Hey, all. It is a great honor and pleasure to have this story at my site. Enjoy! As It Should Be
As It Should Be
by Peaceangel . 2004

Email: earthdanser AT verizon.net
Beta: Tularia
Pairing: FPS: Aragorn/Legolas, Other Character/Legolas
Rating: NC-17 for sexual content and some violence.
Warning: mpreg (but not typically so)
Feedback: Greatly appreciated! …and thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: The LOTR Characters do not belong to me and this is non profit story telling for entertainment purposes only. The story plot and original characters are mine.
Summary: Set after ROTK An unusual tale of the King falling in love with the Prince. Will their love survive when rather astonishing family secrets emerge from Mirkwood?

Legolas dropped his bow and pulled out his knives as another orc plunged towards him. A quick slice dispatched the foul creature, only to be faced by another lumbering body coming for him through the night mist. Legolas shifted his stance and prepared to meet the new foe, when a man’s cry pulled his attention away. Aragorn was on the ground, having received a blow to the chest, which did not cut through his armor but was enough to send him reeling. The enemy raised a sword over the ranger’s head but froze and toppled to the ground, an elvan knife protruding from its throat.

Aragorn’s eyes searched the battlefield and locked his eyes on the archer who barely had time to acknowledge him with a smile of relief. The elf’s attention was suddenly brought back to his own predicament with blunt urgency as he now faced a very large and foul looking Uruh-kai. He thrust forward with his one remaining blade but knew even as he attempted to block the descending strike that his attention to Aragorn had left him woefully unprotected to meet the threat. Aragorn saw it too and jumped to his feet, sword in hand as he rushed to the elf’s aid.

In those scant seconds that it took to cross the distance the Uruh-kai had evaded the elf’s weapon. The Uruk easily wrapped a large arm around the archer’s waist and lifted him off the ground. The Elf’s blade was knocked from his hand by a blow to the wrist, which shattered bone. Through the haze of pain Legolas felt his body crushed against the Uruk’s large frame. He was being squeezed to death he thought, and just as spots started to appear before his eyes, a foul stench assailed his senses and his mouth was plundered ruthlessly by an enormous black tongue. His gorge rose at the putrid taste of the large organ that pushed past his lips and invaded his throat.

Gagging in disbelief and disgust, the Archer kicked and flailed against the assault with renewed vigor. He must have landed a good kick to the creature’s privates because the stinking mouth came off him with a grunt. His relief was short lived however when he felt the large, sharp-clawed hands roam roughly over his body, ripping at his clothes, and slashing his flesh. Legolas cried out indignantly when the cruel hand clutched the swell of his buttocks in a vulgar fondle. The mouth assaulted him again, this time it landed on his neck with bared teeth.

A scream pierced the night. To his deep shame and mortification, Legolas realized it was his own. But the affront was too much to bear, having this thing’s hands, teeth and tongue on his flesh. And then he was on the ground. His head impacted hard and stars flashed before his vision again. He was vaguely aware of Aragorn standing between him and the Uruh-kai. He never heard an Uruk speak before, thinking them incapable of language, and was vaguely surprised to learn the beast knew the common tongue. This surprise gave way to an even greater one when he distinctly made out the beast’s guttural command to Aragorn to ‘give up the elf-whore.’ It was the foul beast’s last words as Anduril severed its gruesome head from its shoulders.

He must have blanked out for a moment because when he opened his eyes again he realized he was being carried like an elfling away from the battle that still raged around them. Aragorn’s face swam into focus and Legolas could feel a flush of humiliation stain his cheeks to be in such a state. He pushed against the man’s chest in an effort to free himself, mumbling “I am alright,…no need for this…’

Aragorn only cursed at him soundly and tightened his grip. “Be still, Legolas, you’re hurt!”

He tried again, “Nay, Aragorn, this is not necessary…”

But even as the words feebly escaped his lips he was assailed by a very distracting stab of pain in his chest in the vicinity of his ribs. His left wrist was swollen and throbbed unmercifully and his shoulder and chest were covered in dark red gore as the wound on his neck continued to pulse with bright red blood to each beat of his heart. The pain was accompanied by an embarrassing wave of weakness leaving him to consider that perhaps he wasn’t in the best shape to reenter the fray just yet. Still the thought chafed that he was being carried from the field of honor and prayed the dwarf was nowhere around to witness his weakness.

Aragorn managed to find an isolated location hidden far from the battle, whose sounds had grown distant indeed. Perhaps it was coming to an end. Legolas couldn’t tell for he was now fading in and out of consciousness. The ranger placed him gingerly on the ground, on some soft moss, that felt very welcoming to the elf’s battered body. The man’s face was a mask of concentration as he dug around in his pack for the healing herbs that he always carried with him. Legolas opened his eyes to find that his tunic and silver shirt had been removed and a cold wet cloth was being used to cleanse his face. It felt very good against his skin, especially on his cheeks and forehead. For some reason he felt like he was burning up and the cool cloth was all that kept the flames at bay. His wrist had been bandaged and he could feel a tight wrap around his chest. Aragorn must have bound his ribs. There was a cool wet poultice at the juncture of his throat and shoulder where the Uruh-kai had bitten him. He shivered at the memory of that assault.

The man’s warm hand was suddenly on his cheek, stroking and soothing. “Are you well, mellon?” He asked solicitously.

“Aye, Aragorn. I am well,” he lied. Aragorn’s brow furrowed as if to say ‘I don’t believe you,’ but he merely nodded.

The ranger lifted a steaming cup of mint tea to the elf’s lips. He drained the cup, grateful for the relaxing aroma and cleansing taste. He closed his eyes letting the tea’s warmth sooth his jangled nerves. Although Aragorn’s eyes never stopped perusing the elf’s face the man’s silence began to trouble him. Legolas opened his eyes and looked closely at his friend. The man’s face was filled with concern and there was something else, underneath that emotion. Because it was not something he found there often, it took a moment for Legolas to understand what it was. So clearly, underneath the obvious worry of the man, Aragorn was seething with anger and somehow he knew it was anger directed at him. Legolas blanched at it. Aragorn took hold of his hand in concern. “What is it? Are you in pain?” he asked urgently.

Legolas shook his head but then raised his eyes to the man, bright and wide. “Why?” he asked. At Aragorn’s confused look he added, “Why are you angry at me?”

Aragorn withdrew his hand quickly and glanced away. He looked as though he would deny it but then stopped and looked down at the stricken expression on the beautiful elf’s face. He reached out to tenderly stroke a cheek and to brush the damp strands of sun kissed hair from the angelic face. But his words were harsh when he finally spoke.

“You could’ve died! And after all we have been through…” His voice was a strained whisper that shook with the effort to maintain his control. “That thing…when I saw it defile you…” Aragorn’s face contorted in that moment into something frightening. “I never was more frightened and more enraged…to see that hideous thing touch you.” He finally choked out. “If I hadn’t been able to get to you… I know what else it would have done.”

Legolas flinched at these words, the memory all too vivid in his mind of that foul breath in his mouth and those clawed hands ripping at his flesh. He shuddered, fighting the urge to retch, and put a hand on Aragorn’s arm to stop him from going on. But the man turned angry eyes on him. “You should not have opened yourself up to that attack. It only happened because you were protecting me. I don’t ever want you to do that again, Legolas. Do I make my self clear?”

Legolas blinked at the harsh words and the burning gray eyes, which bore into him. “Aragorn… you were in trouble…”

Aragorn growled in frustration and emotions raged within him, which were almost frightening in their intensity. He grabbed the elf roughly by the shoulders, knowing he was causing pain to the broken ribs, but unable to stop himself. “Do you hear me, Legolas? That thing was going to rape you! It was going to rape you and kill you! All because you dropped your guard to protect me…because of me, you would have died!” The man’s anger reddened eyes glistened in the waning light.

Somewhere in the course of his outburst, Aragorn registered the shocked and vulnerable blue gaze that mutely stared back at him. Physically shaking, Aragorn choked off further speech and gave into the impulse to wrap his arms around the slender frame of the archer. He lowered his head to brush his cheek against the softness of the elf’s face. “I am sorry, my friend.” He whispered, in a voice still shaken by the roiling emotions within him. “Please forgive me.”

Slender arms slowly came around him, as he remained nuzzled against the elf’s neck. He breathed in the fresh scent of crystal waters, green leaves and summer grasses so typical of Legolas. There was no rebuke in the elf’s gentle touch.

As always, it seemed, his friend accepted him and his human emotions. He never even begrudged Aragorn his human tendency to seek solace in physical acts of intimacy like this one. Aragorn had once laughingly explained that he found his elf companion’s preternatural soft skin and silky hair soothing for his human nerves. Though if truth be told, he might even say, he found them intoxicating, especially when the man was really out of sorts. He sometimes felt guilty but the elf never seemed to mind it much when Aragorn would impulsively run his hands through the golden tresses. Unbraided the gold silk curtain would frame the elf’s perfectly sculpted face and drape becomingly to his waist.

Privately, Aragorn found it difficult to reconcile himself to his own gross and ungainly humanity when around the seemingly ethereal creature. In battle, the elf was as lethal as he was beautiful. But it was his friend’s uncommon compassion, which would banish Aragorn’s insecurities when they loomed large. Basking in the warm emotions, which the archer so freely gave, it was difficult to not feel content in the Prince’s presence. For some reason Legolas deemed him, a man, to be worthy of both his trust and his unwavering loyalty.

Such a bond, between a man and an elf, was an uncommon one, Aragorn knew, and had attracted much unwanted attention over the years. Legolas in particular had suffered much criticism because of their relationship; Thranduil having all but said nothing good would come of it.

Even if the one time ranger was now finally the King of the Western World, to the Elven Ruler of Mirkwood, Aragorn would never be anything more than the weak progeny of Isildur. He could never quite escape the curse of his past. Aragorn buried his face deeper into the elf’s hair as he contemplated these things and breathed deeply of the familiar scent in an effort to banish his fears over what hurts a friendship with him might bring to the archer.

“Aragorn?” The uncertainty in the elf’s voice made him cringe. On top of all that, had he really just lashed out at his friend? The elf had just endured a disgusting violation at the hand of Sauron’s foul creation and what had Aragorn done but blame him for it. The Ranger wanted to slam himself into a tree. His vulgar reaction had been so typical of a man.

“Its alright, mellon. I am not angry any longer.” He soothed, pulling back to look into the stormy blue eyes. He saw the eyes search him for any lingering anger, and finding none, they relaxed to reflect the quiet joy Legolas always reserved just for him. Aragorn breathed a sigh of relief and let his hand trace a gentle path along the elegant line of the jaw. “Its just,… I could not bear your loss.” He said quietly. His fingers just barely grazed the cheekbone and moved up to the sweep of an ear. The pale skin glowed as if it were made of moonlight. Legolas breathed in, lips parting slightly.

“You will not lose me, Aragorn. I promise I will be more careful in the future. It was my own carelessness that got me hurt this time. It was not you, my Friend.”

The elf’s face was flushed, but perhaps not from the slight fever that had been there from before. The man’s hands were on his skin again. At first it was an infrequent gesture peculiar to his friend. But as time went on and Aragorn seemed to take more comfort from these human touches the elf began to notice certain lingering effects. He did not mind the little caresses. It was gratifying to be able to offer solace so easily to the ranger. The man had so many cares placed upon him. He bore them all unflinchingly. A braver and nobler man Legolas could not hope to meet. Nor a better king. And since their paths had been brought together by what ever invisible hand which weaves the fates of men and elves, Legolas was content to be a companion and friend to someone so deserving of both.

But of late, the elven prince began to notice his own anticipation of these endearing human encounters. He found the sensations pleasant but also a bit disturbing. Why that would be so he couldn’t say. At the moment, however, he was finding the attention very disturbing and yet not distasteful. Perhaps it was the assault of the Uruh-kai, which has left him now in an overly sensitive state. For never before had Aragorn’s gentle touches had the effect of stealing his breath away, or halting his thoughts, or bringing sharp sensations down the length of his body to the soles of his feet.. Perhaps he should tell Aragorn to stop. But one look at the man’s face halted him from that plan.

Aragorn was gazing at him with such a look of transported peacefulness that Legolas found his own heart lighten to behold it. The man’s hands were now in his hair, again, but kept traveling to his face and to the hollow of his throat. Aragorn was speaking but Legolas had trouble focusing on the words, mostly about how guilty the man felt, because the warm hands were stroking his arms and placing gentle touches down his chest. His nipples became taut at the accidental brushing of calloused fingers. Legolas was finding it increasingly hard to breathe normally or to engage in conversation whilst the man was stroking him thus. Shockingly, he realized his member was beginning to swell. Slightly panicked, Legolas wanted to push the man away but instead found his own hands wanting to touch in return. His fingers gently moved up the corded muscles of the ranger’s forearms. For some reason the rippling sensation of those powerful arms under his questing fingers excited him greatly.

Legolas was finding his breath coming in shorter gasps and felt as if he would burst into flames if something didn’t happen. “Aragorn…” he stammered, looking confusedly up at the man. “What is it mellon?” the man crooned, still caught up in a dreamy state of contented exploration of the body in his arms. “Aragorn!” the elf said again “ I …I need to …”

“What? Mellon? What is it you need?”

“I need to …to…” he didn’t know what to say, embarrassed and caught as he was, in a state between agony and desire. The man seemed to come out of a trance, as he looked down at the flushed face, the glazed half lidded eyes, the parted lips that looked unbelievable sweet just now… Aragorn sucked in his breath. Never had he seen a more alluring vision. The desire was so deliciously apparent in the face of the wildly beautiful creature beneath him that Aragorn thought he would swoon from the need to taste it.

Before the poor confused elf could see it coming the man’s hungry mouth descended upon him, taking his lips into a kiss that stopped time and slammed Legolas into this single moment of passion beyond anything he’d ever felt before. The Man’s tongue penetrated past his softly sighing lips and explored the warm recessed of the Elf’s mouth. Legolas moaned and clutched helplessly, until the need for air forced them to separate. The sapphire eyes went wide with confusion, desire, and a touch of fear. Legolas tried to speak but whatever he was going to say was cut off by the Ranger’s questing tongue as it embedded itself in the warm cavern of the elf’s mouth once more. It was a completely different sensation from the violation he had experienced earlier by the Uruk. Aragorn was musky, and manly. His kiss was passionate and demanding but not brutal. The tongue explored his mouth, while the hot hands of the ranger skimmed over his face, arms and chest, sending a blazing flame of desire licking over the elf’s entire body,

Legolas groaned and found himself pulling the ranger down on top of him. The weight of the man pressing into him was incredibly arousing. He groaned again uncontrollably and the man growled in his throat as he latched onto the slim arms and pinned them to the ground. He trailed hot kisses over the elf’s face and down the column of the throat. Mindful of the elf’s injuries, Aragorn rained in his passion enough to not cause the elf any discomfort. He was thankful that the healer part of his mind was still able to function when the rest of him was completely overthrown by passion and desire for the gorgeous blond beauty beneath him. Pausing briefly to pull his own shirt over his head, he lowered himself down to feel the elf’s naked chest against his own. The elf’s moans of desire where like an aphrodisiac in his blood. He kissed his way to a gracefully upswept ear and swirled his tongue around the sensitive tip. The elf shuddered at the overwhelming sensations and bucked wildly beneath him, gasping the man’s name. Aragorn smiled ferally and continued to suckle at the delicate ear. Meanwhile his hands found the hardened nubs and pinched them between thumb and forefinger. His hands suddenly couldn’t get enough of the soft flesh.

“Oh…oh, Aragorn,” cried the elf, “oh, Elbereth! What are you doing to me…?”

“I am loving you, my beautiful one.” Aragorn whispered huskily before bringing his lips and tongue down on one of the elf’s nipples. The elf moaned at the sweet sensations that were rapidly overwhelming him. And then he was catapulted to another peak of unexpected pleasure when the man’s hand found his burgeoning erection and released it from the confines of his leggings. Aragorn’s large hand stroked his length and finding the little pearl of precum at the tip spread this over the shaft making the strokes sweeter. His hand continued to glide expertly over the smooth skin until Aragorn’s devouring kisses trailed their tortuous way down to Legolas’ elfhood. The man held the elf’s bucking hips still and descended upon the lovely column of flesh. It was as perfectly flawless as the rest of the elf’s body. The sexual longing that the ranger had somehow managed to avoid looking at all these years now slipped very naturally into the forefront of his consciousness. Aragorn found himself completely lost in the powerful desire to claim this precious being and make the elf totally his, as it should be. He devoured the archer’s erection whole and was pleased to hear Legolas’ loud cry of ecstasy. He swirled his tongue expertly around the head and hollowed his cheeks while sucking the slender shaft with all his might. Legolas gripped his shoulders and screamed out his name. Never could he have hoped for a more perfect moment, thought Aragorn, than to hear the beautiful prince scream out his name in a fit of passion.

“Aragorn! I’m going to …to..” the elf tried to pull the man’s head away from him but Aragorn had other plans. Sensing the elf’s orgasm was imminent he clutched tighter onto the hips, fingers bruising the perfect flesh, and pulled the elf into him as deeply as possible. Legolas screamed in abandon as he finally exploded into the man’s worshiping mouth. Aragorn sucked deeply, draining the organ of every last drop as if the elf’s essence was the elixir of life. Finally, he released the softening flesh and came up to embrace the exhausted limp body into his arms. Legolas slowly came back from the distant heaven where his powerful orgasm had propelled him to and opened his eyes to see the bewildered and beaming face of the ranger.

Legolas was speechless for a few long moments. “How did we…? I mean,…I can’t believe…” The Elf stammered to a halt, embarrassment coloring his cheeks pink.

Aragorn, still looking bewildered but eminently pleased, said, “I can’t believe it either, mellon.” His hand came up to trace the familiar lines of the archer’s face reverently. “But,” he continued in a husky voice, “I think that its something I have wanted to do for a long time.” His hand now moved to trace the elf’s ear and Legolas gasped as the touches began to enflame his blood yet again. ‘Unbelievable,’ thought the elf, as the stirrings of desire began to build in him once more, what witchcraft did the man possess over him?

The ranger did not fail to notice the elf’s glaze of desire and he descended yet again to claim the elf’s mouth in a deep kiss. Legolas gave up any further attempts at rational thought and gave in to the passion that flared between them for a second time. This time the elf met the man’s tongue with his own and moved to place hungry kisses down the man’s throat. Aragorn moaned at the elf’s response and allowed Legolas to gingerly move on top of him. The elf lowered himself down the length of the man’s body. Trailing kisses and pausing to run his fingers down the hairy chest in fascination. He let Aragorn, who was ever mindful of Legolas’ broken wrist; remove his own leggings and boots. He gently pushed the man to lie back down while the archer gingerly touched the man’s thick shaft. It was larger and rougher than an elf’s but Legolas found himself enjoying the musky scent of it. He found he wanted to taste it. Carefully lowering his mouth to the engorged cock he looked up and found the man, propped up on his elbows, watching him avidly. The look was one of passion and of the deepest devotion. Legolas found himself unaccountably moved and blinking away the sudden tears that clouded his vision. He kissed the head of the cock tenderly. Then took it gently into his mouth, swirling his tongue around the head, and placing sweet kisses up and down the shaft. Aragorn sighed deeply at the erotic sight and the love he saw swimming in the elf’s blue orbs.

“I love you, mellon nin.” Aragorn said softly.

A sweet rosy blush graced the elf’s face and the bright indigo orbs that turned up to look at him swam with unshed tears. “And I love you, Aragorn.”

