (somewhat sexual in nature) by the Balrog against Legolas. Descriptions of burns.
Rating: NC17
This fic is in response to Crystár’s Challenge: Ever since Gandalf's defeat in Moria, Legolas had been suffering terrible nightmares of the Balrog, and awoken with horrible burns. Being an Elf, by morn he is healed, but the fellowship begins to notice how withdrawn he is. Despite the fellowship's comforts, the only person the Elf will confide in is guess who... yep, Aragorn.
Note: Several pieces of dialogue are taken directly from the film-version of The Fellowship of the Ring.
Big thanks to Jean for beta-ing this for me!
Feedback is welcome

. One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.
- Sophocles –

The Shining
–Badly Drawn Boy –

Faith pours from your walls, drowning your calls
I've tried to hear, you're not near
Remembering when I saw your face
Shining my way, pure timing
Now I've fallen in deep, slow silent sleep
it's killing me, I'm dying

To put a bit of sunshine in your life

Soleil all over you, warm sun pours over me
Soleil all over you
Warm sun

Now this slick fallen rift came like a gift
your body moves ever nearer
And you will dry this tear
Now that we're here, and greave for me, not history
But now I'm dry of thoughts, wait for the rain
Then it's replaced, sun setting

And suddenly we're in love with everything

Soleil all over you, warm sun pours over me
Soleil all over you

Legolas stood alone, lost in sea of bewilderment. He felt emotions he could not comprehend. Death was foreign to elves and thus he had no familiarity with grief. His mind was awash in sadness. An aching, desolate sorrow pervaded his immortal body.

“Legolas, get them up.”

Aragorn’s words stirred the elf. As his mind reeled his body obeyed Aragorn’s command. Legolas numbly moved toward a hobbit but in his despair did not know which of the halflings it was. Something touched his mind. It was not only grief that had hold of him. A weight pressed onto his thoughts. Dread stole over him. He thought he felt a fiery bullwhip snap against his flesh. He nearly cried out in pain but was able to restrain himself. He glanced around. Only the elf and the rest of the Fellowship stood outside Moria. And yet he felt a presence.

Again Aragorn’s voice cut through his stupor. “By nightfall these hills will be swarming with orcs. We must reach the woods of Lothlórien. Come Boromir. Legolas, Gimli, get them up,” the ranger said.

Legolas began to move again, ignoring the turmoil inside him. He helped the hobbit to his feet. Immediately Aragorn had the group on the move.

They reached the Nimrodel as the sun began to set. It was obvious that if only for the sake of the hobbits they must make camp and rest for a few hours.

The elf stood on the edge of the encampment and peered into the twilight with his keen elven-eyes. He flinched as a hand was laid on his shoulder.

“What do you see Legolas?” Aragorn whispered.

“Nothing,” he replied, his voice icy.

The man narrowed his eyes at the elf’s frigid tone. “What is troubling you my friend?” There was such compassion in Aragorn’s voice Legolas nearly wept.

“Nay Aragorn, it is nothing. I will take first watch.”

“You are weary,” Aragorn said plainly. He could see the strain on the elf’s lovely face. “You are not accustomed to death.”

The grief flooded over Legolas anew. “Nay.” Aragorn gave the elf’s shoulder a gentle squeeze. Legolas sighed inwardly. “I do not understand any of this…”

Aragorn thought Legolas sounded like a small child. How does one explain death and grief to an immortal? He did not want to speak in empty platitudes. Instead he answered from his heart. “Neither do I,” the man said. Gandalf was more than their leader. He was their foundation.

Aragorn did not know how they would carry on without him. “I will take watch, rest my friend.”

Legolas nodded. He left the man on the edge of the camp and moved toward and then past the sleeping Fellowship. He found a spot several meters from the group and gracefully laid his body down. Until he lay there he did not realize how right Aragorn was. He was exhausted as he had never been in his long life. Quickly he slipped into elven-reverie. Legolas always dreamt of Mirkwood. It was a font of serenity for his mind as he witnessed the horrors of the rest of Middle-Earth. It was the basis of his sanity. On this night Mirkwood eluded him. Instead he saw it. Shadow and flame. As a red glow lit the walls of Moria Legolas had seen the Balrog. And it had seen him. He felt as though it had looked inside and through him. He had felt rooted to the ground, his heart rate increasing with a sudden lurch. The elf's breathing had become labored. In that moment he sensed darkness bleed across his mind and felt unspeakable, unadulterated evil. It was only Gandalf’s cry of “run” that had set him moving.

But in his nightmare he did not run. He stood transfixed as the demon’s eyes bored into his soul. He felt the bullwhip lash across his skin. Flame engulfed the elf as the Balrog seized him in his smoldering grasp. He screamed in agony but no one heard. His comrades were long gone and only he and the demon remained. His flesh burned. Legolas could not get away. His wails continued as tears streaked down his face.