The man reached down and gently lifted the being into his lap. He cradled the elf in his arms and placed gentle kisses on the cheeks, brow, tip of the nose and finally claimed the rosy mouth in a passionate kiss. When he pulled away they were both breathless and very aroused. Aragorn nuzzled the sweet fragrant neck and whispered, “I want to be in side you, mellon.” He felt the elf stiffen momentarily than relax and found the man’s mouth for another kiss.

Legolas whispered against his lips, “It would be my honor, Mellon.”

“Are you certain?” asked the man with concern, “we don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.”

“I want you, Aragorn,” said the Elf in an awed voice, that shook slightly.

Aragorn hesitated as the elf gingerly lay back against the moss bed beneath them.

Sensing the man’s hesitation the elf looked at him knowingly through long lashes and breathlessly whispered, “Will you take me, My Liege? Take me,” he purred challengingly, “and make me yours.”

Aragorn growled deep in his throat at the words. He needed no further persuasion and growled again as he dragged his eyes over the pale body of his lover laid out for him on the soft forest floor. He quickly discarded the last pieces of clothing, eyes never leaving the vision before him, and reached into his pack for a small vial of medicinal wildflower nectar. He pushed the elf’s thighs apart with his knee and kneeled between the wide spread legs. He opened the vial with his teeth and poured a generous amount of the sweet smelling nectar into his hands. His eyes never leaving the stunning luminescent eyes of the elf he lathered up his own engorged organ, then gently spread the cheeks wider he found the beautiful star shaped opening to his lover’s body. Suddenly feeling overcome by the enormity of what was happening, Aragorn stilled his movements. How could he dare to touch this shining, magical creature, he wondered. His eyes took in the pale moonlight skin, the mysterious electrifying eyes that seemed to pierce him to his very soul, the cascading waterfall of silver hair. He was but a man, rough and ungainly. Legolas deserved so much better.

As if reading the thought the elf moaned and wiggled his enticing round backside onto the man’s lap. “Aragorn! Please, you are torturing me…I want you, melethron! Will you make me beg you?”

The words had the desired effect for the man snapped out of his lowly thoughts and took hold of the elf’s shaft and bent down take it into his mouth and gave it as much loving attention as he could without letting the elf come. He brought a slick finger to the elf’s entrance and gently inserted it up to the knuckle. His attentions to the elf’s shaft kept his lover too occupied to notice the stretching and burning sensations as the first finger was joined by a second and later a third. Aragorn lifted his face from the sweet column of flesh he had been pleasuring to gage the elf’s reactions. Legolas was arching in pleasure at the panorama of sensations. “You will never need to beg me, my love.” Aragorn said, then added devilishly, “At least, not too much.”

He curled his fingers and rubbed at the small mound he found inside his lover and watched with satisfaction as Legolas almost bolted into the trees with a scream. “Oh, Oh, OOOOOh …Aragorn! I never knew….Oh, don’t stop!”

“Do you like that?” Aragorn asked wickedly, stilling his movements to watch.

“Yes!” cried the elf and looked at him in consternation. “Why did you stop?”

Aragorn laughed at the pout on the pretty lips. He withdrew his fingers, very slowly, after brushing the spot again lightly. The elf moaned and glared at him plaintively.

Aragorn laughed again and said, “Don’t worry, beautiful one. I have something else here for you that I think you will like even better.” He pulled the elf’s rump high onto his lap and gently lifted the archer to sit up. Legolas wrapped his arms around the man’s neck and looked deeply into Aragorn’s eyes. The ranger swallowed hard at the look of unabashed desire and complete trust he saw in those eerily stunning eyes. He gently lifted the elf by the hips and guided his cock to the stretched opening. Gently he lowered the elf onto his throbbing flesh. Legolas bit his lower lip as that thick human cock penetrated him. Eventually he was fully sheathed and after a few moments to let him get accustomed to the fullness, Aragorn lowered the body gently back down.

He looked at the blissful look of anticipation on the archer’s face and asked, “Are you well, mellon? Are you ready?” The elf nodded and Aragorn began to thrust in and out of the tight warm space. His movements were very gentle and small at first; afraid he might hurt this precious being. But the tide of passion grew to an unbearable height and he began to slam into the body beneath him with unrestrained force. The elf moaned in pleasure as the human’s cock filled him over and over again. Each time it pulled out it dragged maddeningly across that tender spot which sent sparks up his spine and into his cock. And then Aragorn slammed into him again each time with increasing force. He was being rocked into the ground and he felt the pain in his ribs, but he bit his lip and pushed back to meet each thrust with a push of his own. Harder and harder they met each other in the frenzied timeless dance that took them soaring into peaks of unbridled pleasure, flesh slapping into flesh. Finally with a wild shriek of ecstasy Legolas exploded his essence between the two straining bodies. One, two, three thrusts later and the ranger followed him with a long moan of his own.

Aragorn collapsed onto his lover. The elf’s cry of pain made him recoil and roll off to the side. “Legolas, what is it? Did I hurt you?”

“Yes.” The elf laughed. “I think you might need to rebind my ribs.” He laughed again seeing the stricken look on the ranger’s face and reached over to caress the man’s face. “I am only joking, Aragorn.”

The man smiled at him ruefully and sidled up to lie down along side the elf. He pulled the lighter being into his arms carefully so that the elf’s head was resting on his shoulder. Aragorn sighed in deep contentment and stroked the beautiful silk hair that fanned out around them.

“ I am yours now, Aragorn.” The elf said softly.

The man swallowed the sudden lump in his throat and with tears in his eyes, he shifted to look into his companion’s face…into his lover’s face. “You don’t regret this, do you, mellon?”

“How could I regret this, Aragorn? I love you. You know I always have.” The elf smiled at him sweetly.

“And I have always loved you, Legolas.”

“I know.”

“Some people won’t be too happy about this, mellon.”

“I know.” But the elf didn’t want to have to think about all that just now. He snuggled deeper into the warmth of his man’s arms. Nothing would separate them, he vowed silently to himself. Not even Thranduil.

“But there is one good thing…” continued the man.

“What is that, Aragorn?”

“I don’t need to make up anymore excuses to touch your hair.”

Legolas chuckled softly. “No you certainly don’t. But I shall now have to teach you to braid it properly.” That earned him a poke in the ribs, a very gentle poke.

Ch2

“King Elessar! Where are you?” a distant voice cried out.

Aragorn rolled his eyes, and sighed heavily, the persona of the ranger dropping away from him like dust after a summer rain. Legolas smirked as he accepted the king’s hand and allowed himself to be helped to his feet. Fortunately they had dressed some time ago but, unwilling to leave the fable like serenity of their new found sanctuary, they had chosen to linger in each others arms for as long as possible, knowing it could not be long before reality intruded on their magnificent and unexpected tryst.

The sounds of men in the woods disturbed the quiet of the dawn and had alerted the ranger and the elf some time ago that the battle was long over. A small contingent of Gondor’s personal guards to the king were slowly and noisily making their confused way toward their escaped royal charge. Aragorn could have taught them a thing or two about tracking. Something to add to his ‘to do’ list, he mused. When he had carried Legolas into the tiny grove last night he was hardly trying to hide his tracks, concerned as he was about the elf’s injuries.

In the past several weeks, since the new king’s coronation, the Gondorians had learned this ranger from the north was not going to tolerate being smothered or protected inside his castle walls. So ‘upon pain of death, or something like that,’ they were ordered in no uncertain terms ‘to stay out of Aragorn’s way’ and let their liege indulge his need to participate in the ‘real work’ of restoring the White City. In this case that meant go out and fight along side the men in the skirmishes against the marauding orcs that continued to plague the borders of Gondor and Ecthelian since Sauron’s defeat.

With the approach of the guards came the unspoken understanding between the two friends, turned lovers, that a renewed formality would have to be adopted in the way king and prince conducted themselves. The voices of the men grew louder, but while still hidden within the sheltering burnt red foliage of the trees, the man and the elf gave each other one last lingering kiss, before separating to a respectable distance. Their eyes remained lock on each other, however, exchanging vows, which now could not be spoken out loud.

“King Elessar, there you are!” Faramir yelled, relief evident in his voice, as he emerged, looking rather stressed, through a clump of bushes. It was not in the young man’s nature to let annoyance at his new king show in his voice, but another member of the little search party had no such compunction. The unhappy rumblings of a worried dwarf easily reached their ears. Legolas exchanged a guilty glance with Aragorn as Gimli’s disgruntled visage materialized from the woods. The stocky dwarf was sporting an impressive black eye but looked none the worse for wear.

“Well, isn’t this jus’ grand! Jus’ grand! …We look all over creation for the two of ye, worried to death, I might add, that some terrible fate befell the lot of ya’ and here ye both are…lookin’ like…like…” the dwarf stopped suddenly, for all his dwarfish ways he was shrewd enough to sense some new aura about his two friends. Legolas shifted uncomfortably, glancing askance at Aragorn, then darting his nervous blue gaze to the leafy ground. Seeing the dwarf’s sharp eyes riveted on the unusual sight of a fidgeting elf, Aragorn quickly stepped forward, deflecting the discerning gaze. “Master Gimli, my stout friend,” he said loudly with arms out stretched wide, and clapping the dwarf rather roughly on the back, “you are quite right. My apologies my friends, we stumbled here to treat Legolas’ injuries and lingered longer than we should.” He drifted back to the elf’s side, as he spoke, unconsciously laying a possessive hand on the archer’s back. “But it was clear the mighty forces of Gondor had the situation well in hand. My congratulations, Lord Faramir, on a successful campaign. Soon the lands will be finally purged of the last of these orcs,” he concluded expansively. Gimli stared at the man as if he had suddenly sprouted two heads. A ‘gregarious Aragorn’ was something new under the sun. Legolas shifted uncomfortably from one foot to another, sliding surreptitiously away from the hand that had been pressed between his shoulder blades.

Meanwhile, the king’s high guards puffed with pride to hear the praises of their new chieftain. Unlike the stuffy old steward of Gondor, Denethor, this ranger was a battle-hardened warrior and his praise meant something. Faramir bowed gravely and then stepped forward, “My Liege, do you or the Prince require a healer?” His kind eyes traveled over the form of the elf, taking in the bound ribs under the ripped and bloodied tunic, and the bandaged wrist, which now hung in a sling at his chest. “Fortunately, we suffered no losses, but there have been some injuries, which are being attended to as we speak. I can call one of the healers, at once.” He added, eyeing the nasty looking wound on the pretty elf’s slender throat, which looked like something had tried to take a bite out of the supple flesh.

Legolas stepped forward with a slight bow of his head in acknowledgement of the man’s concern. His gold unbraided hair fell, forgotten, down his shoulders and into his face, sending a momentary ripple of appreciation around the small group of men. “No need, Lord Faramir. I thank you for your concern. But your king has long been known among the elves for his skills as a healer. I assure you, he has taken care of all my needs.” The elf did not, quite, look at Aragorn with this last statement but saw the man bite his lower lip.

“So you were injured, eh, Master Elf?” asked the dwarf in concern, eyes moving past the injuries to catalogue the elf’s unkempt appearance, the unbraided hair. The dwarf’s dark eyes narrowed in suspicion, as they did not fail to notice the ranger’s halfhearted attempt to stifle the slight smirk on his lips. And was that a mischievous little glint he saw just now in the elf’s eye?

“Nothing serious, Gimli.” The elf said in his sweet melodious tones.

“Well,” said Aragorn brightly, with an energetic clap of his hands. “I’d say its time to gather our troops and return to the castle. We can all use some rest and food. Faramir, if you would please see to the preparations for the clean up here. I will await your report after dinner this evening.” With that the king stepped forward, gathering the elf to him with a solicitous hand at the small of the prince’s back, and led their way to their horses which were being held at the ready by one of the king’s guards. “Prince Legolas, your injuries are still too recent and I have a concern about those ribs, so you ride with me,” said the king loudly.

The elf glared at him, slightly abashed and ready to protest, but sensing the curious eyes of the company upon them he clenched his teeth and merely nodded. Once he had been ‘helped’ up to the saddle, and nestled within the circle of the King’s arms, he whispered testily, “I hardly think I need to be coddled so, my Liege.” Aragorn did not miss the none too slight sarcastic tone with which the last word was spat at him, but he laughed quietly into the elf’s pointed ear.

“You may not need coddling, this is true. For you are a mighty elvan warrior, and none here can doubt it, my proud Prince.” He placated, but then leaned in and said even more softly, “But do not begrudge me the need to stay close to you, Legolas. I feel so full of love for you that I fear to part from your company even for a moment would turn everything that happened between us into a dream.”

The elf inclined his golden head and the chagrin was gone from his soft voice when he spoke. “I understand what you mean, Aragorn. But I will not disappear and neither will my love for you. When we return to the castle, perhaps the King can be spared for a short time from his duties, so that I may remind him of the reality of my devotion.”

“The ‘King’ would like nothing better,” agreed Aragorn. The man tightened his grip on the slim waist of the elf, pulling him back surreptitiously, as the horse started into a trot, almost onto his lap. Aragorn couldn’t resist a little snuggle and leaned his chin on the elf’s shoulder in front of him, heedless of the curious looks from the men or the particularly intent gaze of one dwarf. Legolas, however, did not find it as easy to dismiss the glances occasionally cast in their direction. He cursed quietly in elvish and tried as best he could to scoot away from the man’s public display of affection without drawing more unnecessary attention to them.

Legolas was well aware of the ranger’s disdain for the courtly protocols now being demanded of him and wondered at times if the man’s defiance wasn’t deliberate to irritate his court advisors. Legolas could sympathize with his friend, having had similar feelings for many years when he was forced to attend his father’s court. Now he mused on the vagaries of fate that he should find himself in a position to continuously advise the ranger on the need to follow proper kingly etiquette. He knew the king’s advisor, Faramir, was grateful to him since the young Gondorian often turned to the elf, as a last resort, when the king of Gondor was being uncooperative or deliberately obtuse in matters of etiquette and concerns with public image.

By the time the gates of the white city came into view, the elf was swearing profusely and wearing a pretty rose blush, which reached all the way to the tips of his delicately pointed ears, although none could have guessed as to its cause. Thankful for the king’s flowing velvet robe which Aragorn had pulled around them, ostensibly to protect the two riders from the dipping temperatures, none but the elf was aware of the king’s burgeoning royal scepter which had found its new home nuzzled between the elf’s nether cheeks, despite the layers of cloth between them. Legolas squirmed in the man’s embrace, hissing elvish promises of revenge, low enough for only the ranger to hear. The rumble of an appreciative chuckle in his ear was the man’s only response. Aragorn’s amusement was infuriating, as was the man’s erection, which pressed demandingly against his neither port. “For the love of the Valar, Aragorn,” he hissed, “Faramir is right behind us!”

“Faramir can find his own elf,” quipped the ranger turned king, “You’re mine.”

Legolas’ hopes for a quiet, unobtrusive arrival into Gondor proper were instantly dashed when their group crossed the city gates. A cheering crowd of loyal subjects immediately greeted the king and his party. Aragorn graciously thanked the people of Gondor and reminded them to show equal appreciation to the Gondorian soldiers and to the two remaining members of the fellowship who eagerly joined the quest to hunt down all remaining orc bands that still plundered the land. The enthusiastic crowds needed no such reminding, however. Since the elf and the dwarf, had accepted the invitation to stay as advisors to the King of Gondor, they were revered almost as much as Aragorn was himself, for their part in the liberation of Middle Earth.

Still ensconced within the circle of the king’s arms, the elf did his best to pretend he was invisible, while at the same time acknowledge politely the shouts from the adoring crowds that called his name along with the king’s. Aragorn whispered into his ear, “They love you, mellon, almost as much as I do.” Legolas was grateful for the warmth with which the people of this city had accepted him. But he still hated public appearances like this one, just as he had hated similar events in Mirkwood that often held the prince up as an icon of worship. And it bothered him that he rode into the city on the king’s horse instead of his own steed. Although the Gondorian’s would dismiss this lapse easily enough in light of his obvious injuries, Legolas felt a trifle angry at Aragorn for putting him in this unbecoming position. To fail to ride home on one’s own horse in Mirkwood meant one had better be near death or suffer Thranduil’s displeasure. Living among men was turning him soft, thought Legolas in self-chastisement, and he was grateful at the moment to be far from Mirkwood’s eye.

The king’s party arrived at the castle and grooms came to retrieve the horses. Not surprisingly the Gondorian’s did not end their enthusiastic greeting in the courtyard. Within the great hall, a reception was awaiting them and Aragorn again was forced to address the lords and ladies of the realm who eagerly sought him out. Legolas finally managed to dislodge himself from Aragorn’s possessive arm and drifted to a corner of the great hall were the king received the courtiers. It would not do to turn away the worshipful subjects who had emerged to show their new king how much they appreciate his tireless efforts to restore the white city to her former glory.

Legolas watched, somewhat amused as Faramir tried desperately to keep Aragorn’s attention on the practice of properly receiving his courtiers. Time and again the man’s eyes would drift to the back of the hall, sending the elf a silent plea for rescue from the tedious proceedings. It was a look Legolas had seen in the eyes of the ranger on countless missions through out their long association. The elf shrugged his shoulders and sent him a playful wink that said ‘you’re on your own this time.’ He was gifted with a mock glare in return that was equally playful in its response; ‘you’ll get yours later.’ Legolas smirked. He wondered how he’d entertain himself until it was time to receive his ‘punishment.’

“His Majesty seems to be having a hard time keeping his attention focused on his courtly duties, eh, Master Elf. Might ye know why?” Gimli’s question had managed to startle the Legolas, whose own attention was so singularly focused on the object of his desires that he failed to notice the dwarf’s presence. Gimli watched him, in smug satisfaction, as the elf tried to recover himself.

“N - Nay, Master Dwarf,” Legolas stammered, not used to prevarication. “Aragorn is most likely tired from the battle and is in need of a rest.” He tried to follow up the lame sounding response with the sweetest smile he could muster, hoping to throw the persistent dwarf off the scent.

Recovering his footing in this old game, he added, “Don’t you feel a need to lie down, Gimli?” He dropped his voice to a purr and, accompanied as it was with a well calculated lowering of his long lashes, the dwarf didn’t stand a chance. He watched Gimli’s cheeks blush under the attack of the solar powered elvish smile.

Shifting suddenly from one foot to the other, the dwarf stammered some thing about being rather tired, after all, and excused himself. Legolas watched, bemusedly, as his friend moved hurriedly toward the stone stairs and disappeared around the corner, but not before catching a dwarfish curse on the devilish wiles of pretty elves. Mission accomplished, thought Legolas. It was a source of perpetual amusement to the archer, and embarrassment to the dwarf, that Gimli could be so easily affected by the elf.

Whether the provocation was a well placed taunt designed to elicit anger or an irresistible tease to arouse an embarrassing swell below the dwarf’s shiny mithril belt, both served to put an end to what ever the current debate might be about and the elf tallied himself another victory in the odd competition which characterized their unusual friendship.

Just then the king himself suddenly appeared at his elbow. With a warm guiding arm around the elf’s shoulders, Aragorn whispered hurriedly, “Come on, lets get out of here before some one else asks me one more blasted thing about treaty violations, border infractions, old laws and new statutes. By the Ring, I want nothing more than to sweep you off your feet and take us both as far away from here as possible.”

Legolas couldn’t agree more and, feeling a little giddy, allowed himself to be steered toward the north wing, which led to the king’s chambers. They did not manage to get far, however, when they were stopped by one of the lords who served as one of the financial advisors to the king. The man was a bloated, wealthy landowner who had served the old steward, Denethor, although rumors suggest some less than ethical conduct between them. Aragorn did not like this man but he had been warned by Faramir to not make too many changes to the established group of court advisors so soon after his installment as monarch. It was important to firmly establish himself in the hearts of the royals as well as the general populace before he began to make some of the sweeping changes that he had already set down in the privacy of talks with only those closest to him.