All at once he awoke. He bit down on his lip to keep from calling out. He tasted his own blood. Legolas looked down at his hands, the skin of his palms was burnt nearly to the bone. He felt excruciating pain all over his body and used his raw hands to slide his tunic off. He looked down and saw the normally smooth white skin of his torso scorched with red lash marks. It took every ounce of will not to cry in horror. His legs called out in agony as well. With incredible effort the elf got to his feet. He peeled his leggings down and gasped. Spiraling burns went up one leg as if the blazing bullwhip had wrapped all the way up to the thigh. Burnt onto both hips were what appeared to be handprints. Legolas let out a small howl when he saw the skin of his manhood was blistered.

Naked as he was he took off in the direction of the nearby stream. He threw his scorched body into the water. He forced himself to stay below the surface and howled in agony. He stayed under as long as he could until the need for air forced him to the surface. The cold water stung his burnt skin. He lost sense of time as he remained in the stream. Hours went by and finally he realized his burns were nearly healed. He slowly emerged from the water and returned to where he had abandoned his garments. He dressed carefully. The pain was greatly diminished.

Legolas lowered himself to the ground and sang softly to himself. It was a song his mother had sung to him as a boy. He looked down at his hands. The burns were completely healed save for a reddish tinge to his palms that he was certain no one would notice. He stood, grabbed his pack, his quiver and bow and rejoined the group.

“We have lost precious time,” Aragorn was saying as he saw the elf approaching. He raised an inquisitive eyebrow in Legolas’ direction. It was most definitely not a good idea for the elf to have rested separate from the group. “The borders of Lorien are near. Come,” he said.

As the Fellowship set out Legolas took the rear as Aragorn led the way.

Trailing behind the group it was easy for the elf to find solitude but not peace. Flashes of his nightmare plagued Legolas. How or why his dream had produced burns across his being he did not know. He wondered if the Balrog had cast some foul spell on him. The fact that the nightmare assault of the Balrog was ostensibly sexual in nature was too shameful to dwell on. Aragorn set a swift pace and Legolas felt relief when his eyes caught sight of the woods of Lothlórien. Surely whatever mental wounds he had suffered in the presence of the demon would be cleansed by the splendor of the Golden Woods.

Aragorn sprinted into the woods followed by Legolas and the rest of the Fellowship. The ranger slowed his gait as he looked around in wonder. Legolas also gazed upon the forest appreciatively. Perhaps he would find a measure of peace here. His ears caught the nonsense Gimli spoke to the hobbits:

“Stay close young hobbits. They say that a great sorceress lives in these woods. An elf witch of terrible power. All who look upon her fall under her spell and are never seen again,” the dwarf said. He continued with claims about his keen hearing and eyesight when suddenly the company was surrounded by elven-archers. Legolas had his bow aimed at their assailants.

The smooth, haughty voice of Haldir broke the tension. “The dwarf breathes so loud we could have shot him in the dark,” the blonde said. Legolas felt another measure of relief. He knew Haldir well. A familiar face gave him hope that his troubles would fade like distant memory.

Haldir welcomed Legolas and Aragorn but informed the Fellowship that they could go no further. Aragorn began to plead with the elf. As the argument dragged on the company sat to rest on the forest floor. Legolas remained standing even though he felt an incredible weariness spread through his body. He was at a loss to explain. Elves did not require much rest and he should not have felt this tired. He blinked once as he nearly fell into reverie. At last it seemed Aragorn had won his case as Haldir instructed them to follow him.

Night became day. Aragorn observed that Legolas was quieter than usual as they traveled. This elf had been his trusted friend for much of his life. While Legolas had been reticent around the others the entire journey he had never isolated himself from Aragorn. They had spoken amongst themselves whenever the opportunity arose and the ranger felt their friendship grow stronger with every day. Now Aragorn saw apprehension on the elf’s face. He wished for a moment alone with his friend but knew there were none to be found at this time.

They traveled all through the day and night. For this Legolas was glad. He did not want to face sleep for fear his nightmare would return. During the daylight hours the exhaustion he had felt the night before had evaporated. But as the sky grew dark it returned. His limbs felt heavy and his body cried out to him. ‘Lie down on the grass,’ a voice seemed to whisper into his ear. ‘Rest, Legolas,’ it enticed. As he walked the elf shut his eyes for an instant and felt flame crackling all around him. He forced his eyes open. He glanced at his comrades and caught Aragorn staring at him. Legolas gave the man a small smile and then headed to walk beside Haldir. They began to converse about the last time they had seen one another and Legolas hoped this would help him ignore the temptation he felt to sleep. He walked beside and talked with his old friend all night, all the while feeling Aragorn’s eyes on his back.