“Your Majesty, if you please, one more word with you.” The man had positioned himself in front of them and Aragorn did not miss the openly curious and rather licentious look the pervy old man gave his elf. Tightening his arm around the elf, unconsciously, Aragorn glared at the old lord but bit off the sharp comment that instantly threatened to spill past his lips. Instead he said, “I am sorry, Lord Tilgard, but Prince Legolas and I saw some hard battle during this campaign and we are both in need of retiring. I will be sure to give you my full attention tomorrow during court hours.” Oddly enough, the man was either too stupid or too arrogant to accept the dismissal he was just given by his king. Instead, the man held his ground and unabashedly stared at Legolas, sheltered within the circle of the King’s arm.

“You are retiring for the evening, King Elessar?” He asked, his beady yellow-gummed eyes shifting back and forth between the man and the elf.

Before Aragorn could spit out the sharp retort, which now could not be stopped, Legolas smoothly slipped out of the king’s arm and with a bow towards Aragorn, said, “My Liege, your concern over my injuries is much appreciated but I assure you I will see to them. I will bid you good night. I believe this fine Lord has need to speak with you privately.” Assuming the proud royal tones of a prince, the elf acknowledged the other man with an almost imperious nod and smartly turned on his heel. He strode out of the hall, in a swirl of gold, and followed the path Gimli had taken earlier. But his footsteps did not take him to the rooms he had been assigned since his installment as part of the king’s council. Instead, feeling suddenly very stifled by the huge stone walls, he headed toward the ramparts in one of the upper towers of the castle.

Once the cold night air hit his face, he felt the tension he had been carrying all day begin to drain away from him. His mind drifted back to the sheltered little grove where Aragorn had made love to him, as men call it, and had claimed the elf as his own. The memory seemed almost surreal, now that they were back behind these thick walls, surrounded by men. It was love that had compelled Legolas to remain in Gondor when Aragorn had come to him and Gimli after his coronation. Now, Legolas realized he had even more reason to remain. Yet, he could not deny his heart was troubled. For if he now had more reason to stay, perhaps he also had more reason to leave. What would the reaction be if the people of Gondor realized that their King had taken a male elf for a lover? If that fat lord’s insolent behavior was any indication, this could potentially be disastrous for Aragorn’s rule. It had been scandalous enough when the promised Queen had failed to appear at the coronation. Legolas had no idea why Arwen had chosen to break off her promise to bind herself to Aragorn, but wouldn’t the king eventually be forced to consider the question of heirs.

His spiraling thoughts seemed to cast a shadow over his mood. Suddenly the unbidden image of Thranduil surfaced in his mind. The elf king had already sent an inquiry, politely asking when Mirkwood’s prince would be returning to his own kingdom. Legolas had not spoken of it with Aragorn, intent on simply ignoring the missive altogether, for perhaps a couple of years. The man was curious about the contents of the message, easily guessing whom it was from, but the ranger did not press the elf about it, apparently sensing Legolas’ unease.

The prince now thought of Mirkwood’s mercurial king and had no doubts as to what Thranduil’s scathing reaction would be if he learned of this new, most recent development between his son and ‘that mortal corruptor of young elves.’ Legolas had at first believed that Thranduil’s reactions to Aragorn had much to do with the feud between the Mirkwood king and Lord Elrond. But as the years went by, Legolas began to wonder if there was something deeper and more mysterious which fueled his father’s growing hostility towards Aragorn. Even upon the eve of Aragorn’s coronation as King Elessar, Thranduil had demonstrated a surprising lack of respect toward the ruler of the reunited kingdoms of men. Legolas was of course in attendance but Thranduil’s personal message to Aragorn was brief, almost dismissive. Aragorn had not spoken of it but Legolas was deeply shamed and hurt for the sake of his dearest friend and brother in arms.

Legolas sighed. The weight of so many concerns settling once again around his heart deepened the shadow that threatened to engulf his earlier joy over his joining with Aragorn. So preoccupied was he with his thoughts he did not hear the approach of the man who had claimed his heart. The warm hands settled on his shoulders from behind him and the familiar voice was in his ear all at once, sending a shiver through his body, as the lips brushed the sensitive point. “You left so suddenly, my elf. I have been looking everywhere for you.” The words were filled with reproach but the hands drifted instantly to skim across his chest and possessively secure themselves around his waist.

Legolas leaned back into the embrace, his head coming to rest on the man’s shoulder with a sigh. He found himself marveling at his body’s strange new reactions to his friend’s touches. His doubts of a moment ago were momentarily forgotten as he reveled in the ranger’s potent embrace. He brought his left hand up to caress the man’s face, as Aragorn rested his chin on the elf’s shoulder, while the fingers of his right traced the roughened skin of one of the man’s hands at his waist. After a long moment of silence he let his thoughts have a voice.

“That man’s reaction, Aragorn…it troubled me. We were being too obvious. Gimli keeps asking questions. I don’t know what to say to him. But…surely we can’t let anyone know of this.” Doubt creeping into his voice, he went on softly, “Maybe…maybe this is not a good idea?” His throat constricted as he said those last words, hating himself for them.

The man’s reaction was immediate. Aragorn spun the elf around in the circle of his arms to face him and brought a hand up to clasp the point of the chin firmly, bringing the face up to look at him. There was a burning intensity in the steel gray eyes that locked onto the elf’s. “No, Legolas. We belong with each other. I will not allow weasels like Tilgard to do anything to ruin what we can have together.”

The elf tried to look away from the king’s intense gaze but Aragorn’s hold on his body was firm. Legolas could hear the tremor in his own voice when he began to speak again but he remained resolute in his aim to make the man think of his duty as king. “I feel the same way, Aragorn, you know that. But have you given thought to how this would affect your rule? You are a king, now. If this got out…” but the elf’s words were cut off sharply by the man’s lips which descended on his in a possessive kiss. Aragorn plunged his tongue into the warm inviting mouth and brought his arms around the elf in a tight embrace, crushing the lithe body against him.

When he finally ended the kiss, the elf was shaking in his arms. Legolas had draped his arms around Aragorn’s neck and was now holding on as if the sudden weakness of his legs would not support him. Aragorn brought his mouth to the delicate ear and kissed it gently, sending another violent shudder of desire through the body he now held tightly against him. “You see?” he whispered huskily, “We are meant to be together. I will not have you talk like this again, Mellon. Let anyone even try to suggest we shouldn’t be together”

Legolas’s body trembled excitedly at the words, but his mind rebelled at the man’s recklessness. Aragorn continued, “And besides, I have no intention of keeping you hidden like some courtesan. I plan to make this public.” He pulled back to look at the elf, as if his authoritarian statements sounded suddenly strange to his own ears. “Mellon? Will you consent to marry me?”

Legolas looked at him, mouth dropping open in a most unelvish look of shock. “What?” he finally choked out.

The man took two steps backwards, and with a wry smile, dropped to one knee in front of the elf. Legolas’ shock doubled at this and stood dumbfounded starring down at the King of Gondor. Aragorn took the elf’s uninjured hand tenderly in both of his and brought the fingers to his lips. Legolas stood frozen as the man placed a tender kiss on the tip of each slender, porcelain like finger. He then clasped the white hand reverently to his chest so that Legolas could feel the wild beating of the man’s heart, as though it was some wild thing about to fly loose from its cage at the elf’s command. The man’s gray eyes locked onto the wide indigo orbs, and swallowing past the sudden lump in his throat, Aragorn said in a firm voice, “Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood, would you do me the honor of joining with me in marriage, and sharing in the rule of the Kingdom of Gondor as my Prince Consort?

Ch3

“YOU WHAT?” thundered King Thranduil, the flawless baritone voice echoed eerily off the marble walls. “Impossible! You cannot marry this mortal.” The imposing figure of the Elf King gestured rudely toward Elessar Telcontar, King of Gondor and the United Kingdoms of Men, as if he were the ill favored creature, called Gollum, once held captive by the wood elves of Mirkwood.

“Father, please…” but the prince’s soft words were lost in another deluge of vulgarities, which shockingly issued forth unchecked from the great monarch’s voluptuous mouth. The elves at the other end of the tremendous hall looked over at them but quickly turned back to their respective duties, perhaps unwilling to draw fire to themselves, thought Aragorn.

Thranduil stood tall, an imposing figure to be sure, taller than Aragorn, even, and crowned by a thick mane of dark burnt gold hair that skimmed just past his broad shoulders. The warrior braids were joined expertly into the more intricate plaits signifying Mirkwood royalty. Legolas frequently chose to forgo this symbol of his station when outside his realm. Now, standing before his king and father the proud prince stood erect and immobile as if he were a work of art created by the finest artisans to adorn the halls of the king.

The young elf was arrayed in the finest of silvery spider silks, a long sleeveless tunic, cinched at the waist with a thin embroidered mithril belt that looked as if it had been woven by fairies for its delicacy. Long silvery mithril strands hung from the belt circling the gentle swell of the prince’s hips to hang almost to the floor. Dark silver leggings hugged the long muscled thighs and black suede boots encased the feet and ankles. A sumptuous velvet burgundy robe adorned the pale shoulders and flowed eloquently to the floor to puddle at the princes feet like a poem paying homage to his fine form. The robe was adorned ornately in gold filigree with the runes of the Silvan elves of the royal house. The archer’s finely muscled arms were wrapped in spidery bands of mithril lace that swirled around his upper arms, and again at his wrists, in intricate scrollwork. The prince’s hair was unbound but for the fine network of braids that twined around the mithril circlet and cascaded down his back. In his agitation, the pale skin of the cheekbones was flushed to a deep rose, as were his lips, which he continued to lick in nervousness. The elf’s eyes were a striking azure blue, a sure fire sign, Aragorn recognized with some concern, that an explosion was imminent.

If Thranduil took notice of this, he gave no indication or perhaps more to the point he did not care. In this palace, no one out did the King in psychopathic rage. The monarch’s vocal diatribe, if anything, seemed to be picking up speed rather than spending itself out as one might have expected. With a sigh, Aragorn resigned himself to the fact that he would have to wait his turn to speak, so he took this opportunity to study the face of Mirkwood’s Sovereign.

He was handsome with a chiseled masculine bone structure, so unlike the more refined and delicately boned features of the prince. The mouth was full and shapely not unlike the lips of the younger elf, which Aragorn found to be so kissable. But the king’s eyes were green not blue. Legolas must have inherited those expressive blue orbs from his mother. Yet the intensity of those blue eyes, Aragorn had come to realize were equally as capable of stripping the bark off a tree, as they were of filling one’s soul like miruvor on a parched tongue. Perhaps Legolas had inherited this intensity from his father for Aragorn could well see the same fiery gaze in the eyes of the great elf monarch that paced before them. The sharp intelligence within those smoldering green eyes suggested to Aragorn that Thranduil’s fearsome temper might be more a thing of design.

This thought did not, however, make him in any way less threatening. Such fear tactics seemed completely foreign coming from an Elf. Lord Elrond was intimidating as well, but the intimidation one may have felt from Elrond was due more to his seemingly limitless reserve of knowledge and wisdom. Elrond did not purposely use intimidation to coerce others. The fact that the Mirkwood King would resort to something so human was disturbing. In fact, Aragorn found the contrast between the elf King’s intelligence and his willingness to inflict pain very disturbing indeed. There was a certain coldness in the sharp features of the classic Silvan beauty, that gave the ranger a sense of foreboding.

The king’s golden head was adorned by an intricately patterned crown, made of gossamer mithril webbing, interlaced with bold leaves of gold, which pierced the air about his head like a halo of fire, giving him the look of some exotic prehistoric demon. His green dragon scaled raiment glittered in the sunlight, that poured into the golden hall through the windows of the vaulted ceilings, and set off his dazzling green eyes creating a somewhat frightening and awe-inspiring effect. It also created a sense of danger, that Aragorn had to remind himself, was more than mere theatrics. Elrond had told him of Mirkwood’s ruthless and cutthroat campaign during the last Alliance. It was that surprising lack of reverence for life, so contrary to elvish philosophy that was the cause of the distant feud between Elrond and Thranduil so long ago. Since that far away time the elves of Mirkwood were not frequently seen outside their dark realm. As a result, they were frequently viewed as secretive and unpredictable. The Silvan elves, it was said, were mysteriously volatile in comparison to their kin in Imladris and Lothlórien.

For these reasons, Aragorn had always sought to avoid entering Mirkwood. These notions in part contributed to the problems he and Legolas had encountered early on in their friendship. The young prince had dispelled any prejudices he may have had about the inhabitants of Mirkwood. Observing Thranduil’s rage at that moment, however, Aragorn realized, the Mirkwood king was eminently representative of everything he had ever heard about him. The ranger sensed that Thranduil’s tirade was a smoke screen, in fact, and that more was going on here than met the eye.

The man glanced at his lover but the prince had, in effect, shut himself off to everything but the moods of his father and did not respond to Aragorn’s silent inquiry. The blue eyes were locked wearily on the back and forth pacing of the king, not unlike the vigil of a woodland creature marking the movements of a potential predator. It was mystifying to the man that a pure being like his elf could be sired by someone like Thranduil. Yet, Legolas, in his own way had confirmed Aragorn’s suspicions that the descriptions of the mercurial elf king were in some way true. Not that the archer had ever spoken a single ill word of the elf monarch. He merely did not speak of him at all. His silences were telling, as were the looks of anxiety or sadness, which would often seem to haunt the beautiful sapphire eyes if discussion turned even remotely towards his father or of family in general.

Aragorn turned his gaze again from Thranduil’s pacing to the still form of the prince. Never had his lover looked more exotically beautiful, arraigned, as he was in the traditional vestments of Mirkwood royalty. The young elf’s anxiety, however, was a silent thing that seemed to vibrate off his marble stillness. His beautiful features were schooled to reveal nothing of his inner thoughts. Aragorn’s heart constricted at the sight, wondering what his lover’s life, as a youngling, must have been like to require learning such an important survival skill. Aragorn felt his anger at Thranduil go up another notch.

“Let the mad king rage,’ thought Aragorn with a certain savageness. ‘ Legolas is mine,’

Thinking back to the night of his ‘proposal’ the man allowed himself a small feral smile. He had claimed the young prince and if need be Aragorn would make sure his elf would never again be subjected to another cruel word from this bastard of a king.

-Flashback-

“Will you marry me?”

Legolas dropped down to his knees in front of the king of men and took Aragorn’s hands in his own, his heart breaking. “I can not, Mellon Nin.”

The man’s hands tightened on those of the archer. They were deceptively delicate hands, Aragorn knew, but he felt he was crushing them now in his large rough grip. “Why?” he demanded, pulling the slighter being closer to him so that their chests were pressed together. He could feel the fluttering of the beautiful elf’s heart against his own madly beating human one. Who ever thought only elves could die of a broken heart? Aragorn knew if he did not make this creature his he would not live to see another dawn.

Legolas’ blue orbs now swam with unshed tears and Aragorn could read the torment in the angelic face. This alone almost broke him. Searching the fathomless cerulean depths, it was as if the gorgeous creature’s soul was laid bare before him, and his ranger’s eyes told him all he needed to know. Aragorn knew his elf. For all his softness, the being that now regarded him so sadly, had a regal bearing. This was, first and foremost, a prince. He would put the needs of a kingdom before those of personal desire.

Steadfastly loyal to the end, Legolas would put Aragorn’s needs, as he judged them, before his own. Aragorn cursed silently. In this case the elf’s selflessness would lead them to ruin. The elven prince’s sense of duty to the King of Gondor would misguide him into denying them the love that they both desperately needed. ‘All for Gondor. And for her mortal King’ Aragorn mused in realization, a sudden gleam in his eye.

The man released the porcelain hands and gripped the elf roughly by the shoulders, dragging him forward so that their lips barely touched. “Gondor claims you for herself, Prince of Mirkwood. Submit.” The elf gasped at the sudden change in the man, his blue eyes widening in surprise, a spark of defiance flashing in their swirling depths. Aragorn’s heart hammered wildly in response to those flashing eyes, which now sizzled with indignation. The man’s breath caught at the sight of the proud tilt of the chin. The silver hair lifted on the breeze and the flawless skin glowed with an inner light. The aura of the being before him crackled in the air around them, and Aragorn breathed in the vision of his elf, so stunning in his grace that the stars themselves would weep to possess it.

He pressed forward, purring, “Submit, my Prince. You will be revered as the elf that brought the White City back from the ruins with your love for her King. Our rule will unite the kingdoms of elves and men, ushering in a new era.”

The electrifying eyes snapped in challenge and Aragorn’s blood pumped with a predatory heat. “You ask me to submit?” asked the prince, in an imperial tone that would make Thranduil proud.

“Gondor will not suffer a refusal,” returned the king of men, squaring his shoulders.

“Mirkwood does not willingly submit to any one.” The pointed chin tilted in defiance.

“Mirkwood will submit to me!”

Before the elf knew what was happening the king of men lunged at the archer, knocking him to the stone floor. But the man’s attempts to pin his prey were thwarted as the elven warrior slipped deftly out of his grasp to round on the king with a snarl. Silver hair and electric eyes blasted the darkness with their preternatural light. Aragorn was slammed with surprising force into the wall of the rampart, his breath exploding out of him by the impact. He looked at the elf in amazement, gulping in lung fulls of air.

The image of the magnificent archer recalled to mind a snatch of a poem Aragorn had learned in his youth, ‘His Flashing Eyes, His Floating Hair, Beware! Beware! ….Weave a Circle Round Him Thrice; For He on Honey Dew hath Fed and Drunk the Milk of Paradise!’ The elf could have easily been the inspiration for those lovely verses. He certainly would have inspired fear in a lesser man, but Aragorn was Gondor’s King. And if the only way to claim this prize for the White City, was to conquer the proud prince, than Aragorn would do just that. This prince would be his. He pierced his prey with a glittering eye and struck at the elf in a blinding move, which recalled the days of his youth in Imladris, where he learned to best his elven brothers at their own games.

The maneuver took them to the edge of the ramparts where the elf was now pinned against the railing. The wood banister separated him from thin air and a sheer perilous drop to the courtyard far below. The man growled triumphantly in his ear and spun the elf so that he faced the dark mountainous landscape of Gondor. He was bent over the railing at the waist, a strong arm pinning him securely between the wood banister and the warm body behind him. The wood creaked under their combined weight. The distance to the ground below was dizzying. The man’s breath was in his ear, the lips just barely brushing the sensitive tip. “You see my little Prince? Look out at she who would claim you…Gondor.”

The elf’s struggles were easily subdued as his body responded to the possession by the strong warm arms that held him. The man’s lips were now on the back of his neck, leaving a hot trail across his flesh. The silver mane of his hair was flung over one pale shoulder, which peaked out from the torn tunic. The man reached around and with deft fingers easily pulled off the tattered remains of the green cloth, exposing his smooth pale torso to the chill night air. The elf moaned uncontrollably at this treatment. His flesh was quivering to be taken by this most worthy of men. He wanted the king of Gondor to claim him body and soul according to the ancient code. His love for Aragorn made him want to give in willingly as he had before, but this was different. He was a Prince of Elves and if this King wanted him, he would have to take him, and Legolas was not going to make it easy.

The man’s hand skimmed down the sculpted curves of his chest, pausing to pinch at the hardening nipples, before moving further down to close firmly around the prince’s erection within his leggings. The prince bucked at this treatment and as he was spun around to face the king, he managed to loose one hand and land a loud resounding slap across the man’s cheek. The gray eyes flashed steel and returned the slap in kind, rocking the elf’s head back at the impact, silver strands flying like streaks of flame in the darkness. The king took advantage of the elf’s disorientation to quickly pull down the prince’s leggings to his knees and spun him around again, before the elf could catch his breath, and bent him over the rough wooden railing.