At noontime the next day they arrived at Cerin Amroth and by evening were brought before Celeborn and Galadriel at Caras Galladon. Celeborn began to speak. “The enemy knows you have entered here. What hope you had in secrecy is now gone. Eight there are here yet nine there were set out from Rivendell. Tell me, where is Gandalf for I much desire to speak with him. I can no longer see him from afar.”

It was Galadriel who replied, “Gandalf the Grey did not pass the borders of this land. He has fallen into shadow.” Her gaze fell upon Legolas.

Bitterness swirled in Legolas soul. “He was taken by both shadow and flame,” he began, forlornly. His voice turned angry, “A Balrog of Morgorth. For we went needlessly into the net of Moria.” He should not have expressed resentment toward the dead but the decision to enter Moria was the reason he had suffered the living nightmare that had burned his flesh.

“Needless were none of the deeds of Gandalf in life. We do not yet know his full purpose,” Galadriel responded serenely. Legolas lowered his eyes at the reproach. He heard Galadriel’s voice dimly as she continued to address the Fellowship. Her last words rang like a clarion call in his ears. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Go now and rest, for you are weary with sorrow and much toil. Tonight, you will sleep in peace...” He heard the whisper in his mind again. ‘Rest...peace,’ it beckoned like a lover.

The elf went with the Fellowship to where they would spend the night. Though this place was beautiful Legolas felt no solace. The safety of Lothlórien’s borders should have comforted the elf. But peace would not come. He heard the melodic voices singing their lament and wished he could stop up his ears. When he knew the rest of the Fellowship to be asleep he walked deeper and deeper into the heart of Lorien. He found a secluded glade and laid his weary being down on the velvety grass. For a long time he stared at the stars. He counted them. He spoke to them. He sang to them. But at last he could fight his exhaustion no longer and slipped into a dream-state.

The nightmare began again. There was no preamble as he was propelled into the middle of the dream, already struggling within the Balrog’s clutch. This time it was more vivid. He could smell the sickening scent of his flesh burning. Searing pain shot through his being and tears spilled from his cobalt eyes. He screamed until his throat was raw. Details of the attack that had been a blur the first time crystallized. He was thrown across the floor of Moria and then the smoldering bullwhip wrapped around his leg and he was wrenched back to the feet of the demon. The creature withdrew the whip. With a vicious snap he cracked it against Legolas’ chest several times. The elf thought he heard a sinister laugh as the Balrog bent above his supine form. He futilely attempted to hold off the demon with his hands but felt his skin sizzle and char at the contact. He was past screaming as the flaming hands touched his hips. His mind was lost as blazing pain encircled his organ.

When Legolas woke he could not move. The torment he felt was too great and he lay there waiting to heal. The nightmare played as if on a loop in his brain. He became slowly aware that the pain lessened as morning drew near. When thought was possible he managed to get to his feet. He examined his hands. They were reddened but that was all. He sighed in relief. No one would have to know. Tears pooled in his eyes. The humiliation of the attack was as bad as the physical torture. He could not bear the thought of the others knowing.

“Legolas?” a voice said.

The sound of his name spoken roused the elf. He quickly brushed the tears away and turned. “Haldir, good morning,” he said, trying for nonchalance.

“Your friends look for you. They wonder why you separated yourself from their company for the night,” the other elf said.

“I find Lothlórien reminds me of my homeland. I longed to be alone with my memories of Mirkwood,” Legolas answered.

Haldir closed the distance between them. He brought his hand against the slighter elf’s cheek. Legolas shrank from the contact. Haldir raised an inquiring eyebrow. “You find my caress so unpleasant? It was not always so my prince,” his usual hauteur was missing. Haldir saw anguish on Legolas’ face.

Legolas did not respond. He simply turned his back and took several strides away. Haldir knew Legolas well enough to know that if the prince did not wish to tell him his troubles no amount of cajoling would break through the icy façade. Legolas heard Haldir’s intentionally heavy footsteps as his old friend retreated.

The elf briefly considered finding his companions. Perhaps he could convince them there was no need for concern. Legolas looked at his hands. Even now the ruddiness diminished. In spite of this he could not bring himself to face his friends. In particular he did not want to look Aragorn in the eyes. The ranger already suspected something was bothering the elf. He could not suffer losing Aragorn’s respect. So rather than face the Fellowship he turned and headed in the opposite direction.

Time passed quickly in Lothlórien. For Legolas the daylight hours were all too fleeting. No sooner did the elf wake from his nightmares, covered in the same disfiguring burns that afflicted him since departing Moria, than it seemed dusk was upon him again. The all-consuming weariness took hold of Legolas and he could not help but lie down on the grass and begin the nocturnal torment all over again.