The man paused, clamping one large hand around two slender wrists at the small of the elf’s back, pulling the arms up behind him, trying as best he might to be careful of the broken wrist. He secured the elf to the railing with his other hand laid flat between the two sharp wings of the shoulder blades. The elf hissed a smattering of elvish curses, which earned him a stinging slap to his bared bottom. The prince yelped in indignation and resumed his struggles, but it was futile. He was completely mastered. The rough calloused hand of the king now traveled almost lazily down the curves of his muscled back, tracing the dips and swells as those muscles continued to ripple in token resistance. The glow of the moonlight reflected off the perfect alabaster flesh. Aragorn sucked his breath in at the sight of such beauty.

“You can not escape, my fair Prince. You are loved too much,” came the whispered tones, tender and soothing into the elf’s ear. “Look out at Gondor.” The soft voice commanded. Legolas raised his head and looked out at the landscape, dotted with the lights of torches and small fires where people huddled in tents or in the ruins of their devastated homes.

The hand of the King traveled gently down to the smooth skin of his buttocks. Fondling and caressing the marble perfection, Aragorn whispered close to his ear, “What do your elf eyes see, when you look at Gondor?” The man’s hand continued its roaming, bringing goose bumps of desire over the white skin.

Legolas tried to steady his rapid breathing as he looked out over the ruined landscape and his heart constricted at the vision of senseless destruction. A woman carried a pail of water on her head, the hand of a small child that walked at her side, clutched in her fingers to a little camp fire amongst the rubble of their destroyed home. Elsewhere an old man poked through the rubble of a building with his walking stick. He bent and pick up something small and shiny, a piece of jewelry, and looked at the beloved object for one unbelieving moment, before clutching it in his thin veined hand. The old man brought his hand, holding the object to his heart, head bowed. Legolas’s breath caught in his throat as he said, “I see grief, I see despair…”

The man’s hand continued lower, fondling his sacs and reached for the erection, which, despite the fell vision beheld by the elf’s eyes, could not block out the sensations of being so exposed to the night air and of the questing hand that sought to conquer him. Legolas gasped as the hand of the man closed around his flesh, milking him expertly with firm grasping fingers. “What else do you see?” asked Aragorn.

Legolas’s eyes roamed the countryside seeing people sharing a meal around a fire. Children ran around squealing in delight as a man dressed in the armor of the king’s guard playfully chased them. The children laughed and cried “get the orc, get the orc” and jumped on the man’s back bringing him down amidst peels of laughter.

A sob escaped the elf’s lips, his heart blossoming at the sight, recalling a time when their fallen comrade Boramir played a similar game with the hobbits. Tears spilled from the blue orbs and the elf said, “I see courage, and I see hope.”

The man’s questing fingers now separated his nether cheeks and he felt a cool slick digit enter him gingerly. The elf caught his breath at the delicious sensation. The man’s voice shook as he spoke, “There is much courage in Gondor. There is much beauty, still.” The elf’s breathing was coming in short rasps as the finger found the mound within him and brushed past it. Legolas cried out, moaning and squirming around the intrusion, his head dropping and the curtain of hair falling to cover his damp face. The finger was relentless in its exploration and the elf arched his back thrusting backwards against the finger, trying to take more of it into him. He needed more. The king leaned against him, his own breath coming hard against the elf’s damp neck. The man’s lips nipped at the sensitive point of his ear, his tongue dipping into the delicate whorl, and a second finger entered the elf’s narrow channel joining the first. Legolas thrashed his head, hair fanning down over his face, a keening noise coming from deep within him, unable to stop the rampant desire which over took him. Then the man’s fingers were gone and his wrists were released. The elf clutched the railing for support with his two numb hands. He spread his legs unconsciously, preparing himself. Two hot hands took firm hold of the elf’s hips and the tip of the man’s cock pressed against his opening. Legolas waited, holding his breath. When nothing happened he rose up slightly, feeling dizzy from the blood that had been rushing into his head all this time, and twisted to look at the man behind him. Aragorn had tears rolling down his cheeks. The elf’s throat constricted at the sight of him. Their eyes locked and a sob escaped the elf’s lips as he whispered, “Mirkwood submits.”

Without braking their locked gaze the King of Gondor entered the Prince’s quivering flesh in one quick thrust. Legolas cried out in a mixture of pain and ecstasy to be finally filled. The man pulled out slowly and filled him again. The human’s heavy cock dragged against the sweet mound of the archer’s most sensitive spot bringing him almost immediately to the point of climax. The man’s fingers deftly squeezed the base of the elf’s shaft delaying his gratification. “Wait for me, beloved,” came the command.

The elf moaned loudly, “Then be quick about it!” he snapped back.

The man’s chuckle was infuriating. “Yes, my Prince. But first,” the thrusts stilled and Legolas screamed in frustration, twisting to glare at this smug King of Men, but he was trembling from desire too much to come off as anything other than pleading.

“Aragorn, please!” he begged brokenly.

“First,” continued the man, “tell me, beloved, that you will marry me.”

“YES!” came the immediate response. Then shamelessly the prince wiggled his rear enticing the man into movement again. The king was all too happy to comply. But before he could move an inch a voice from the stair case below the ramparts barked up at them, “Hold, who goes there?!”

It was one of the king’s guards. Legolas made a desolate noise something between a moan and a shriek. Aragorn froze, his fingers clutching at the marble skin of the hips beneath him. He took a moment to recover and before the footsteps of the guard brought him too close he yelled out, “Salin, is that you?” hoping he got the man’s name right. “Aye! Who is it up there?”

Taking a deep steadying breath, he responded in his most authoritarian voice “It is your King, Salin. Now go back down and guard the entrance to the stair well and let no one come up.”

“My Liege?” the man asked, obviously confused.

“Did I not make myself plain, Soldier? Your King wants privacy! Now, upon pain of death, …or whatever, let no man climb up these steps.”

“Yes, My Liege!” snapped the man’s frightened response. The sounds of the man’s running feet echoed in the stairwell as he descended them two at time.

Aragorn released the breath he was holding and Legolas let out a strangled laugh. The elf sounded a bit hysterical when he spoke again, “That was very Kingly, Aragorn, now please finish me before I fly apart!”

The man took firm hold of his mount’s flanks and began pumping in earnest, this time driving them both rapidly over the edge in mutual sparks of climax. Aragorn’s seed exploded inside the tight convulsing channel of the elf in long shuddering jerks. He clutched the body of the archer to him, away from the railing as the Prince’ seed rained down over the parapet, christening the burned ground below. They both collapsed to the cold stone floor and Aragorn pulled the bruised body of the elf into his cradling arms.

They held each other for a long time, in the damp air, faces flushed and chests heaving. Finally the prince raised his beautiful blue eyes to look into the exhausted face of his king. The man looked at him in loving adoration. The elf beamed tiredly and said in his soft dulcet tones, “Mirkwood is conquered.”

Aragorn hugged him close and placed a tender kiss upon the elf’s lips. “I fear it is I, my love, who is conquered by your grace and your beauty. And I would have it no other way. From this day forward, my Prince, count me as your humble servant.” So saying the king rose up on his knees and bowed his head, bringing the elf’s hands to his lips to place tender kisses on the captive fingers.

-End Flashback-

Aragorn, reached out and clasped the slender white hand of his betrothed, interlacing their fingers. He squeezed the hand reassuringly, and flashed him a confident smile as Thranduil continued to boom oaths at the couple for their rashness.

Aragorn then daringly raised his voice to match the Elf King. “Your Majesty, I cannot pretend to understand all your reasons for opposing this alliance between our two great realms. But I must believe that you love your son and want his happiness. I vow to you, I will do all in my power to keep him happy all the days of his life.”

“And how long do you, King Elessar, imagine that life will be if my child is bound to a mortal? Even to one of the Dunadain.”

Aragorn swallowed reflexively at this. This was a valid issue, which he and Legolas had already discussed. But before he could say another word, Thranduil continued with a hand held up to forestall further conversation. The Elven King took a long breath and leveled a stern gaze upon the couple.

“Although I can see that my son loves you, Elessar, the simple fact of the matter is Legolas is already betrothed to another.

Chapter 4

“WHAT?!” two voices cried out in unison.

Thranduil turned his hard green gaze on his son and regarded him with what might have passed as sadness but for the disapproving line between two elegantly arched brows. Aragorn guessed that sadness or regret were emotions the proud features of this King were unused to. If such soft a sentiment had been there at all it flickered rapidly and was gone.

“My son, I have told you this before. During the feast of the Dead Moon of the Fifth Age,’ the King reminded him. “ I told you of the importance of formalizing our alliance with the house of Xanthi through your marriage to the heir of that realm.”

Legolas stared at his father, face ashen. He could feel Aragorn’s eyes boring into him. The man’s silence only hinted at the enormous shock he must be feeling from hearing something so completely unexpected.

“Legolas?” The Elf could feel the human’s incredulous eyes turned to him.

But the elf, still frozen in his own state of shock stared at his father with a growing dread. Then as if coming out of a dream the young elf pinned the King of Mirkwood with a fiery blue gaze and said in a low voice, “That feast…..The feast of the Dead Moon? ..That was…But that was more than 1000 years ago! I was only an elfling, and it was right when nana….”

His voice broke and he stopped speaking, but the fire in the azure depths flared. Aragorn could see a fine tremor seize the form of the archer and the man held his breath, fearing the slightest movement would trigger his elf to violence. Perhaps the Mirkwood King sensed it too, for he now stood as if carved in marble, green eyes locked with their cobalt blue counterparts in a contest of wills.

“Nana,” the stricken voice continued, softly, laced with pain, “Nana had just died….and that was what you came to me to speak of… a marriage with someone I didn’t even know…” Legolas shook his head in a gesture of disbelief. The young elf raised his burning, shimmering eyes to his father and Aragorn thought he had never before, nor ever would again, see a look so forlorn and mournful than what he saw in the face of his lover at that moment.

A soft sob escaped the young elf’s lips before he caught himself, but his accusing stare remained on the King. “How could you?” he asked, voicing at last what he would not have even dared to speak of in private. “How could you do that to me?”

“Mirkwood needed the arrangement. I thought it best to tell you immediately, to prepare yourself.”

“I was only an elfling…How could you expect me to prepare myself for something I did not understand?” the prince’s voice was as cold glass, the weight of each word placing another fine crack in the surface.

“You were my heir,” said the haughty king with emphasis. “I *expected* you to do what is required of a Prince of Mirkwood.”

The prince’s trembling increased, as more cracks in his self control threatened an out and out explosion.

“I was your son. I needed a father when she died, not a king,” the tears that the elf refused to release scalded his throat and his face burned with the crimson fire of a thousand summers of loneliness and heartache.

Aragorn thought his heart would break in half at the painful sight. He burned with a desire to wrap his love up in a cocoon of safety and take him from this horrid place. In all their years together Aragorn never heard Legolas speak of his mother’s death. Clearly it was not a topic his lover was prepared to discuss, even a thousand years later. Now Aragorn began to get an inkling of what it had cost the Elf to endure that grief in silence. The coldness of the Elf King was a chilling revelation. Even now it was eerie to behold the supreme detachment with which Thranduil favored his only child. The King was as immovable as the snowy peaks of Caradhras.

Aragorn had had enough. He moved with purpose to stand by his love’s side and with a protective arm now placed securely around the stiff shoulders, he looked at his elf confidently, a silent reminder of where and with whom he belonged. Thankfully, he felt a minute relaxing of the muscles under his touch as Legolas gratefully leaned into him.

Aragorn turned his steel eyes onto the King of Mirkwood, summoning every inch of regal stature within his mortal frame. The King of Gondor faced Thranduil of Mirkwood as an equal and the Elf King paused. The two monarchs silently took stock of one another, and then the man spoke in a quiet measured tone.

“Legolas is joined to me, your Majesty. In our hearts we are already bonded. Any who would contest it will face the might of Gondor, and her allies.” The man tilted his chin in challenge, his voice low and steady. Legolas turned wide eyes to look at the man in wonder.

The green eyes of the King, widened fractionally, before narrowing in a snarl. “Are you threatening me, Man?” He asked in disbelief, the last word spoken as if it were an insult.

“I do not threaten, King Thranduil. I had hoped that you would give us your blessing. But you tell me something I had not expected to hear. If you are suggesting that after one thousand years there is an elf out there who is expecting to bind themselves to Legolas, then I mean to let them know that the Prince of Mirkwood is already taken.”

“Without asking the permission of his King and father?” The voice of the older Elf boomed, and the green eyes were dilated so the irises were almost completely engulfed in black.

Thranduil seethed with a rage that made everything that had preceded this moment pale in comparison. Legolas must have sensed something for he stirred in Aragorn’s embrace with a sudden alertness.

Before the man was aware of what had happened, the Mirkwood King had drawn a slender gold blade in a swirl of movement too fast for human eyes to follow and had it pointed at Aragorn’s throat. Indeed it would have pierced the man’s throat, undoubtedly killing him, had not the equally fast Elf Prince moved to interpose his body between the man and his would be executioner. The three bodies stood frozen in a living sculpture of violence. The barely restrained movement of the dagger was now almost piercing the alabaster skin of the prince with its finely lethal point.

Aragorn could see the fine tremor in the hand that held the dagger against the archer’s throat. The cool calculating look of intelligence was gone from the green eyes, and Aragorn trembled. It was replaced with a look of rage, and horror. Aragorn did not dare to breathe until the suspended moment passed with the loud clanking sound of the dagger hitting the stone floor.

The young Elf was pulled into a large hug, all but disappearing into the arms of the King of Mirkwood. Elves did not cry but there was a suspicious glimmer in the green eyes of the King as he held his son’s head to his chest.

“My child,” his voice was a whisper as he spoke into the golden hair of his son, “what would you? Do you love this mortal so that you would take a blade for him?”

The golden head of the Prince looked up from the warm nest of his father’s embrace, he looked into the earnest green eyes, unveiled for once to show his love for his offspring. “I would die for him, Ada.”

The great King sighed heavily, pulling the young elf back against his chest, absently stroking the gold hair. “My Greenleaf, you above all deserve happiness. How I wish things could be different. But I fear nothing good will come of this. Have I not done my best to dissuade you from this path?”

“Apparently, Thranduil, you have not done enough.”

The voice was icy and sent a shiver down Aragorn’s spine. A dark figure emerged from the shadows as if he himself was made of them. Black shiny hair hung straight to frame a pale face with sharp aquiline features that was strangely handsome in its austerity. The figure moved noiselessly with a supple grace and strength in the long limbs encased in black, reminiscent of a panther.

Aragorn jerked, startled at the sudden appearance of this dark and lethal looking stranger but the surprised gasp that echoed in the silence came from Mirkwood’s own King. What Aragorn saw in the face of the Elf monarch filled him with more dread than the fact that Thranduil had just tried to kill him. The King’s fiery green eyes were wide with fear.

Ch. 5

Both Thranduil and Aragorn moved in unison, standing side by side, to draw blades against the unannounced intruder. The dark figure regarded the two monarchs with a look of wry amusement. He did not approach them but standing tall and in an attitude of supreme confidence, he smirked at the Elf King.

“Thranduil, do not tell me you do not recognize me. It has only been a single millennium since we last …conversed.” The dark being addressed the Mirkwood King in a menacing tone but his obsidian eyes flitted over the King’s shoulder to the Prince barely hidden from view behind Thranduil’s back. A knot formed in the pit of Aragorn’s stomach as he noted the dark man’s interest in the younger Elf.

“Yes,” said the Elf King, without lowering his blade. Aragorn noted that Thranduil squared his shoulders in a movement that would block his son from this stranger’s roaming eyes. “One millennium has past and this is how you enter my realm, by sneaking in the shadows and eavesdropping on me in my own hall?” The Thranduil’s eyes blazed with a dangerous fire. When they caught Aragorn’s for the briefest of moments the man read a clear warning to stay on guard around this new menace.

“I thought it best,” came the silky response, “given the turn of events.” The dark head inclined fractionally towards Aragorn. “You have disappointed me Thranduil. I thought you exercised better control over your kingdom and your son.”

Thranduil’s jaw clenched but it was Legolas who strode around the bulk of his father, before either mortal or Elf King could stop him, and faced the dark stranger with the imperious air of Mirkwood royalty.

“Who are you and what business is it of yours how we conduct our personal affairs?” the young Prince demanded.

The menacing aura of the stranger slipped away as soon as the young elf addressed him to be replaced with something darkly seductive, something which was not to Aragorn’s liking in the least. The sharply handsome features of the intruder seemed to light up with an actual smile as Legolas addressed him.

“Ah,” said the dark man appreciatively. “Of your beauty I knew, but such spirit as well…”

The stranger bowed low from the waist in front of the Prince of Mirkwood with a flourish. His lean body was well muscled and the tight fitting black tunic and charcoal leggings highlighted his deceptively youthful beauty. The raven hair seemed to catch the light in an odd rainbow hue. It fell forward silkily as he lowered his head in a show of respect.

Legolas stood nonplussed at this surprising approach but recovered himself as the stranger rose from his bow to face him. “My fair Prince.” He said with a sigh. “I do beg your forgiveness that we should have to meet under such unpleasantness. Long have I dreamed of this moment.” Aragorn clenched his teeth as this silky interloper continued. ‘And indeed, I must say your grace and beauty exceed all my expectations. But then again, I was present at your birth and never a more beautiful babe had ever graced Arda with his coming. Indeed the stars themselves hid their faces in shame to behold your light.”

Legolas stared at this creature of midnight colors and the tongue of a mage, for his words and his manner were bewitching. “You were present at my birth? I do not understand. Who are you?”

Before the dark haired beauty could respond to the Prince’s polite inquiry, the King of Gondor stepped forward decisively to interpose himself in the conversation, which was becoming a tad too genial for the man’s tastes. Aragorn placed a possessive arm around the shoulders of his Elf and leveled a steely gaze on the intruder. “Who he is, is of little importance. Let us speak to the heart of the matter. Legolas is bonded to me. Since you have obviously been eavesdropping on our conversation then you already know this. Therefore state your business clearly because my betrothed and I plan to return to Gondor post haste.”

The black eyes turned to the man and an undeniable aura of power raised the hackles on the back of Aragorn’s neck. He’d be loath to admit it, of course, but there was something slithering, something frightening about this unusual person. Aragon mentally prepared himself for battle although he was not quite sure what he was up against. This being had the look of a mage about him. His pale skin had an almost bluish translucent quality. The eyes were so black they seemed to be without pupils. Even the clothing of the stranger rippled in a sheen of color that made it look alive. Before words or aught else could be exchanged, between the two, however, Thranduil intervened.

“His name is Darrow Xu. He is the heir to the throne of Xanthi.” Aragorn could have guessed as much. Mirkwood’s King moved forward to stand at Aragorn’s shoulder; sword now lowered, and spoke as if he was greeting a visiting dignitary.

Legolas shifted uncomfortably under the scrutinizing gaze of the mysterious stranger, and asked softly “Xanthi? But I have not heard of such a realm in Middle Earth.”

Before Thranduil could hasten a reply the smooth tones of the dark man rippled languidly on the air. “Xanthi, my fair Prince is a realm known only to those elves who have dared to make the crossing. Your father is one of the few, so I am surprised that he has not told you of his experiences with us. We are not known among the lesser species of Middle Earth.” He made an obvious gesture to Aragorn. The man stood tall and made as if to raise Anduril in challenge, unwilling to let the arrogant bastard get away with that insult.

Thranduil stepped forward, and raised a hand to forestall the ill advised action. “Darrow Xu, you have observed what transpired here. Legolas loves Aragorn, King of Gondor.” Aragorn tried to hide his shocked look as Thranduil seemed to be coming to his defense. Instead, he watched the odd reptilian like glint of light that passed over the handsome features as the stranger took note of Thranduil’s apparent position on the issue. The dark being’s eyes were cold when they passed over the man and Aragorn fought down a shiver. He met the obsidian eyes confidently.

The dark eyes moved to take in the form of the Prince, protectively ensconced within the arm of Gondor’s King. A change of tactics seemed to be the stranger’s response to this unsatisfactory declaration.

The dark man glided forward to take the Prince’s hand in his own and bowed gallantly again at the waist. Legolas stiffened within Aragorn’s arm but did not protest when the dark head lowered to place cold lips against the Prince’s hand, quickly, for a chaste kiss before releasing it and taking a deferential step back.

“Young Prince,” he said silkily. “I cannot deny that this news grieves my heart. But I must accept that which I cannot change. In days of old I would have been inclined to attack the Green Wood and fight for a beauty such as yours. But the lands have known much heartache of late, and despite the breaking of a valid contract,” the black gaze touched on Thranduil, “ I must be the gracious party and wish you and your intended the best of fortune.”

Legolas bowed his head regally, in cautious acknowledgement of this stranger’s graceful response. After all, if what he had heard was true, Legolas was responsible for the breaking of a treaty that had existed between Mirkwood and Xanthi for the better part of the last thousand years.

Aragorn exchanged a suspicious glance with Thranduil. The Elf King looked to be no more convinced by this sudden acquiescence than he did.

Ignoring the passing looks between the two monarchs, the dark figure approached the Prince again, this time offering him a small gold box, which mysteriously appeared in his hand. Legolas hesitated but the ebony haired being favored him with a hopeful smile. Unwilling to add greater offense to the already uncomfortable situation, the Prince gracefully moved to accept the proffered gift, ignoring Aragorn’s not so subtle attempt to hold him back.

“I hoped this would be my gift to you to symbolize our joining, Beautiful Legolas. But as fate would have it otherwise, I hope you will accept it as a wedding gift to show I bare no ill will. For who could hold anger in their heart against the golden grace of the Prince of Mirkwood.” When the Elf did not extend his hand to the offering, the stranger added, more quietly, “ It was your mother’s. She would want you to have it.”

Legolas gasped and reached hesitantly for the gilded box. He glanced at Thranduil who now looked very ill at ease, and tentatively opened the hinged lid. He gasped at the gem held within. A brooch in the design of a green leaf, entwined with mithril filigree and embedded with silver and blue sapphires. It shimmered strikingly with an unusual rainbow light. Thranduil gasped at the jewel.

In response to his son’s silent inquiry, he nodded, apparently devoid of speech for a long moment. Aragorn did not like the way his betrothed now favored the dark stranger with a mixed look of wonder and gratitude. The dark man bowed his head again and favored Mirkwood’s Prince with a sad smile.

“Despite the manner of my arrival, I have traveled a long distance and am weary. Might I impose upon your Majesty for a respite within the hospitable walls of your Palace.”

Thranduil stiffened fractionally but nodded. Unfortunately, the ranger could not contain himself any longer, as his eyes took in Legolas’s rapt perusal of the jeweled brooch, which had belonged to his mother.

“So…you mean to tell us you have no hard feelings that your betrothed of the last millennium is going to wed a mere human?” The challenge in the man’s tone was unmistakable and Legolas shifted at his side. Aragorn did not like subterfuge and was more than willing to bait this faker out into the open.

“Aragorn..” Legolas began, uncomfortably.

“One moment, Legolas.” The ranger interrupted him sharply. “I want to hear it from this person’s lips that he in fact is willingly stepping down.”

The dark eyes settled contemptuously on Aragorn and the ranger swallowed reflexively at the hatred that revealed itself to him and was concealed again within the fraction of the second that their gazes met. Before the dark being could address the man, Thranduil rapidly stepped forward and gestured to Legolas.

“He said as much Elessar.” Mirkwood’s King said with apparent impatience. Thranduil placed a hand on his son’s shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze, “ My son, will escort you, Darrow Xu, to the guest chambers. King Elessar and I have much to discuss.” With an almost imperceptible whistle, the King summoned two elven guards to walk with their Prince and the mysterious guest. The King’s dark eyes sent a warning to his son before taking Aragorn quickly in hand. The Elf King clasped an iron grip onto the human’s shoulder and guided him toward the nearest arched door way. The man attempted to protest but the grip threatened to crush the bones of his shoulder, forcing him to remain quiet.

Once safely outside, Thranduil hissed in rage, “What do you think you are doing, human? Even you must have some idea by now that that is no mere elf in there. If he chooses to kill you I doubt there would be anything I could do to prevent it.”

Aragorn stared at the blazing expression in the King’s eyes. He allowed himself an infuriating little smirk. “I thought you would want to help him kill me.”

“Human, do not tempt me. If I wanted you dead, I assure you, that is precisely how you would be. My son could not have saved you. I only wanted to see if Legolas did in fact love you as he professed he did.”

”It was a test?!” Aragorn sputtered in disbelief. “That whole thing back there, when you attacked me…it was all to test Legolas?”

“Do not favor me with one of your judgmental looks, Elessar. I had to know if my son truly loved you.”

“You couldn’t just take his word for it?” Aragorn could not resist asking, still angry that this King would choose to put his son through that torment.

“Listen to me, human,” the King responded with diminishing patience. “We have a bigger problem than how I parent *my* son and whether it suites your human sensibilities.”

Aragorn squared his shoulders and looked into the Mirkwood King’s eyes expectantly. Thranduil escorted Aragorn to the privacy of his chambers before he continued. “As I have said, and as you must realize, Darrow is not an elf. He is a creature of dark powers not unlike those of a mage. What he said was true. He was present at Legolas’s birth because his mother is …was his kin.”

Aragorn gasped at this stunning revelation suddenly going cold as the implications began to wash over him. “Go on,” the man said, feeling a fluttering in the pit of his stomach that told him he was not going to like this.

**

Legolas walked with the mysterious stranger by his side in silence. The elven guards several paces behind them as was the custom. Darrow seemed to be comfortable with this arrangement. He walked at the Prince’s shoulder contentedly, humming a soft tune under his breath. He was surprised when the young Prince suddenly stopped walking and turned wide eyes to the stranger.

“That song!…How do you know it?”

Darrow stopped also and looked at the Prince with an inquiring expression. “I am sorry, Prince Legolas. What did you ask me?”

“That tune …you were humming a tune that my Nana sang to me. She said she made it up…I’ve never heard anyone else sing it.”

The dark man blinked and reached out tentatively to touch the young elf’s shoulder. He seemed to be genuinely saddened by the look of grief that played over the Prince’s fair features.

“Forgive me, my Prince. I did not mean to stir sad memories.”

Legolas bowed his head in gratitude of the sentiment he saw in the man’s unusual features. “It is alright, Darrow,” he said tentatively. “But how do you know that song? I have not heard it for many centuries,” he added wistfully.

“It is simple, Prince. I told you I knew your mother. I heard her sing it to you. In fact it was a song she did create herself long before you were born. Seeing you now, grown into such a beautiful youth, I suppose it brought the tune to mind.”

Legolas stared at the handsome stranger in amazement. He knew he should be cautious around this dark person. Thranduil’s reaction to him was telling enough. The King of Mirkwood did not see this person as a friend. Undoubtedly the political affairs between their two realms were now hanging on the brink of disaster. And it was all his fault, Legolas realized with a sickening feeling. If Thranduil felt compelled to promise his only son’s hand to wed this person, a millennia ago, it must have been to ensure the continued safety of Mirkwood. Why would this being now relinquish his claim on Mirkwood’s heir? Aragorn had been right to ask the question, even though Legolas had been angry with him for doing so.

They had reached the door to the guest chambers and Legolas paused, glancing at the ground, feeling the turmoil of what his rejection of this man might mean for his kingdom. Darrow Xu gently touched a finger to the Elf’s chin and raised the Prince’s face to look at him.

“Young Prince, you look sad. Would you like to come in and sit with me a while? I am sure I have raised many questions in your mind. I would be happy to answer them for you.”

Legolas studied the austere features, and noting openness in the dark eyes, he found himself relaxing in Darrow’s presence. He smiled shyly and opened the door for the man to enter, gesturing to the guards to stay outside..

**

Mean while, in King Thranduil’s private chamber Aragorn sat, his face hidden behind his hand, as he leaned his head down to momentarily shut out the world which was rapidly changing around him.

Ch 6

The door closed behind them and Legolas stood uncomfortably by it as Darrow Xu walked around the sumptuous rooms before returning to gaze at the Prince. He smiled indulgently at the young Elf’s discomfiture.

“Won’t you come in, Prince?” The dark lord said in his silken tones, pretending at casualness. Legolas moved a few feet into the room and watched the strange man move to sit comfortably on the large bed that dominated the guest chambers. Darrow ignored the Elf as he set about taking off his black boots and removing his outer tunic. A black silk undershirt hugged his muscular frame as he lifted his arms to tie his shoulder length black hair into a ponytail at the back of his neck. Legolas ignored the odd sensation he felt watching this intimate display. He drifted further into the room, eyes pinned to the stranger as Darrow swung his long legs up onto the bed and propped himself up against the massive, ornately carved, wooden headboard with a sigh. A few tendrils of black shimmering strands had escaped the clasp of the ponytail. Legolas followed one of the errant locks with his indigo eyes as it curved to the corner of the sumptuous mouth. The dark eyes noted the Prince’s interest and raised a pale hand, experimentally, to move the dark curl behind one pointed ear, fingers lingering for a moment around the curve of the sensitive point. The changeable blue orbs followed the movement, as anticipated.

The generous mouth turned up in a knowing smile. The mage gestured amiably for the young Elf to come closer and watched with increasing amusement as the Prince cautiously moved to a chair close to the bed. The long mithril fringe parted around his muscular thighs like a waterfall as he sat delicately on the edge of a cushion, his movements accompanied by the soft sound of wind chimes. The Prince’s rich burgundy robe puddled at his feet. Regarding the golden Elf as if he were a rare exotic bird, that might just as swiftly take flight as grace him with the rarity of sharing such a moment, the dark one wasted no time.

He leaned forward, only slightly for emphasis, and he said, melodiously, “I know this has all been a shock to you, fair Prince. For some reason, your father saw fit to not discuss at any length the promise of betrothal with you, after it’s inception, on the eve of your mother’s death.” The shadowed face permitted Legolas to see the displeasure he felt about this. Legolas shifted uncomfortably, the light from the fireplace reflecting on the silver mane of his hair, kissing golden strands to life, as it cascaded down the burgundy field of velvet, which draped his pale shoulders. Darrow’s charcoal gaze followed the lines of light, wishing to run his fingers through the smooth curtain of silk. Legolas’s fidgeted under the dark man’s perusal, rustling the fringe and filling the still air with the song of tiny bells. The Prince’s lower lip, plumped into a charming pout, as he chewed on the corner of his mouth. Darrow laughed softly at the childlike gesture and noting the look of indignation that flitted across the Prince’s fair brow, he held up a hand to explain, “Your mother did that little thing with her lip, when she was nervous, or if she thought she was in trouble with the King.”

Legolas started at the mention of his mother. His eyes swam with unbidden tears for the umpteenth time this day. Chagrined with himself, he swallowed them and attempted an air of polite interest. Darrow noted the young one’s struggle and visibly softened in response.

“Why do you do that?” he asked the Elf, with sincerity.

“Do what?” Legolas asked stiffly. Hearing the defensiveness in the sound of his own voice, the Prince silently chastised himself and went for a more neutral stance.

“Hold your self back so much,” said the dark one.

Legolas did not have an answer for this rather personal question. In truth, his emotional reserves were beginning to wear thin. Centuries had passed him by with little more to do than wonder the forests, patrolling the borders of Mirkwood and communing with nature. He was proud to protect Mirkwood from the growing darkness but not much new ever happened beyond killing spiders and orcs; although he enjoyed talking with the trees. Life however took an interesting turn when he went to Rivendell, and joined the Fellowship. It was perhaps the most exhilarating time of his long life. And it had been nerve racking. He even found that, on occasion, he doubted himself though none of the others could have ever guessed such a thing. For he was flawless in all that he did. As a Prince, nothing less would do, especially in front of dwarves, and men. When the quest was over and the Fellowship ended he privately feared returning to a life that could no longer satisfy him. But he must have found favor in the eyes of the Valar. At first he had been delighted to stay with Aragorn in Gondor. Then the unimaginable happened and they became lovers.

Now, between his decision to bond with Aragorn; having to face the mercurial wrath of Thranduil; being confronted by the unexpected appearance of this dark menacing creature, who was at the moment looking at him with …well, tenderness; it was really more than one young Elf could bare in such a short span of time.

And as heir to the throne of the Green Wood, Legolas had to consider the safety of his kingdom before all other considerations. He vowed to do whatever he could to appease this dark prince, short of actually bonding to him. At least he prayed it would not come to that. And, by the Valar, if all this were not sufficient to produce a good cry even from an Elf of his station, this dark and dangerous person was the first being he had ever met who seemed to have known his mother.

Legolas felt his eyes sting with the turmoil of his repressed emotions, aware of the observant dark gaze upon his features. Silently cursing his lack of stamina and embarrassed to have been caught brooding, he stood to leave, with a mumbled apology, but the dark man was at his elbow instantly.

“Again, I ask for your forgiveness, Prince. I fear I have summoned painful memories.”

Legolas shook his head, mutely, and made to leave but found himself suddenly blocked by arms that closed about him in an embrace, presumably, meant to comfort. He hesitated, not wanting to give offense. While the golden Elf attempted to politely disentangling himself, the smooth voice crooned in Legolas’s ear, “You must not hold back your tears, young Prince. It is not healthy. She loved you a great deal, your mother.” A bluish pale hand stroked his hair tenderly, the voice was a smooth whisper lulling him to remain, “You were her entire world.”

Legolas felt ensnared be the words. Thranduil rarely spoke in this way about his Nana, evidently finding the memories too painful to share with his son. Discussion of the Queen became a taboo subject, and the young Elf learned early on to curb his curiosity about her. Now this strange, mysterious being was telling him he knew her. It pushed him emotionally over the line and a single hot tear finally escaped, to roll its way to freedom, down the slope of a perfectly sculpted cheek.

The stroking hand left his hair to brush at the tear, capturing it like a quivering dove, on the pad of one gray finger and held it up to the Prince’s eyes.

“You see, it is not so fearsome a thing.” The voice held a gentle smile, and Legolas watched the stranger bring the glistening teardrop to his pale lips to kiss it away, the tip of a pale tongue peaking out to swipe at the moisture. Legolas felt his face flush red at the intimacy of the gesture as well as the unbidden stirring in his own body. He could not quite fathom what was occurring here. Was he feeling attraction for this dark and dangerous stranger? This couldn’t be happening, thought Legolas disjointedly. The stranger’s embrace was gentle and comforting. He could feel the cool breath on his face as Darrow stroked his back and crooned words of comfort. Legolas felt himself pulled gently to the bed where he sat gingerly on the edge, tears still threatening to spill down his cheeks, perhaps in anticipation of following their comrade’s traitorous path to the dark man’s lips. Legolas shuddered at the disloyal thought, aghast at his own weakness. He looked closely at Darrow, wondering if this sorcerer had in fact put him under a spell. Darrow sat next to him, with an arm around his shoulders.

“Would you like me to tell you of her?” he asked softly. The question disarmed him completely, as intended.

Legolas looked at the sharp featured face, now softened into lines of caring. He nodded. Of course he wanted to hear about his mother. He wanted to learn everything about her, what she was like, who her people were… Legolas knew she was not a Sindar Elf. He had a few, albeit, sweet, memories of her. The King’s reticence however meant that Legolas had many unanswered questions about his Nana and her kin. Now he felt his stomach twist in anticipation, as it seemed he might actually have some of those questions finally answered.

“I would like that very much, Darrow.” He said softy, smiling through his tears, and trying not to sound too eager. He allowed himself to relax into the unfamiliar embrace, no longer feeling guilty about the feeling of the hard wiry frame pressed against him. He wondered at this, mildly, but dismissed that as well.

“Well, to begin with,” Darrow said with a smile, “she had your eyes. They were blue like cornflowers. Most of the time. Sometimes they were violet, when she was in a towering passion. She had a temper, you know. I think she was the only one in all Middle Earth who could put Thranduil in his place with one well placed look. And if she bestowed such a gift upon him, he fully deserved it.”

Legolas laughed and Darrow joined him. Legolas was surprised to discover it was a pleasant sound. He looked at the man next to him, who reined in his mirth enough to continue with his story telling.

“In court, Legolas, she would do this thing with her eye brows…” The dark man wiggled his eyebrows theatrically, eliciting more peals of laughter from the Elf, “ and the King would lose his train of thought! She had a sense of humor, you see. He would just stop in mid sentence and stare at his Queen, can you imagine Thranduil at a loss for words?” The two burst into laughter again at the image of the typically somber King, derailed into silence by his playful Queen.

Legolas wiped a tear from his eye but this time he knew it was one which sprang from joy rather than from grief. He looked at Darrow appraisingly.

“Thank you, Darrow. You have lightened my heart.” He admitted.

The mysterious mage stroked the Elf’s cheek with tenderness. “It pleases me to hear that, young Prince,” he said in a voice that was guileless. He looked at the Prince’s face and let his hand stray to the golden hair momentarily before drawing it away.

“You look like her, Legolas. She also was very beautiful. I think she would have been quite proud at how you have turned out.”

Legolas swallowed and looked down at his hands, clasped in his lap, wrapping and unwrapping a strand of mithril around his finger. He looked up after a time to find Darrow also looking down. He studied the sharp profile, the dark inscrutable eyes, the full generous mouth, the shimmering black hair that had escaped again to hang down in front of the sharp hawk-like eyes. Legolas reached out a tentative hand before realizing what he was doing and brushed the stray lock again behind the pointed ear. His hand lingered and the dark eyes turned up to study the golden prince with interest.

The dark being did not move and the Prince froze, hand still extended, still touching the black strands, the tip of the ear. Then the oddly tinged pale hand lifted to take hold of the Prince’s fingers. Darrow brought them to his lips as he had before and placing a chaste kiss upon the porcelain digits he rose, bringing the speechless Prince up to stand with him. With a courtly bow, he said, “My Prince, I would not confuse you into undoing your oath to your human, although I confess he’s a bit of a scoundrel and I don’t like his manner.”

Legolas found himself being gently escorted to the door. Darrow halted before opening the door for the Prince to leave. He brought his hands to the pale shoulders, fingers skimming the skin underneath the burgundy robe, and looked into the blue eyes for a long dreamy moment. Legolas found himself leaning forward as those obsidian eyes drew him into some nether world of seascapes and bird song. The dark mage leaned in to close the space between them and placed his lips on those of the Prince.

Legolas should have pushed him away instantly. He should have felt outrage on Aragorn’s behalf. He should have apologized for his own scandalizing behavior of a few moments ago. But he did none of these things. Instead, he opened his mouth to the questing tongue that tasted oddly of Legolas’s favorite astar and lilac flower pastries. His arms came around the dark man’s neck and noted the strangeness of the cold skin. The lean muscles that drew him close were almost serpentine in their fluidity. Before his numbed brain could scream its revolt he was released. The dark eyes swam with passion but the man’s voice was soothing, “I promise you, Legolas, we will speak again. There is much I have to tell you. Much you will want to hear. But now it is best that we part.”

Darrow opened the door and bowed gallantly to the Prince who drifted over the threshold, as if he was sleep-walking, eyes still bent on the dark features of the stranger who had entered his life.