The debilitating pain he woke with and the harrowing aftermath of memory caused Legolas to seek the shadows of the woods and remain there in isolation. The elf knew he could not go on like this much longer. His reason was eroding more and more with each subsequent nightmare. He spent his days hidden in the boughs of trees, hugging his body in their welcoming shade, fearing the inevitable sunset.

“It has been two weeks Aragorn,” the gruff voice of Gimli informed the man.

Aragorn looked into the distance, hoping as he had everyday of their stay here that Legolas would return from his self-imposed seclusion. The dwarf’s reminder was unneeded for the man was acutely aware of the elf’s absence. But everyday the others felt the need to ask him about Legolas’ alienation, as if he had the key to understanding what went on in the strange elf’s mind. Aragorn had continued to fight the urge to go find his friend. He thought he should respect Legolas’ desire to be alone and so against every inclination he had Aragorn merely turned to the dwarf. “We will leave him be Gimli and he will rejoin us when he is ready.” The dwarf grumbled but said no more on the subject.

Another week went by and there was still no sign of Legolas. Aragorn had questioned Haldir at the previous night’s meal about Legolas’ whereabouts. Haldir had remarked that Legolas remained secluded deep within the forest but did not offer any further information. “Aragorn—” Gimli began.

“It has been three weeks, I know Gimli,” he said brusquely. The dwarf was correct. This isolation of Legolas’ must be ended. The Fellowship would soon depart Lorien. It was more than that, though. Aragorn was deeply concerned. He had assumed Legolas was striving to cope with his grief over the loss of Gandalf. Now he suspected there was more to it. Aragorn recalled the strain on the elf’s face after the ordeal of Moria. He remembered the worry that clouded those sapphire eyes. “I will track him down,” he said finally and headed out.

It was no easy feat to hunt down an elf even for someone with Aragorn’s considerable skills. An entire day and night went by. Morning broke on the second day of his search. The man nearly gave up trying until he heard what sounded like muffled sobbing close by. The ranger followed the sound until he heard it clearly. The pitiful noise came from above. He looked up and saw a figure on the limb of a large tree, huddled against the trunk, its knees drawn up, with its arms wrapped around its legs. Aragorn grimaced at the sight. He saw a curtain of golden hair hanging down, obscuring the creature’s face. “Legolas?”

The elf’s head jerked up. His eyes came into focus and he peered down in the direction of the first voice other than his own that he had heard in weeks. “Aragorn?” he whispered, seeing the man standing at the foot of the tree, looking straight at him. “How did you find me?”

“It was not an easy task. We worried about your absence…will you come down from there?” Aragorn was alarmed by Legolas’ state. He appeared wounded and bereft. The man noticed a quick nod of his friend’s head and watched as the elf slowly descended the tree.

“It was not my intention to cause any of you concern. I required solitude,” he said. Legolas anxiously glanced up at the sky. There were scant hours of sunlight left in this day.

“What is going on Legolas? Why did you have need of isolation?” He reached out to touch the elf’s shoulder. The blonde skipped out of reach.

Legolas could not meet Aragorn’s eyes. “I find I am not coping with the death of Gandalf easily.”

“We all grieve for Gandalf Legolas. You did not need to hide your sorrow from us. And if you did not wish the others to see weakness in you you could have come to me,” Aragorn said compassionately. At this Legolas lifted his head and looked into the man’s warm eyes. Water pooled in the elf’s blue ones and he drew in a shuddering breath. “It is not only grief that separates you from us,” the ranger stated. Aragorn saw a storm that spoke of pain and horror swirling in the depths of Legolas’ eyes. “You look as though you have suffered great torment. Speak to me Legolas,” he implored gently.

“It is far too shameful,” he said sadly.

Aragorn again reached to lay a reassuring hand on the elf’s shoulder. This time Legolas did not pull away. “There is nothing you cannot tell me my friend.”

Legolas’ body had known nothing but pain these last few weeks. The gentle pressure of the man’s hand on his shoulder was an incredible comfort to the elf. “I…have suffered nightmares since we departed Moria,” he said so softly Aragorn almost did not hear.

The ranger nodded empathetically. “It is understandable that the mines would affect an elf in this manner.”

“Nay, it is not the mines themselves I dream of. It is the Balrog,” he said, feeling color rise in his cheeks.

“A rather frightening creature. And one responsible for the death of a friend. There is no dishonor in admitting fear Legolas,” he said.

“These are no mere dreams. As soon as the sky darkens I am overwhelmed by fatigue. I hear a voice whispering in my mind that entices me to sleep. The nightmare comes upon me instantly. I feel the sting of his fiery bullwhip. I am in his burning grasp. When I awake there are hideous burns on my body.”