The heavy door closed with a thud and Legolas stood staring at it for one numbed moment. Suddenly aware of the curious looks of the two guards stationed at the end of the hall, he quickly turned and hurried away, trying not to break into a run.

He could not rid himself of the feel of those lips against his, nor of the memory of the stranger’s tongue exploring his mouth. What had he done? How could he do this to Aragorn? A sick wave of dizziness swept over him. His heart felt like it would burst from his chest and he finally gave into the impulse to flee, breaking into a frantic run. His long legs carried him through a remote part of the palace, careening down passageways he had not visited for decades, and bursting through a curtained archway he flew into the inviting green woods beyond.

He sat in the branches of a favorite tree for what seemed like hours until a rustling near by alerted him that he was not alone. He started and looked down to see King Thranduil making his way carefully toward Legolas’s branch, some twenty feet in the air. Before the Prince could utter a word in surprise, the King was sitting before him.

“Why do you look at me like that, young one? Am I so old and decrepit that I cannot manage to climb a tree in my own kingdom?”

Legolas smiled, despite himself. “No Ada, I am simply surprised that you found me.”

“And why would I not find you, my son? This is the very tree you escaped to for centuries, as an elfling. Although I can well imagine you might have thought your father was so busy with ruling a kingdom that he would not notice the habits of one little Prince.”

Legolas never dreamed Thranduil took such careful notice of his movements. He swallowed at the burn of salty tears that threatened to defeat him again. Blast, was this becoming a habit? It was humiliating.

The King laid a strong hand on his son’s shoulder. “What troubles you, my son? I can see something weighs heavily on your heart.”

“There is much that weighs on my heart and more even that preys on my mind,” confessed the young Elf.

He chanced a look at Thranduil. He sensed they had reached a turning point in their relationship. Perhaps it was his performance with the Fellowship, or his firm decision to stand with Aragorn. What ever the cause, no longer was the King viewing him as an elfling to be protected from too much information. The relaxing of Thranduil’s protectiveness brought a renewed warmth to his affections towards his son. Legolas did not understand this but found himself welcoming it none the less.

The King waited patiently. Legolas feared to reveal that Darrow had kissed him and he had allowed it. He did not fear what Thranduil would say. He feared that speaking of it aloud would make it real and he would have to face his human lover. But this was nonsense, he chided himself. To keep it a secret was not an option. Aragorn would undoubtedly know the instant his man laid eyes on him. Thranduil observed the changing expressions on the lovely face of his offspring and sought to make things easier for him.

“So, my son, why are you hiding up here in a tree? Is Elessar afraid of heights?”

Legolas started. Was he so transparent? He stared at his father in amazement as if seeing Thranduil for the first time. The King of Mirkwood was surprising him endlessly this day. Thranduil laughed heartily at the stunned look. “Am I so different, Legolas, that you stare at me so?”

“Yes.” The young Elf said simply. “Or perhaps,” he ventured, “I have been unfair to you, Ada, all these years and did not really see you for the observant father that you are.”

Thranduil wrapped his large arms around his son, and drew him close against his chest. It was a good feeling, noted the King. One he had missed. He sighed at his own foolishness. The Valar were working hard it seemed to bring the gift of understanding to the great House of Thrandulion. He whispered a prayer of thanks.

“I fear it is I who have been unfair to you, my son.” The King said, intent on making his own admission.. “Under the guise of instructing you in the ways of royalty, I realize I have kept my heart closed from you.” Legolas looked up at him in sheer amazement. The elderly Elf regarded his son with a somber look, taking in the vulnerability in the wide blue orbs, feeling the last of the hardness about his heart dissolve. He stroked the blonde hair gently as he had done when his son was small enough to be cradled in one arm.

“I hope you can forgive me, my son. In my own way I was trying to protect you. Perhaps, I was also protecting myself…I feared losing you, as I lost your Nana. If I didn’t get too close to you…” the King’s voice hitched, “then it might not hurt so much if you did go away. I see now how mistaken I was…I can not bare to lose you, my Greenleaf.”

“Ada,” his son wrapped his arms around his father’s neck and rested his head on the strong shoulder, the way he used to. “Why would you think I would go away?” he asked softly, sensing there was more to this fear than what the King said.

Thranduil stiffened and Legolas pulled back reluctantly to look at his father. Thranduil sighed deeply. “I take it, my son, that you spoke at some length with our …visitor.”

Legolas shifted his gaze away from his father’s discerning eyes. Thranduil narrowed his eyes and tilted his head in a gesture of inquiry. “We…spoke, Ada. He told me a little about Nana.” He looked up furtively to assess what reaction his father might have to this information. But the older Elf merely nodded his understanding, apparently having expected this.

“And what did he tell you of your mother, my son?” the King prompted.

“Only a little, Ada. About some of her mannerisms….that I look like her…that she loved me.” The younger Elf’s voice faded on a wistful note.

“She did love you, my Greenleaf. More than anything. And you do look a great deal like her…” but Thranduil’s voice was not reassuring. He sounded worried. Legolas looked at him closely, feeling disquieted by the obvious anxiety in the tight lines around the King’s eyes and mouth.

Legolas placed a reassuring hand on the King’s shoulder, and trying to sound more confident than he actually felt, he said, “Tell me, Ada. I want to know everything. What is it that troubles you?”

Ch 7

When Legolas returned to the Prince’s chambers he found his lover seated on the floor in front of the huge ornate fireplace. He hesitated, uncertain of how to proceed and feeling more exhausted than he had ever felt during his days with the Fellowship. Even when he, Aragorn, and Gimli had tracked the Uruk-hai for several days and nights, on end, in pursuit of Merry and Pip, he had not known such overwhelming tiredness. Even in the Battle of Helms Deep, or in the Battle at Pelennor. He had been tired then. Once he had even despaired. But not like this.

Perhaps this was a tiredness of the Spirit, he mused. He and Thranduil had talked long into the night. Something he could not remember ever happening before. He had asked the King to tell him everything, sensing yet more secrets were about to be unveiled but he had been completely unprepared for the information finally given to him.

Thranduil was succinct and brisk as he related the facts. It was the same manner he used in court when tragic events needed to be addressed. It was this ability to stay focused, when others succumbed to grief or panic, which made Mirkwood’s King a strong leader. So it was that Thranduil spoke with his son. Unbeknownst to Legolas, the King recited a speech that he had been rehearsing for a millennium.

The Prince sat in silence for some time once the King had finished. Thranduil did not press him for speech. The King had rehearsed this too, all the possible reactions his son might have to the stunning news. So Thranduil waited. And when the Prince did ask questions he answered them as best he could. The young Elf remained stoic, as befitting a royal heir to the throne of Mirkwood, and did not give voice to the fear behind the blue orbs. Only a slight tremor of the full bottom lip betrayed the Prince’s inner turmoil. Thranduil was proud.

When the morning light heralded the approach of dawn, the King guided the oddly passive young Elf down from the tree and led him quietly to his chamber door. It was up to Elessar, now. How ironic, thought the King of Mirkwood, as he left his son, that he should now have to place all his hopes in a man! Estel. He was named after hope. Perhaps Elrond had named him well. Estel was Legolas’s last hope.

The Prince was left standing by the open door, after having been brought back to his rooms. Back to his waiting lover. To his betrothed.

The King of Gondor sat on the floor, in his trousers and a loose fitting shirt, bare feet extended towards the fire. He looked weary, dark smudges under his eyes, shoulders hunched as if an invisible weight had settled on them. He looked like a man who had been up all night, thinking and waiting and thinking. But the steel eyes were sharp and shone with an angry, possessive light. Legolas froze when they snapped upon him.

Everything after that happened within a fraction of a second. The gray eyes passed through his defenses and saw all the scared places within him.

He stood in the doorway, half way over the threshold, and he began to tremble.

He could not do it, his mind screamed. He could not walk into this room and face the man. He could not tell Aragorn about the kiss with Darrow Xu. He could not tell the ranger all that Thranduil had tried to explain about his ancestry, although he knew his father had told Aragorn the same things. He dared not admit how very afraid he was.

Most of all he did not want to walk into this room and hear Aragorn say that he was leaving him.

Aragorn had not yet announced to Gondor that he intended on taking Prince Legolas of Mirkwood as his consort. The Elf had wanted to fight their battles one at a time, so they traveled to Mirkwood to confront Thranduil with the news first. After having secured the Elf King’s blessing and establishing a formal alliance between their two realms, Aragorn would be in a stronger position to deal with the counsel members of Gondor.

But what now? Was King Elessar going to announce that his chosen consort was, not only a male Elf, but also part Xuan, a member of a remote magical race? A powerful and mysterious race, that preferred to stay secluded from the rest of Middle Earth but, nonetheless, may be on the brink of war with Mirkwood if the young Prince did not return peacefully to his mother’s people.

Yes, Legolas could well imagine how that council meeting would go. He could see the Gondorian’s eagerly agreeing to take their tattered city into another conflict, all for their King’s love of an Elf. Aragorn’s rule would be quite secure after that little bombshell. The Xuan realm was a power to rival Mordor had they been inclined toward conquest. But that was not the way of the elitist Xanthi-xuan race. They merely wanted Prince Legolas, the mistaken product of a love affair between a rebellious Xuan warrior and an Elf King. The Xuan were jealous of their mysteries and did not share their secrets with other races. The Xanthi-Elf child was expected to be returned to them before he reached his majority of 2000 and possibly reveal his true nature.

The Xuan were not as they appeared, Thranduil had said, cryptically. Legolas didn’t have the strength to ask what Thranduil meant by this statement, but his tone was disquieting. Worse yet, Thranduil seemed to fear that Darrow’s presence would trigger something in the Prince. Was he expected then to become so entranced with the dark strangers charms that he would go willingly? Did his Ada see him so weak willed…and perhaps he was, for why had he allowed Darrow to kiss him? Perhaps his hybrid ancestry made him particularly vulnerable to Darrow’s influence. The thought of not being in control of himself frightened him most of all. And if he refused the dark man’s persuasions, would they try to take him by force, despite Darrow’s earlier denial? Legolas’s mind reeled at the possibilities as the gray eyes of his lover pierced him.

No. Legolas was not going in there. The Prince knew his heart was not strong enough to face the obvious. He could not bring these problems to Gondor. Even Aragorn must have reached the same conclusion. But Legolas was not ready to hear the words. Not yet. So, instead of taking that next step over the threshold, he spun around, pride and courage forgotten, and made to run as he had earlier, mindlessly, with the only intent being to escape. But human hands were already on him, amazingly fast and clever human hands, dragging him back into the room before he quite knew what happened.

Legolas found himself on the floor. The man was standing over him, chest heaving. And that sharp steel gaze pinned him as surely as if he were physically bound. They stared at each other for a long moment and then without a word, the man extended his hand to the Elf. Legolas felt frozen to the ground and then, slowly, resigned to the hopelessness of it all, he reached up to grasp the warm fingers. He let himself be pulled to his feet, the man’s suntanned hand still firmly wrapped about his own. The steel gray eyes of the King held him, and what Legolas saw broke the last of his tattered strength. The man’s eyes held only worry and love for him. How could he be separated from such a man? The Elf felt his knees give and the man pulled him forward into a strong embrace.

“Sh sh sh sh..,” soothed Aragorn, stroking the rumpled mane of golden hair that cascaded down the Prince’s back. Aragorn rocked him gently as they stood together, pressing the golden head to his shoulder. The Elf buried his face into the familiar dark curls, realizing how much he had missed Aragorn’s strong presence. The last several hours seemed like an eternity, an eternity away from his beloved, an eternity in which his world had been turned upside down. He let the familiar embrace sooth him, though a part of his mind would not relax, knowing things still needed to be said. The man’s hands stroked his back as his trembling began to subside. Aragorn slid both hands down to Legolas’s waist, then gliding backwards on his feet, he scooped up a hand full of the long, silvery fringe that swayed and glistened from the hip belt all the way down to the Prince’s ankles. Aragorn stepped slowly backwards toward the bed, stretching the silvery strands to their full length as he went and gently tugged, pulling the Elf towards him with a reassuring smile.

“Aragorn, please, we need to speak…” Legolas begged softly, speech feeling very difficult at that moment. The Prince hesitatingly stepped forward, as one hand over the other, the ranger reeled him towards the bed behind him.

“Aragorn,” he tried again, “I know Ada spoke with you…and…and something happened, …something that I feel terrible about,” the Prince began again, not quite making eye contact but feeling if he did not confess now to this man, perhaps he never would. But tell, he must, or Aragorn would hate him even more when he eventually found out. Yet every particle of his being rebelled at the thought of a confession.

“Nay, Legolas,” the man beseeched, “ Do not speak it, my love. Not now.”

The steel eyes bore into him and the Elf could see the pain held within them. Aragorn knew, of course. Never in all their long years, as friends, brothers, and lovers had anything tainted Legolas’s loyalty to this man. How could the man fail to see it now, the stain of betrayal, which Legolas felt so prominently upon his soul.

No longer did he wonder at the tears that sprang to his Elf eyes, for they seemed to have become a permanent part of his existence. He let them skate silently down his crimson cheeks. The man embraced him, and he buried his face again in the warm neck, inhaling the familiar scent of leather and pipe weed, and rubbing his cheek against the familiar dark curls.

“I am sorry, Aragorn.” He choked the words out, sobbing openly, no longer even attempting to stem the flow.

“I know, my love. I know,” the Ranger said. And they both knew the apology was for more than the indiscretion of a kiss, it was for everything that was occurring outside the Prince’s control, but for which he felt responsible, nonetheless. The man’s arms held him close while the Elf sobbed. He could feel Aragorn’s hand stroking his hair. The man’s warmth was intoxicating. He let himself sink into it as he cried.

This is what he was now, came the distant thought: a weak, sobbing, disloyal mess. He could not even call himself an Elf. He did not know what he should call himself, for all of Thranduil’s explanations and reassurances, he doubted even his father knew what he was or more terrifyingly, what he might become. Apparently, Darrow Xu best knew that answer and Legolas never wanted to come within a league of that dark creature ever again. His mother’s kin!

He always felt as though something was missing from his life but he never thought he was anything other than Elfkind. To consider that he was something else was, well…disturbing. He didn’t know if he was strong enough to explore this mystery alone. He clutched onto the man, as if the Ranger was a lifeboat that would keep him from drowning in the fear that threatened to consume him. Aragorn’s arms tightened around him.

“I am here, beloved. I am right here. Nothing will separate us, my Greenleaf. Nothing.” The man’s words poured into him, the use of his given name cutting through the haze of his panic. Aragorn’s lips found his and the Elf melted into the kiss. He clutched onto the man, feeling himself fall into a pleasant numbness, and allowed himself to give in to the exhaustion that had been hounding him for hours.

When the blackness of a healing sleep finally took him, unexpectedly, he was grateful. He was dimly aware of warm arms lifting him gently to the bed, carefully removing his clothing, and a warm body tenderly spooning up behind him under the soft covers. He snuggled deeper into the warm chest and the tight circle of protective arms. A familiar voice sang softly in his ear and told him to sleep. Legolas sighed and let the tide of sleep take him to a dreamless place. He was home in the arms of his beloved and that was all that mattered.

Somewhere, in another part of the castle, a pair of obsidian eyes snapped open but in the morning light they shone silver, cat like slits where normal pupils should be, refracted in the light that peaked through the window. Green scaled skin glistened in eerie tones of violet and blue. Long muscled limbs stretched gracefully, reveling in the feel of their supple strength. A webbed hand came up languidly, extending one slim razor clawed finger to push back the raven hair that spilled forward over a sharply pointed ear. He ran a long moist tongue over the dry smooth skin of the hand, lips glossy with an unusual sheen. He longed to go for a swim, the air feeling unnaturally dry and he smiled dreamily, fantasizing swimming in familiar murky waters along side the golden haired Prince.

He let the transparent inner lids slide shut in reverie, as the fantasy took shape…webbed hands entwining with those of another, the Prince’s hair a reddish gold in the underwater sea light, floating about him like the living tendrils of a great sea anomie, their lips locked in a promising kiss…the promise of mates, weightless bodies coiled around each other….A purring hiss filled the room in satisfaction.

Ch.8

He spread his arms wide and floated peacefully miles below the surface, but his sharp preternatural eyes easily detected the sun-dappled plane where water met air. He could tell the weather above had taken a turn and the surface dwellers would feel the change strongly. But here little ever changed. He gracefully somersaulted, his floating golden mane streaming behind him, and flicked his webbed hands to his sides, propelling him forward. His powerful muscles hurled him downward, slicing effortlessly through the water with an economy of energy. A warm displacement of water alerted him that he was not alone. He felt strong hands on his skin. He could not escape the sharp claws, which trailed red lines where they scraped across his iridescent chest. The sensation was stimulating. The cool body pressed against him from behind and they sailed together on the arms of the water. His eyes watched the passing landscape beneath him.

At this depth there was only a pale light that filtered from above but the landscape around them glowed with an indigenous phosphorescence and it was a rare beauty that his sharp eyes beheld. Staggered structures of volcanic rock seemed to mock the cities of men with their natural beauty. They jutted up from the surface in various shapes and sizes, and clustered in odd groupings. Vibrant hues of red coral, and blue sapphire like projections as large as mallorn trees formed an underwater forest of erupting rock. Rounded structures, like giant dollops of cream that looked delicious enough to taste, but as large as hobbit holes studded the sandy bottom. Pearl like mounds, oddly shaped, all bedecked with waving tendrils of sea plants, served as homes to various creatures. His flicking silvered eyes beheld underwater creatures as beautiful as the rarest of Mirkwood flowers, or the most exotic species of bird that he might have seen if he lived in Lothlorien.

The clawed hands pulled him out of his reverie, spinning his body around easily in the weightless sea world.

“Legolas…”

His floating mane of gold swirled around him, tendrils of burnt gold and fiery red swam in front of his face obscuring his vision…he felt the hands travel demandingly over his cold body, snagging upon his scaly flesh, and lips saught to claim him in a kiss of possession…

He wanted to protest such treatment of a Prince of Mirkwood, but the demanding mouth took hold of him. “This is where you belong, Legolas” said the mind voice….

This was where he belonged…”Legolas” called the voice ….His body enjoyed it here…The gold strands drifted from before his eyes and he looked into the cold silver gleam of the obsidian eyes of his lover…

“Legolas…” “Legolas! …”

He screamed and frantically pushed against the hard chest.

“LEGOLAS !”

He was being shaken awake and he opened his eyes to look into the startled gray eyes of the Ranger.

Darrow Xu, opened his eyes to the bright light of the midday sun. He smiled, reflecting on the little sojourn. The seeds were planted. He could feel the changes in the Prince’s field all ready. Too bad the man had interrupted them. He was sure the Elf would warm up to him eventually. It would be easier if he could get the Elf alone again, but he doubted Aragorn was going to permit that.

A clawed hand flicked nervously at the thought of the man. The satin bed sheet caught in the talons and ripped as the hand scraped in agitation across the bed, shredding the mattress beneath.

The man was an annoyance and Darrow was unused to patience. If only the fool human would abandon the Prince and go back to Gondor. He had been sure that was what would happen. But it seemed the vagabond King was too stubborn. Well, there were other ways. The pale lips curled in a smile.

A little time with the Prince was all he needed to strengthen the new energy configuration. It was an easy process, really, since the pattern was already there. It had simply laid dormant, waiting for another with the same vibrational pattern to activate it. It was quite natural: one vibrating body caused another to vibrate at a similar frequency. And one couldn’t fight nature, after all.

He took a long shuddering breath, trying to shake off the feeling of the nightmare. But elves didn’t have nightmares.

“Aragorn?”

He sounded like a terrified child. The man looked shaken, too, perhaps as shaken as the Elf felt. Finally the Ranger seemed to recover himself and brought his hands gingerly to the Elf’s face. Aragorn traced the Elf’s brows with his thumbs and looked searchingly into Legolas’s eyes.