Aragorn looked puzzled. “You feel as though you have been burnt?” he asked.

The elf shook his head. “Nay. There are genuine burns on my flesh which heal by sunup.”

“How is it possible that a nightmare is made real?”

“I met its gaze when first we came upon it in the halls of Moria. I felt it look through me. I believe the demon cast a foul spell that binds me to it. These dreams destroy me Aragorn. I cannot endure this much longer,” tears spilled down Legolas’ pale face.

“There must be a way to break this curse. I know little of magic…” he said, wishing (not for the first time) that Gandalf was there. “Galadriel is powerful, perhaps she—”

Legolas cut Aragorn off. “No. No one else can know.”

“But why? If she can help…”

“It is the nature of the dreams. The Balrog’s attack upon me is…it is a violation of mind and body…” The elf was desperate for Aragorn to understand what he was saying without needing further explanation.

Aragorn’s eyes widened a fraction. “It is…sexual this violation?”

Legolas closed his eyes, forcing more tears to flood out. He nodded slowly. “You understand why I am ashamed,” he said, his voice breaking. “I did not want anyone to know. You most of all.”

Aragorn carefully drew the elf into his arms. He gently held him against his body, stroking his hair. “You have nothing to feel shame for. You have no control over what this foul creature has done to you. You never have to withhold anything from me Legolas,” he soothed.

Legolas let himself become enveloped by Aragorn’s strength. He felt safe in the larger male’s arms. He lost sense of time as he let Aragorn hold him close and listened to the man’s steady heartbeat. Suddenly Legolas pulled out of the ranger’s embrace.

“What is wrong?” The man asked, concerned.

“Dusk is upon us…” he was breathing heavy, fear tingeing his eyes. “You must go, soon I will be unable to fight the exhaustion and the nightmare will come. I do not wish for you to see me in that condition.”

“Nay Legolas. I will stay with you. Perhaps when you fall into sleep I can rouse you from it quickly,” he took a small step in the elf’s direction.

“And if you cannot? No Aragorn. I would not have you see me thus. Please…” he pleaded.

“I will not abandon you to suffer alone. Do you forget that I am a healer? I can assist in whatever injury you endure. I am not leaving you my friend.”

Legolas wanted to protest but the weariness was already growing. And truth be told he did not want Aragorn to leave. “As you wish…”

“I will quickly return for my healing supplies. If I cannot rouse you from your rest then perhaps I can ease what pain you suffer,” he said, turning to go.

“Aragorn…” he began fearfully.

“I will speak of this with no one,” he assured.

“I only wanted to ask that you hurry back,” he said softly. Aragorn came back to the elf and caressed his cheek.

“I will return before you know it,” he said tenderly and was off.

Though tired beyond measure Legolas did not dare lie down. He paced around, trying to stay alert until he heard Aragorn’s footsteps. Aragorn offered up a small smile which Legolas returned. “It is good you came back so swiftly…”

He saw how fatigued the elf looked. “Lie down Legolas. When sleep comes and the nightmare is upon you I will do what I can to wake you,” he promised.

Legolas lay down on the velvety grass. He saw that the man had brought a soft blanket back with him. The ranger placed it near Legolas and sat beside the elf. “Do not judge me too harshly for how I behave when caught in the nightmare Aragorn,” he said drowsily. Aragorn took the elf’s hand and stroked it gently.

“Shhh…” Aragorn whispered. He watched as his friend’s eyes glazed over in the familiar elven-way. Shortly thereafter something altogether unfamiliar occurred. Legolas’ sapphire eyes rolled up into his skull until the ranger saw only the whites. The elf began to jerk and writhe but no sound came from his lips. The ranger attempted to wake him. “Legolas,” he said firmly. There was no response. “Legolas, wake up,” he tried in elvish. He went so far as to shake him by the shoulders while calling his name. Nothing worked. All Aragorn could do was watch in horror as the elf thrashed in his sleep. It lasted less than two hours. Legolas’ eyes shot open and he bit down on his lip to keep from crying out.

The elf lay there immobile, as had become his routine. He had not become accustomed to the searing pain but he was able to lie still until it began to diminish. He managed to turn his head and saw Aragorn watching him with profound concern.

“Let me tend to your burns,” the man said softly. While Legolas did not want Aragorn to see his scorched flesh the thought that perhaps he could ease the pain was too great a temptation. He gave the man a small nod. He lifted the upper half of his body to allow the ranger to remove his tunic. Gingerly Aragorn slid the garment over the elf’s head. He felt rage building within as he thought of the evil hold this Balrog had on Legolas.

The vicious burns that marred the elf’s soft flesh were difficult to look at but Aragorn kept his face dispassionate. He uncorked the phial of healing oil and as lightly as possible spread it onto the burns on his torso, arms and hands. Legolas squirmed at the touch and whimpered quietly. “The pain will ease Legolas,” he soothed. He brought his hand against the elf’s face. He looked deeply into the other’s eyes. He saw trust there.

“Will you allow me to examine your other burns?” Aragorn asked.

Legolas cringed at the thought. “You will be repulsed by the sight…” The elf closed his eyes as more tears fell.

“There is nothing about you that could repulse me Legolas,” he said as he carefully slid the elf’s leggings down. He was glad the elf had shut his eyes for he could not stop from gasping at the sight of Legolas’ organ. He quickly began to spread the oil onto the burns on the elf’s legs. His hands then ministered to the blistered skin of the elf’s manhood. There was nothing at all sexual in his touch as the healer’s hands carefully coated the flesh with the liniment.

Finally Aragorn sat back onto the blanket and watched Legolas. He watched as the elf’s tortured face began to relax as the pain lessened. He watched in fascination (though he had lived among elves he had never seen one so badly hurt before) as he witnessed the miracle of elven- healing. Before dawn Legolas’ skin returned to its natural state. When Legolas seemed free of pain Aragorn reached a hand over to the elf and stroked his blond mane. Legolas turned his head. “You seem to be healed…” Aragorn remarked.

Legolas eyes glanced briefly at the sky. “Yes. And sooner than usual. Your care has been a great help. I thank you Aragorn.” Legolas clasped the man’s hand in his own. As he gazed into the man’s kind eyes Legolas forgot about his fear of seeing disappointment there.

Aragorn took his other hand and held Legolas’ in both of his. “I only regret that I could not wake you from the nightmare. But I swear to you I will not allow you to suffer alone any longer and we will find a way to end these nightmares together.”

Legolas sat up. “Thank you for seeking me out.”

“I am sorry I did not come sooner,” he said and ran his calloused hand over the elf’s shoulder and down his forearm. Legolas shivered at the touch. “Are you cold?” he asked, withdrawing his hand. Elves did not experience heat and cold as men did but Aragorn did not know if Legolas’ newly healed skin was particularly sensitive.

Legolas felt a soft ache spread through him at the loss of Aragorn’s caress. “Nay…it is only that my flesh has known nothing but pain these past weeks and…” a blush colored the elf’s face.

Legolas did not have to explain any further. Aragorn slid his hand against the elf’s jaw line, caressing his silky skin slowly. He let his other hand roam gently against the elf’s torso. His hand slid behind Legolas’ back. His fingers ran in a straight line, massaging the tense muscles of the elf’s neck before the strokes moved south against his spine. He gently kneaded the satiny flesh.

Legolas reached a hand hesitantly toward the man’s face. His fingertips danced lightly against his facial hair. The elf draped his long fingers around the back of Aragorn’s neck. “Aragorn,” he whispered like a prayer.

Their eyes met. “I would remind your body of what pleasure is if you would permit me,” he whispered huskily. The ranger saw consent in the elf’s bright blue eyes.

“Please Aragorn,” Legolas breathed in elvish.

The man drew the elf toward him and gently guided him until he lay on the soft blanket. He looked at the elf’s exquisite, unblemished form as he hovered above. “So beautiful…” Aragorn said, fingers against Legolas’ abdomen. He saw a look of distress flicker across the elf’s face. “It is not mere physical beauty Legolas. It is your heart. Your courage. To endure the torment you have…it would have destroyed a lesser person. I admire you more now than before,” he said earnestly. Aragorn removed his tunic and breeches. He then laid his large, warm body against the elf, keeping his palms braced against the ground so as not to crush him.

Legolas moaned softly at the sweet feel of Aragorn’s weight against him. He ran his hands over the ranger’s muscled arms. His breath hitched as their organs touched. He had been waiting for the moment when the man would press their mouths together. Legolas could wait no longer and pulled himself up so he could kiss Aragorn’s mouth.

As their lips connected all rational thought exploded inside Aragorn’s mind. There was no Fellowship. No ring to be destroyed. No world to save. No Arwen. There was only Legolas. He felt a feral hunger for the elf. He pushed his tongue into the blonde’s eager mouth. Their tongues danced against one another. Legolas’ hands were stroking the expanse of Aragorn’s back. Their mouths parted reluctantly when both needed air. Aragorn almost immediately began softly kissing Legolas’ chest, teasing a hard nipple with the tip of his tongue. He smiled to himself at the elf’s quiet sighs of pleasure. He allowed his mouth to trail down Legolas’ upper body. When he slid his tongue along the length of the elf’s organ Legolas quivered. He felt the elf sink his hands into his dark hair. Aragorn continued to worship the shaft of flesh with his tongue. He tasted the bead of liquid that formed at its tip. Sweet, as he knew it would be. Aragorn thought Legolas had had enough teasing and took his full length into his strong mouth.