“Are you alright, Mellon Nin?” he asked carefully.

The Elf nodded, still not trusting his voice to not sound hysterical. The man was looking at him very carefully as if he expected to see something that should not be there. Still shaken from the dream, Legolas found the man’s quiet perusal unnerving. Finally, Aragorn nodded and wrapped his arms around the cool body of the Elf. His disquiet remained, however.

“You gave me quite a start, my love.”

The Elf finally trusted himself to speak, feeling the effects of the nightmare drifting away from him. “What happened, Aragorn?”

“I think you had a nightmare, my heart. It happens to humans quite often, although I’ve never known an Elf to have one.”

“They don’t,” Legolas said, with a shaky breath. “It was so vivid…”

The man looked at him with concern, and a slight look of guilt crossed his face.

“I was trying to wake you, when you screamed…I was kissing you. I think you thought it was someone else…” Legolas could see the pain in Aragorn’s eyes. It was time, the Elf realized.

The thoughts of this morning came flooding back to him in a rush. The Elf lifted a hand to the man’s face, and taking a deep breath, he said, “I thought you were Darrow Xu.”

The man winced slightly but nodded understandingly as he looked into the eyes of his lover.

Legolas took a deep breath and continued, “He kissed me Aragorn….And…I didn’t fight him. I don’t know why…”

Tears welled in the blue eyes as he gazed at his lover and he let the words pour out of him. His strength, of a moment ago, was fading rapidly with his confession.

“I let him kiss me.” His voice was full of self-recrimination.

Unable to look into Aragorn’s eyes any longer, unwilling to see the pain he had caused, the Elf turned his face into the pillow and let the tears soak into the satin covers.

Aragorn felt his jaw clench. He had known something of this nature had happened. He could well imagine the manipulative power of the dark mage turned full force against his innocent and trusting mate. He had seen the predatory gleam in Darrow’s black eyes when he presented the Prince with the gift. Thranduil thought the dark man to be as dangerous as a Wizard. To Aragorn he was nothing more than a flim flam artist with a flare for the dramatic. The brooch, the dropped statements about being present at the Prince’s birth, the ‘graceful’ protest that he would not act against Mirkwood….all designed to draw the Prince into his net. Well, by the Fires of Mordor and the great chasm of Khasadoom, Aragorn was not going to stand by while this charlatan tried to have his way with the man’s Elf.

Aragorn gathered the Prince into his arms and forced Legolas to look up at him. “I love you, Legolas.” Aragorn whispered, stroking the tears away from the pale cheeks. He placed a gentle kiss on the Elf’s lips and settled his lover against his chest, stroking his hair as if petting a nervous animal.

The Elf sniffled against his chest, tickling the hair there. “You …you don’t hate me, now?” the voice was small, and sounded fearful.

Aragorn felt a lump in his throat at the sound of it. He tightened his arms around the familiar body. “No, my love. I don’t hate you. And judging by your dream, I don’t get the feeling you plan on running after that slippery conniver any time soon for another one.”

Legolas’s head snapped up, tears splashing the man’s shoulder as he did so. “No!” he cried. “Never!”

“Good” growled the man, rolling them over so that the Elf was pinned beneath him. “Because you are mine, Legolas Greenleaf, formerly of Mirkwood, now of Gondor.. And I plan on reminding you of that fact right now…” the man’s voice was barely a whisper.

The Elf’s wide blue eyes still held a haunted expression, but desire and anticipation flared to life at the man’s provocative words.

“I don’t want to belong to anyone else,” he whispered back, more tears escaping the corners of his eyes to travel into his hair.

Aragorn brought his fingers to gently wipe the tears away. His manner was tender, as if holding a fragile, injured bird. His touches were feathery light as he let his hands travel down to the Prince’s throat.

The man’s lips followed the trail made by his fingers, soft little kisses gently covered the Elf’s swollen eyes and followed the path the tears had taken. His lips then traced the beloved lines of the Elf’s face, over the slope of the cheeks, the line of the jaw, up to softly brush the tip of an ear and then its mate. Legolas relaxed under the softness of the man’s caresses and at the same time felt heat building up in his groin. He closed his eyes, reveling in the butterfly kisses that alighted on his skin.

By the time the man traveled slowly and thoroughly down the column of his neck to dip into the hollow at his throat Legolas’s elfhood was stiff and weeping, begging for the man’s sweet touch. Legolas shifted, trying to bring the throbbing erection into contact with the man’s thigh or some other part of the man’s body. But Aragorn was going to draw this out. If this was his punishment, then it was sweet punishment indeed. Aragorn wanted every square inch of the Elf’s body to remember his touches and none other. Aragorn’s mouth was branding him, every little kiss inciting a fire within his blood.

The Ranger traveled down his lover’s chest, ignoring the bucking motion of the hips, and closed his lips and tongue over one erect nipple. His fingers simultaneously tugged at the other one, then rolled it between thumb and forefinger, as his tongue vigorously lapped on the one in his mouth. The Elf moaned loudly, and thrashed his head on the pillow, purring.

“Aragorn! For the love of the Valar…I can’t take this anymore! Just take me!”

“Patience, my love, patience.” The man mouthed around the nipple. Legolas groaned in frustration and appreciation as Aragorn’s mouth suckled on him with greater urgency. The man’s large hand closed around his straining, weeping penis unexpectedly and the Elf wailed at the sensory explosion. But, then the hand left him, and the Elf was flipped over onto his stomach. His legs were pushed apart roughly by one knee and the man kneeled between them, lifting the Elf by the hips.

Legolas moaned loudly, feeling exposed and vulnerable. The anticipation of being taken like this made his heart beat wildly. He liked the man’s gentle kisses and tender touches but right now his body burned to be fucked. He wanted his man deep inside him. He wanted Aragorn to claim him and make all the horrors of the previous day disappear. He desperately needed this.

“Now, Aragorn! Do it now!” he hissed demandingly.

And the man did not wait. There was no gentle preparation. What ever had come over them, they felt it together. Aragorn slammed into the willing captive body of his lover. Driving into the pliant golden flesh. The Elf moaned loudly at the harsh intrusion. But the man did not relent. He took the beautiful Elf with relish, possessively, deeply, thrusting and pulling out, thrusting again. Legolas moaned and bucked beneath him, his body protesting the harsh treatment but pushing back, nevertheless, to meet each thrust with one of his own. The man’s hands on his hips lifted him and pulled him back into the thrusts. The burning sensation was turning into one of pleasure. The Elf keened beneath him, wanting them to spiral out of control like this forever. He wanted Aragorn to be brutal, to take him, wildly, while they sailed over the purple rocks of a crystal sapphire forest. He purred and hissed in abandon as his man filled him. The images of a watery world filled his head as he strove for completion. Now it was right, Aragorn was with him. Now it was almost perfect. He purred wildly.

He was owned and mastered completely. The man took possession of him as Legolas wanted and needed him too. He felt the heat build and when his orgasm was imminent the man grasped his elfhood and pumped furiously. They both came with two throaty screams, the Elf’s powerful orgasm sent a wave of convulsions through the narrow channel pumping tightly against the man’s cock, and Aragorn came a second after him, with a roar, spurting his seed deep within the Elf’s body. Now it was perfect, purred the thought, deep in the Elf’s mind.

The King of Gondor collapsed, satiated across the Elf’s back. They lay there together for a long time, until Aragorn slipped off the slick skin. Legolas turned over with a contented sigh and snuggled up to the man. Aragorn hugged him close, still breathing heavily. Finally the man sat up, and looked at his Elf. He gasped to see some drops of red blood on the sheets beneath them.

Horrified, the man took hold of the Elf’s hand, “Mellon, I’ve hurt you!” Aragorn looked sickened at the thought of having caused true injury to his lover.

“Nay, I do not care,” purred the Elf, contently. “I am yours Aragorn, as I have always been.” An almost wild light shone in the deep blue eyes.

“But Legolas, you bled! I am so sorry, my heart. I don’t know what came over me.”

The man’s distress and guilt were evident and the Elf wanted to truly convince Aragorn of the sincerity of his words. “Aragorn, I needed you to take me just as you did,” he raised his hand to the man’s face and stroked it gently. “Truly, my King, after that dream, I needed to be possessed by the one I love and will marry.”

Aragorn’s face broke into a smile at the words. His Elf was no longer harboring thoughts of calling off their betrothal. The man had been worried that the noble Elf’s penchant for self-sacrifice was going to take them again down the road to self-denial. Of course, Aragorn’s methods for showing the Prince the error of his ways were rather enjoyable.

Aragorn leaned to kiss the beautiful Elf. Legolas purred in contentment and closed his eyes, for the kiss. When it didn’t come as expected he opened his eyes to look at the man. Aragorn was staring at him with an odd expression.

“Aragorn? What…”

The man “sh’d” him gently and said, curiously, “Mellon, look up at the light again.” Aragorn seemed to be studying his eyes closely.

The Elf gave him a puzzled look but did as he was told. Aragorn told him to blink, then to move his gaze around the room. Finally, frustrated and growing slightly alarmed the Elf demanded the man explain.

“I am not sure I am seeing this right, but, your eyes look like they have changed. It happened again just now, then they changed back.“

The frightened look on the Elf’s face convinced Aragorn to change course. “No, I must have been mistaken. It’s gone now. Probably a trick of the light…and my tired human eyes,” he added, lamely.

Legolas did not looked convinced. He got up to look into the mirror. He approached the glass a little fearfully, but made himself stand in front of the full length reflecting glass and examine himself critically. He couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, except for tell tale signs of his exhaustion. There were dark smudges under his eyes and his skin looked even paler than usually. It made his blue eyes stand out of the thin face even more dramatically than normal. He stepped closer to the cool glass and looked into the reflection of the blue orbs. No, nothing. Except…for a moment he felt as though he were staring into the eyes of a stranger. He shook his head and looked again. No, it was gone. The Elf shook his head, slightly, realizing how the stress of recent events was obviously taking its toll. He was parched. He needed a bath.

He finally turned to the man, who looked to be even more exhausted than the Elf, and shrugged.

“See,” said the man, “must have been a trick of the light. I’m sorry I frightened you, my heart.”

The Elf sat back down on the bed, and pushed the man to lie down.

”It is alright, my …husband.” Aragorn broke into a smile at that, and pulled the Elf into his arms for another kiss. When it ended, the Elf lay, half draped, over the man, his ear pressed to the man’s chest listening to his heart beat. It was the most precious sound he had ever heard. He would never be parted from this man. Not for any reason, he told himself. The human stroked his hair dreamily.

When the movements slowed to a stop, the Elf looked up to see the man had dozed off. Legolas disentangled himself and gave his lover a tiny kiss. He got up quietly, donned a robe, and left the room silently. He headed to the baths. He felt very dry and a long soak was just what his body needed to relax.

A stealthy pair of eyes followed him as he turned the corner to the steps that would lead him to the heated pools, on the level below this one. The eyes turned to the door of the Prince’s chambers, where the human lay sleeping…\

Chapter 9

Legolas lowered himself into the steaming water and sighed deeply, every muscle in his body instantly uncoiling into the inviting warmth of the bath. He leaned back against the tiled marble bench that lined the perimeter of the pool, grateful to finally be able to relax. He stretched lazily, sinking even further into the water so that his pale white shoulders slipped below the surface. Luxuriating in the wonderful caress of the warm water over his skin, he closed his eyes and let his mind drift.

It had been a very trying week. He felt more peaceful now. Aragorn always had that effect on him. Even during the Quest to protect the Ringbearer, when times seemed at their worst, Aragorn maintained his calm reassuring aura of leadership. No one was immune to the man’s confidence. Legolas sighed again, happily, thinking of the Ranger. He loved this man so deeply that it almost scared him. Sinking further into the comforting warm water, Legolas let his mind drift to his lovemaking with Aragorn. It had been wild and passionate. His floating body still thrummed with the feel of the man’s seed within him. His hand lazily drew circles on the sensitive skin of his stomach as he recalled the man’s caresses. He leaned his head against his shoulder, blond hair floating like seaweed around his pearl white face. He purred contentedly, small bubbles dancing around him, as he curled up on his side peacefully lost in thoughts of his lover. His hand drifted lower to stroke his stiffening flesh. A smile played upon his sweet mouth. He could still hear his lover’s heartbeat against his ear. He imagined the sweet sound joining the rhythm of his own life force, hand pumping lazily to the pulsating beat. The two forces twined around each other, coiling and undulating, to the beat of the man’s precious heart…the dance turning upward, sweeping forward into an eruption of passion as two converged into one, soaring heaven ward, accelerating ever upward…until the momentum slowed to an eventual floating stasis, hanging there in space for a while, he held his breath, and then, slowly a reversal, a descent and the wave spiraled out ward again, diverging into multiple bands of color….

Legolas curled in on himself, his seed spurting gently though his loosening fingers. The warmth of the water caressed him, soothing him in his trance like sleep. His long golden curls floated to the surface forming a canopy, covering the peaceful face from prying eyes. Tiny bubbles escaped the softly parted lips, to dance around each other before bobbing to the surface, as the Elf slept, stretched out on the marbled bottom.

Aragorn jolted in his sleep. He was falling, plummeting to the earth, and he realized he was not alone, Legolas was with him…at first they were both falling but a long bright gold ribbon joined them. He realized he was tied to the Elf…He pulled on the ribbon, bringing them closer together and their descent slowed…as if they could float upon the wind…Legolas smiled at him a radiant smile…The two sailed on the breeze …Aragorn was no longer afraid. The Elf held out a magnificent bloom, a rare flower sought by many for its mythical properties …It could impart life to those who were dying, create life in those who were barren…but one had to handle it carefully for it’s thorns were poisonous…Aragorn looked at the radiant Elf and carefully reached for the blossom, aware of the dangers but unable to deny his Elf… “I love you.” Legolas’s dulcet tones drifted to him on the soft wind that caressed him…

The sun was blotted out by a dark shape. Aragorn looked for the source of the darkness when a dark hand wrapped itself tightly around his throat…His gray eyes shot open. He groped to dislodge the iron grip that threatened to crush his windpipe. Gasping for breath, he brought his knee up harshly into the dark one’s groin. The hand loosened and the dark shadow fell from the man’s eyes. Aragorn froze to see the marvelous creature that assaulted him. Black cat like slits in the silver irises stared down at him. The raven hair fell forward brushing the man’s face. The cold breath hit him as the creature hissed in pure hatred. A clawed hand gripped his throat and the scaly green flesh shimmered in colors of blues and purples as the being toyed with him. Aragorn felt his flesh rip as the other hand ran its talons down his pinned chest.

“You are fragile, human….” Hissed the creature in a melodious voice. “It would be too easy now for me to pull your organs from your body. Should I do it?”

Aragorn gasped and struggled futilely against the brute strength hidden in the deceptively thin body. The creature laughed and extended one sharply curled talon in front of his face. Aragorn recoiled, thinking this is what a mouse must feel like when it is trapped between the claws of a cat. The claw began at his collar bone, pricking his flesh and began to carve a superficial line into his skin. The man tried to scream, feeling his flesh tear. Darrow smiled in anticipation of the kill.

The claw dug deeper as it slowly traveled down the flesh of his chest. The man did scream now.

Legolas’s eyes popped open. He was disoriented, his eyes peering through the distorting effect of the water to look above him. The light from the window illuminated the blue tile walls of the poolroom but the vision was oddly thickened. With a horrified realization, he took an experimental breath. Bubbles floated lazily from his nose and drifted before his magnified blue gaze. Before he could think or react further his heart lurched in the grip of a stunning fear.

He jolted out of the pool with a loud splash of water against the floor and walls. He sprinted through the room and up the stone steps in a streak of hissing fury. The door to his rooms flew open and he threw himself against the monster that had his lover pinned in a death grip upon the bed.

Aragorn gulped in large lung fulls of air as his assailant was knocked off of him and he pushed himself off the bed. He backed away as the two bodies clashed on the floor, one golden and one a dark iridescent green. The two lithe bodies thrashed against each other, knocking over furniture, as limbs flailed out, blows being exchanged in rapid succession. “Legolas!” Thranduil’s voice thundered from the open door way. It drew the Prince’s attention momentarily giving the dark haired creature a chance to land a blow to the Elf’s midriff. The Prince struck at the raven haired creature who brought a sharp blow to his ribs, knocking the golden Elf off him. Legolas threw himself at the creature again with a furious hiss, wrapping both his hands around the other’s throat in a killing grip. Sharp blade like talons pierced his arm at the elbow and dragged down his forearm. The Elf cried out at the sudden burning sensation on his arm and the creature broke free and jumped to the window, disappearing through the opening into the limbs of a tree.

Legolas made to follow but the tandem voices of Thranduil and Aragorn stopped him in his tracks. They both ran to him as he shakily sank to the floor. Legolas fell into Aragorn’s embrace, breathing heavily. Thranduil was barking orders at the elven guards to follow Darrow and for a healer to be summoned. Legolas and Aragorn were wrapped in each other’s arms. Thranduil draped a robe around his son’s shoulders. Legolas pulled back and looked at the man who was bleeding from several parallel slashes that ran across his shoulders and one deeper gash running half way down the center of his chest..

“I take it Darrow Xu is no longer playing at being the polite court guest,” said Aragorn, as he accepted a robe from the King.

Thranduil knelt beside Legolas and pressed a cloth to the gashes on the Elf’s bleeding arm. “He apparently has decided to eliminate his competition, Elessar,” said the Elf King.

“Aragorn! You are hurt, Ada, please help him!” cried the Prince.

“I will be alright, Legolas, you are bleeding too…” Aragorn said, but he and Thranduil both stopped and looked at him. Their hands coming to the arm that was slashed. Legolas followed their gaze to his arm. The flesh looked like it had been peeled back to reveal a smooth layer of scaled golden flesh beneath.

Legolas gasped and brought a shaking finger to touch the strange new skin. His blue eyes were as large as saucers when he raised them to look up at the twin looks of shock on the faces of Aragorn and Thranduil. The two kings remained silent for along moment until Thranduil placed a warm hand on his son’s shoulder, looking deeply shaken.

“Ada?”

“I think,” said Aragorn, pulling the young Elf into his arms, “Sir, that you’d better tell us exactly what Legolas’s mother was and what we are facing.”

Thranduil looked grave. He finally nodded. The healer had just arrived and Thranduil motioned for him toward the man. Aragorn began to protest but Thranduil’s look stopped him.

“Legolas, Elessar please see me in my chambers when the healer is done with you Elessar.”

An hour later, dressed in his archer’s tunic, Legolas sat with Aragorn in front of the King of Mirkwood. Food had been laid out but no one had touched it.

Aragorn was leaning forward, his gaze locked with Thranduil, a disbelieving look on his face.

“Shape shifters?” asked the man, again, incredulously.

Thranduil looked apprehensively at his son who was staring out the window. The young Elf had hidden the scaled golden skin with a long tight bandage, which covered the length of the arm. Thranduil shifted his eyes to the human’s intense blue eyes.

“That is what I said Elessar.”

“But, what is their true form?”

Thranduil lowered his eyes. “I am not entirely sure.”

The Elf continued to look out the archway to the woods beyond.

“Your mother was a warrior of the Xuan. When I first saw her, her appearance was something like what you saw in Darrow. She was the most beautiful creature I had ever laid eyes on.” The King had a far away expression in his green eyes and Legolas finally turned to look at his father. The King looked at his son and continued. “We fell in love. She became an Elf for me. All of Middle Earth was envious of her extreme beauty. You look exactly like her, my son.”

“But,” Aragorn said softly, “when you first saw her, like Darrow today, was that her true form?”