Legolas body arched in response. The nightmare of the Balrog was obliterated by Aragorn’s touch. Aragorn maintained an unhurried rhythm. The elf felt wave after wave of bliss. As Legolas reared beneath him Aragorn sucked harder to encourage the elf’s release. Legolas moaned as his essence spilled into the ranger’s mouth.

Aragorn swallowed the sweet taste of Legolas. He moved up his body and kissed the elf’s mouth with yet unspent passion. The elf returned the kiss with such fervor it took the ranger’s breath away. Aragorn used his strong hands to gently part Legolas’ thighs. He caressed the smooth white skin lovingly before reaching for the phial of liniment that lay nearby. He uncapped it and let some of the warm liquid drizzle onto his palms.

“Aragorn,” came the soft lilting elven-voice.

“Do not be frightened Legolas, I will not hurt you,” he swore.

“I know,” replied the elf. “It is only that it has been a long time since I have had a lover…”

“How long?”

“A millennium,” he answered.

“That is a long while but I do not believe the physics of lovemaking have changed in that time,” he said.

“You make fun of me?” Legolas asked, a glint of mirth in his eyes.

“Yes, but I would prefer to make love to you,” he said and pressed one long finger against the entrance to the elf’s body. He coaxed Legolas open and slowly slid the finger inside. Legolas let out an approving moan. He added another finger and then another. He had Legolas delirious with pleasure as he moved his fingers in a deliberate circular motion. He saw that the elf’s arousal had hardened once more. At the sight of this Aragorn slowly withdrew his fingers. Legolas groaned at the loss. He felt empty without the man’s fingers probing his innermost reaches.

Aragorn took one of Legolas’ long legs and draped it around his waist. After doing the same with the other he kissed the elf’s mouth. He let the tip of his organ press against Legolas’ opening. With extraordinary restraint he gradually inserted himself into the elf. He was pleasantly surprised when Legolas thrust his hips upward to push the man deeper within. Aragorn devoured the elf’s sweet mouth as he withdrew his organ a little and then thrust again until he completely filled Legolas.

The elf shuddered with ecstasy as Aragorn made contact with his most intimate point. Legolas moaned with sheer pleasure as Aragorn hit the spot again and again with his unrelenting thrusts. For weeks he had known nothing but pain and now he thought this rapture could last forever.

Aragorn enclosed Legolas’ organ within his grasp. He stroked the hard flesh until he felt warm fluid gush against his stomach. Aragorn then reached his own transcendent climax and spilled his seed deep within the elf. They lay in that position for a long while, Aragorn’s head resting on Legolas’ chest, listening to his heartbeat. At last the man reluctantly withdrew his organ from inside the elf. He positioned himself so he lay beside the archer. Aragorn caressed Legolas’ silken blonde hair.

Legolas turned so they faced each other. He kissed Aragorn’s lips and whispered “hannon le”. Aragorn responded by gathering the elf into his strong arms and holding him close until both fell asleep.

For the first time since leaving the mines of Moria Legolas woke feeling rested. He could feel warm breath against the back of his neck. Legolas could not help but smile. He looked down at his hands. They were untouched by burns. He looked all the way down his naked body and saw only smooth skin. He glanced up at the starlit sky. He and Aragorn had slept the entire day away and much of the night as well. Tears of joy spilled from his sapphire eyes.

“It is night already…” came the man’s voice as he yawned.

“Indeed,” Legolas replied, unable to keep the happiness out of his voice.

“It is night,” Aragorn repeated and abruptly sat up. Legolas did likewise and turned to face the ranger. “You slept without incident?” he asked, needing to know. He looked over the elf’s lovely form and did not see any mark.

“I had no nightmares of the Balrog. I slept in utter peace within your arms.”

“Of what did you dream? Mirkwood?” He asked, remembering one conversation early on in their journey about Legolas’ dreams of his home giving him strength.

“Nay. I dreamt of you,” he said unabashedly.

The sweetness in Legolas’ eyes caused Aragorn to pull the elf into his embrace once more. “It would appear the Balrog has lost its hold on you,” he whispered.

“I believe some magic passed between us last night when I was within your arms that was stronger than any evil the demon could conjure,” the elf whispered in return.

Aragorn kissed Legolas’ mouth tenderly. “We should perhaps rejoin the others before they come searching for me as well,” he said finally.

“You are right. I have been apart from them far too long,” Legolas said. “But perhaps we should bathe first? There is a stream close at hand.”

Aragorn nodded. The smell of sex was heavy on their bodies. “Lead the way.”

The man and elf gathered their clothing and went to bathe in the water. There they could not stop themselves from renewing the previous day’s passion. Once done they rejoined their comrades.

No one seemed to take notice of their wet hair or exceedingly cheerful expressions. The entire Fellowship was too relieved to see Legolas back among them. The elf received overzealous hugs from Merry and Pippin and a very polite and warm greeting from Sam. There was a gruff but affectionate “welcome back Master Elf” from Gimli. He received a curt nod of acknowledgement from Boromir. Frodo merely smiled at him in his openhearted manner. Legolas did not realize until that moment how close he had grown to the company.

Their last few days in the peace of Lothlórien flitted by quickly. Every night Aragorn and Legolas would sneak off to the place where the ranger had found the archer. They would make love with each other until their bodies were spent and then sleep serenely in each other’s arms. Legolas had not had a single nightmare since their first time together.

On the last night before they were to depart Legolas insisted he must spend the night alone. He had to know if he could sleep without the safety he felt with Aragorn beside him. Certainly they would not have many, if any, opportunities to bed down together once they left the Golden Woods. Aragorn was reluctant to sleep apart from his new lover. It was not only that he feared for Legolas. He also feared this might be their last chance to share their bodies with one another. In the end he agreed that the elf was right.

Aragorn found no rest that last night in Lorien. When morning broke he was relieved to see Legolas already there, speaking with Haldir in the distance. He observed a familiarity between them that caused an uncommon reaction in the man. Jealousy. Aragorn strode over to the two fair-haired elves. “Good morning Haldir, Legolas,” he said evenly.

Haldir inclined his head in Aragorn’s direction. He then looked at Legolas and gave him an arrogant, knowing little smile. “I will see you at the farewell ceremony,” he said smoothly and walked away.

Aragorn looked from the departing elf to the one still in front of him. “He is exceptionally arrogant. Even for an elf,” Aragorn remarked.

Light laughter came from Legolas. “He is not so bad once you get to know him.”

“How well do you know him Legolas?”

“I knew him rather well at one time. But that was a millennium ago. Do not be jealous,” he said good-naturedly.

Aragorn was so happy to see Legolas in good spirits he forgot to protest his accusation. “I take it you slept well?”

Legolas nodded his head one time. “I dreamt of nothing but sweet things…” There was no one near so Legolas risked a caress. Aragorn caught the hand that touched his face and brought it to his lips for a kiss.

“I am pleased then even though I missed having you beside me,” the man said ardently.

“Aragorn…I know that what has passed between us must remain here in Lothlórien,” he said wistfully. The powerful magic they created had ended his nightmares. It was the oldest, most potent magic of all. The moment their lips touched he fell in love with Aragorn. The love of elves is eternal and Legolas knew he would love Aragorn until the end of time. He also understood that Aragorn had responsibilities that he had to meet and the burden of a lovesick elf would be of no help.

“And what if I do not wish to leave it behind?” Aragorn asked.

“It is a complication you do not need,” Legolas said honestly.

“Perhaps. But it is a complication I want.” Aragorn pulled the elf into a kiss filled with abiding passion. “I will not let go of you so easily.” It had taken the Balrog’s horrendous assault on the elf’s body and spirit to show the man how profoundly he cared for Legolas. More than cared. Loved. “We must say our goodbyes to Lothlórien. Come my friend, we should not keep our hosts waiting,” the ranger said and began walking away.

The elf thought of a thousand things he should say. Aragorn was not thinking clearly. He was being rash and unwise. He opened his mouth to say as much but found himself unable to speak the words. He thought of Aragorn’s remark about Haldir being particularly arrogant, even for an elf.

Legolas had come across the other blonde when he came looking for Aragorn that morning. Haldir had somehow known of his newborn feelings for the king of men. It had always annoyed Legolas that Haldir read him so easily. The slighter elf had not even mentioned his plan to end the dalliance here and leave Aragorn to his betrothed when Haldir had said: “You are far too noble, even for an elf.”

Maybe his former lover was right. If Aragorn did not wish to end this then why should he? He shook his head and ignored all the wisdom he had gained over the millennia that told him to end this folly here. “You are a fool Legolas,” he said aloud, a whimsical smile playing on his lips.

“Legolas?” Aragorn called from the distance. The elf sprinted and quickly caught up to the man. “Is something wrong?”

“Nay. I have merely decided that I will not let go of you so easily either,” Legolas said.

Aragorn nodded. This was indeed going to be very complicated. “I do not know what the future will hold Legolas,” he said seriously.

“Then we will find out together.”

Aragorn joined their mouths in a warm kiss. No, he did not know what the future held. But finding out together sounded good to him.

The End



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