“No,” said Thranduil. “Its an adaptation. I could never really see her true form.”

Aragorn stared at the King. Glancing nervously at his lover he fixed Thranduil with a steel gaze. “Why?” he demanded softly. He could appreciate that Thranduil wanted to protect his son but, damn it, they needed to know what to expect.

“Because,” said Thranduil. “The Xuan live under the sea.”

Aragorn leaned back in his chair with a long exhalation. By the Valar. He had not believed things could get any stranger. “So,” said the man, slowly, “you don’t know what this transformation could lead to?”

“No, I don’t know,” admitted Thranduil, feeling his son’s eyes upon him.

Legolas shifted his dark azure gaze from the King of Mirkwood to his hands. He turned them over in his lap. The golden scaled skin now covered the back of both hands. “You don’t know?” his tone was bitter, accusatory. Aragorn looked at his Elf in shock. “Well,” the Elf stood up suddenly, surprising the two who were now watching him apprehensively, “I don’t intend to wait around here for us all to find out.” He stalked out of the room.

Aragorn jumped up and ran after the Elf. “Legolas! Where are you going?” He caught up to the Elf and grabbed him by the arm, swinging him around to face him.

“I am going to find Darrow,” the Elf said.

“You can’t!” said the man.

The blue eyes flashed, a silver predatory gleam glinted in them, momentarily, then was gone. Aragorn almost recoiled at the strange sensation of looking into the eyes as if of a stranger. The moment passed but not before the Elf caught the man’s reaction. A look of horror and pain crossed the Elf’s features. He silently pulled his arm out of the man’s frozen grasp and broke into a run.

Aragorn cursed himself for his momentary panic. The man sprinted after the Elf who had disappeared into the Mirkwood forest. What had he been thinking? This was his Legolas. What ever was happening to his Elf, Aragorn would go through it with him. They were bonded mates and nothing could keep the man away from his lover.

Now he had to find the Prince and convince him. They were in this together.

Chapter 10

Aragorn was still a Ranger with significant skill for tracking. But an Elf was not the easiest quarry. His Elf, however, was becoming careless. Was the transformation slowing the Elf’s reflexes? Aragorn was finding broken branches and prints where normally there would be little to no sign at all to mark the passage of a wood Elf.

Aragorn caught a flash of gold up in the trees not that long ago. Now he could see nothing.

“Legolas!” he called out.

He didn’t like the idea of chasing his lover through the dangerous forest of Mirkwood. “Damn it,” he said out loud, knowing his Elf could probably still hear him. He pushed the thick foliage out of his way. The forest was blocking him and slowing his progress. He thought about climbing a tree but he could hardly be able to follow the Elf through the trees. He hacked at the branches with his sword. “Legolas!” he called out again. “Please stop!”

Another flash of gold above him, closer this time, told him the Elf was slowing down. He was glad because he would catch up to his lover soon, but it unnerved him to think of why the Mirkwood Elf would be slowing down. He hacked through the branches and looking up, decided to start climbing. His mind flashed on the image of Darrow’s silver cat slitted eyes and green skin, and shuddered. He tried to prepare himself for what he might find up above him as he climbed the mallorn tree. It’s still Legolas, he told himself.

The man looked up as the branches grew together to form a series of thick canopies. A flash of gold told him the Elf had finally collapsed into one of the branch bundles. His muscles burned in protest, but the man continued to climb toward the nested branches that cradled his lover. He took a deep steadying breath and careful of his footing, approached the level where the reclining Elf lay motionless.

Aragorn could see the familiar shape of his lover’s body. The new skin was covering the Elf’s entire body now, as far as the man could see. The Elf did not move and Aragorn gently climbed onto the large interwoven canopy of branches next to his lover.

“You shouldn’t have followed me, Aragorn.” The Elf’s melodic voice was soft, almost inaudible.

The Elf lay where he had fallen in the leafy nest, silver eyes closed in exhaustion and breath coming in small rasps. His golden reptilian like skin glistened in the moonlight giving it a rainbow sheen of fiery orange, pale blues and meadow greens. The lips were still a soft pink, as they had always been, underneath a new silvery gloss, and Aragorn was possessed by a strong desire to capture them in a kiss. He refrained, however, thinking his poor tormented Elf would not tolerate the contact.

Chest still heaving from the chase, the man settled himself next to the collapsed Elf. Aragorn studied the familiar profile of his love. It was the same delicate bone structure, which his fingers had traced many times while they made love or while his lover slept by his side. The lips were as full and sweetly shaped. The pert nose, the high cheekbones, the elegant brow were all the same. But that skin, the hair, and those eyes… were all eerily transformed into alien translucent hues which reminded the man mysteriously of the sea. He was actually quite beautiful, Aragorn decided, as the shock began to wear off and his discerning eyes traveled over the prostrate form, taking in all that he could of the familiar yet different body. No, more than beautiful…He was exquisite.

Feasting his eyes on the unusual beauty of the transformed Elf the ranger wanted to see what that strange skin felt like. The color and scale like markings reminded him uncomfortably of a water reptile. Tentatively, Aragorn laid a gentle hand on the smooth skin of the forehead. The body beneath him stiffened but did not move. Emboldened, the man’s fingers traced the familiar lines of the beloved face. The skin was dry and smooth. It was cold. Colder than usual. But he guessed this was probably not abnormal for his mate’s changing physiology. His fingers played with increasing confidence over the cheek, the line of the jaw, the familiar swirl of an ear. Legolas breathed in sharply, eyes still tightly closed. Aragorn found the skin to be surprisingly silky despite its extremely alien appearance. The waist long gold hair had also changed but the man found it just as alluring, he decided, as he always did. It seemed somehow thicker and of a darker, possibly reddish hue. Under the light of the full moon it glistened and stirred in the breeze giving it the appearance of a living flame, streaked by green coppery strands. Aragorn gently stroked the spilled mane and buried his fingers, convulsively, in the new curls and waves. An aroma akin to strawberries drifted to him and unable to contain himself any longer, he bent over the prone figure and touched his lips to the Elf’s.

Legolas moaned under him, but placing a hand to the man’s chest, pushed him gently away. The silver eyes opened, at first revealing the shock of cat like slits, that morphed into round orbs once fully opened, and Aragorn caught his breath for they were undeniably unnerving. They were the eyes of a predator. The eyes filled with tears to see the man’s apprehension and the Elf turned his face to the shadows.

“How can you bare to touch me?” the forlorn voice said, quietly.

“You are still my Legolas.” Aragorn answered, finding his own voice after a moment’s shock. “I am bound to you and I will not leave you.”

Aragorn gently captured the pointed chin and with a firm hand turned the face towards him. His voice was thick with emotion and his steel eyes swam with all the love he felt for this gently being.

“I love you, melethron. Just as I always have. That will not change.” Aragorn gave in to the impulse of a few moments ago and lowered to capture the lips again. This time the kiss was more demanding. His tongue sought entrance to the sweet mouth. Legolas gasped under him and the man took advantage and plunged into the cool alien depths. His senses were rewarded with the surprisingly pleasant taste of fresh berries in summer time, when the tongue bursts their plumb sugary tartness against the roof of the mouth, followed rapidly by an explosion of flavor. It was a heady sensation, filling him with sweetness. His mind swam with images of water, of vibrant blues and greens, and a peculiar sensation of flying, or was it swimming, for the landscape was of magnificent corals, and white underwater mountains of pearl like peaks.

Aragorn broke the kiss with a start and stared down at the beautiful creature beneath him. Legolas was breathing hard and the glowing eyes had slid shut under the delicious assault on his senses. The Elf’s body sang with strange and foreign sensations that he did not understand. It was as if some alien urge was steadily growing within him begging for completion but he didn’t know what its final result would be. He feared it and yet moaned in desire and longing to pursue it to its delicious end.

He opened his eyes, feeling the peculiar sensation of the transparent inner lids slid open, the man was staring at him in strange wonder.

“Did you feel that?” asked the man in awe. “I saw things and felt things I’d never felt before…it was …amazing, ..beautiful,” he finished somewhat shakily.

Legolas fearfully allowed one golden green hand to reach up to the man’s face. The rainbow sheen of his new skin, and the fine bluish webbing between elegant fingers, made him start guiltily. He pulled back before allowing the strange alien hand to touch the beloved familiar face of the Ranger. He detested himself. As much as he longed to be held in the comforting, familiar embrace of the man, he could not bring himself to sully his lover.

Aragorn’s heart twisted at the self loathing he saw in the beloved face. He quickly captured the silky hand in both of his. He stared deeply into the alien eyes that housed the soul of his beloved and brought the hand to his face. He rubbed his cheek into the open palm, not breaking eye contact with his elf, and then turned his lips to the fine webbing between the thumb and index finger. He placed gentle tender kisses on each finger and the smooth membrane stretched between them. Legolas moaned at the sensitivity of the skin and the delicious waves of pleasure created by the man’s kisses. Aragorn noted the reaction with interest and lavished the pearlescent skin of the palm with his lips. He ran his tongue over the sensitive surface, tasting the new flesh. It was erotically exciting to explore this new territory that was his lover and the man let his desire show on his face. The silver eyes widened with wonder and tears swam in the inscrutable depths.

“Oh Aragorn….I do not deserve you. You are too good to me, my love. But what can I give you now? You should leave here, forget about me…”

The King of Men dropped the hand he held reverently to his lips and roughly grabbed the shoulders of the being below him, dragging Legolas to sit up and face him.

“Never,” he spat out vehemently. “Never say that again, Legolas.”

Legolas gasped, and stared at the man. Then shook his head in despair.

“Look at me Aragorn! What am I? What have I become? …I am a monster…a stranger to myself.” His hand waved aimlessly towards his morphed appearance. He dared not lower his strange new eyes to look too closely at his transformed body. He was too afraid of what he would see.

The man read the fear in the moon disc orbs and rose suddenly to his feet, dragging the Elf helplessly along with him. He climbed down the tree, dragging the Elf down with him. With out a word he plunged through the forest, arms firmly locked around the slim waist of the alien creature that was his own beloved, propelling him helplessly along.

“Aragorn!” the archer cried desperately, fearfully. “What are you doing? Where are we going?”

But the being’s struggles were weak against the man’s strong frame. The transformation and his mad run through the forest had left the Elf depleted and emotionally exhausted.

They broke through the thick foliage into a clearing where the silver undisturbed surface of a lake shone like a mirror in the moonlight. Upon seeing the undisturbed surface of the lake the Elf wailed in horror and began to struggle in earnest.

“No! No! Don’t make me!” He cried hysterically now. “I can’t look! I can’t look!”

“You will,” said Aragorn commandingly, and he lifted the struggling Elf by the waist to drag him the last couple of feet to the waters surface.

The elf screeched in abject terror and kicked his way free. Aragorn cursed and ran after the fleeing creature. He made a mad leap and landed on the escaping Elf, grabbing him around the knees and bringing him crashing down to the sandy ground. The Elf screamed and began to kick and push at the man, managing to land a punch on the man’s temple in the process. Aragorn swooned momentarily with stars flashing behind his eyes as the blow impacted his head. But his grip around the archer’s legs was like iron. He was not going to chase his Elf again through the dark forest of Mirkwood.

“Legolas, stop!” he screamed in fury. However, the poor Elf was lost in the grips of some unnamed fear and was evidently beyond the point of reason. The man subdued the hysterical being enough to climb to his feet without losing his grip on the Elf. He quickly lifted the thrashing body up over his shoulder, securing the legs against his chest to thwart further attempts by the Elf to kick his way free.

With a steadying breath, legs braced against the thrashing movements of the lithe form over his shoulder, Aragorn turned to the peaceful lake and marched resolutely to the silver surface, ignoring the screams of the Elf.

He staggered to the water’s edge and collapsed to his knees, head pounding, without relinquishing his grip on the whimpering Prince. He hauled the nearly weightless body onto his lap and with quick efficiency pulled the elf’s clothing off the shimmering body. Legolas moaned in anguish and fear, tears now flowing freely from the silver orbs. Aragorn gasped as the entire body of his lover was revealed to him in the light of the moon.

The Elf stopped his sobs at the sound and turned anguished eyes to the man’s face prepared for the look of horror or disgust he fully expected to see there.

Instead what he saw was a man humbled by a vision of such unearthly loveliness, that he dared not breathe too roughly for fear it would vanish back into the dream world that must have spawned it. The long shapely limbs, elegantly muscled, where covered as was the chest, neck and face, in the same rainbow hued sheen. A pale bluish gold scale like texture characterized the transformed skin. The physical shape of his lover seemed unchanged for the most part. Yet Aragorn spied two small indentations on either side of his lover’s neck, outlined by a green ridge, which he had not noticed before. The watery visions from their shared kiss came to his mind and he eyed the two slit like apertures with a growing suspicion of their function. The pale skin glistened in hues of violets, blues and greens. It darkened at the webbing between the fingers, on the sides of the throat around the gill-like ridges, and across the Elf’s flat belly. Aragorn’s eyes traveled lower down the abdomen and to the privates, which looked unchanged with the exception of the dark, blue pearl color.

“You are beautiful, mellon,” he whispered in awe.

Aragorn lifted the body of the Elf onto his lap, his arms wrapping about the trembling Elf, and leaned them both over the waters edge to look into the mirrored surface. Legolas buried his face into the man’s neck, and shook his head in refusal.

“Look, mellon. It’s alright, I’m here with you. Now take a look,” he stroked the thick hair soothingly and tried to ignore the fact that he was becoming very aroused by the feel of the naked body in his arms. His arousal, however did not go unnoticed by the Elf who was held on his lap. Legolas lifted his face from his hiding place in the crook of the man’s neck and looked at Aragorn in bewilderment. If anything could have convinced him that he was in fact not a hideous monster it was the evidence of his lover’s rapidly growing erection which pressed demandingly from within the man’s trousers, against his buttocks.

Aragorn smiled ruefully. “You see,” he said with a hint of mild embarrassment. “I can’t resist your charms, mellon.”

Aragorn was grateful to see a small smile of wonder appear in the hauntingly beautiful face. He hugged the Elf tightly, then releasing him enough to turn to the water again he said, “Go on, my love. Look at yourself. You are different, yes. But no less lovely.”

The elf took a deep breath and without relinquishing his tight grip on the man’s neck he tentatively leaned forward and looked into the polished surface of the lake. What stared back at him made him gasp. He pulled back in shock. But a reassuring squeeze from his lover’s arms gave him the courage to take another look.

The shimmery red – gold hued hair came into view first, upon the rippling surface. This was followed by gold scaled skin, hued green or blue in various places.. His mouth looked the same. As did his features as a whole. In fact the face was indeed recognizable, with the exception of the odd coloration. And of course the eyes. Aragorn was right. He had to admit the vision in the water was not unpleasant, only different. But the eyes were unnerving. He blinked deliberately several times watching with fascination at the momentary black slit that warped into a round pupil within the silver iris. The eyes stared back at him and he felt mesmerized by the weird silver glow. It was like looking into the eyes of someone else. Dismayed, Legolas pulled back and lowered his gaze to the ground. After a time he realized the Ranger was studying him closely.

“They are really quite lovely once the shock wears off.” Aragorn said, having accurately guessed his thoughts.

Legolas turned to smile at him. The man’s hand had been buried in the elf’s unbound hair and was stroking the long tresses lovingly. Legolas sighed, feeling suddenly weak with relief, and allowed himself to fall against the man’s strong chest. He wrapped his arms around the ranger’s neck loosely and rested his head on the man’s shoulder. Aragorn was stroking his chest absentmindedly with his other hand. The fingers found a dark green nipple and experimentally brushed it with the pads of his fingers. The Elf in his lap breathed deeply and nuzzled his nose into the man’s neck. Aragorn allowed himself a small smile and brushed the nipple again more firmly noting the body’s immediate and familiar response to this caress. Legolas curved himself around the Ranger, while his lips found the man’s skin under his ear and began to suckle. Now it was Aragorn’s turn to moan.

Aragorn’s hand traveled down the ribs and skimmed across the flat belly. The Elf was starting to squirm in pleasure on his lap, which in turn was creating a pleasant friction against his own undeniable arousal. The man’s hand found the Elf’s erection and tentatively closed around it. The Elf moaned and writhed uncontrollably in Aragorn’s arms. The silver orbs stared into the sky, lost in some strange reverie, seeing and yet not seeing.

Aragorn shifted as if in a trance, him self, and slowly lowered the trembling body to the ground. He shrugged out of his tunic and lowered himself over his lover. The vision of the Elf was intoxicating and the heady smell of berries made his mouth water. Legolas’s eyes closed and the man covered the succulent mouth with his own. The impact was immediate. He was under water, rushing past alien landscapes in a rush of exhilaration. He was soaring as if in flight, unencumbered by the weight of his mortal body, feeling the pleasure of unbridled freedom. And then it was as if he had no body at all. He was like the wind or a cloud. He could pass through the coral mountains as if they were not there. He was skimming the sandy bottom of the blue ocean; then standing on the windy peak of Caradhas; he floated as pure spirit through the halls of Rivendell; he became a singing sparrow, nested in a mellorn tree in Lothlorian.

Awareness flickered in and out, dragging him back to his heavy body as he entered the narrow channel of the being hoisted snuggly on his lap, his thrusts spiraling to ever higher sensations of pleasure, the lithe body pushing against him to meet each urgent thrust with a resounding slap of flesh against flesh. Deeper and deeper he drove himself into the snug welcoming space. Pleasure sang through his body, as he took possession of the beauty beneath him, reminding them both of their place in each other’s arms. He was running through a dark forest, at inhuman speeds, the branches catching at his blue skin, leaving stinging lashes against his flesh…

His powerful thrusts into the Elf’s transformed body took him to dizzying heights. It was delicious, he could not hold out any longer and he froze as his seed spooled out of him into the sweating body clenched tightly to his furry chest. He blacked out….

He was climbing up the tightly woven branches, frantic to find the little hollow among the clump of entwined tree limbs, he buried himself in the fragrant leaves, pulling the foliage over his swollen body…He began to sing.

When Aragorn awoke from the swoon of his powerful orgasm, his mind registered almost at once that the Elf was gone. He was alone on the bank of the silvery lake.

CHAPTER 11

Aragorn had awakened by the pool and found himself alone. Why? He frantically scanned the surrounding area with his eyes. He looked towards the dark trees and then at the ground…light footprints lead to the water. Aragorn swallowed and took a hesitant step towards the still pool. It couldn’t be. He approached the mirror like surface and gazed into it’s crystal clear depths. It was black with only a smattering of silver cast by the reflection of the moon. His human eyes could never penetrate that darkness.

“Legolas?” he called out uncertainly. And then, blue – silver sapphires stared up at him from the murky depths, electrically. He almost jumped back from the sudden fright but before he could move or cry out a silvery shape lunged out of the mirrored surface of the pond and a creature of moonbeams and magical seascapes took hold of him by the shoulders and pulled him into the chilling darkness. Aragorn instinctively struggled but the strong arms of his lover held him still as they swam towards the bottom. Deeper and deeper they plunged. The Man held his breath but knew soon he would be dead. He could not hold it forever and the mythical creature that held him in its possessive embrace seemed unaware of his distress.

When he opened his eyes he was lying on the ground in a cavern with many projectile ledges that went up for possibly hundreds of feet. He could not see the sky. There was a very murky, greenish pool of water below him, however. A mysterious mist wafted over the surface of the pool. Since his cloths were wet he surmised he must have been brought to this strange place by way of the water. But where was he? He didn’t think he wanted to try climbing the projectiles. Something told him what he wanted most to find was not above him, but rather below, in the water beneath his ledge.

There were a few thin trees and sparse vegetation scattered about the area. He walked around and came to a covered mound of moist earth, moss and leaves. It did not quite look like a natural formation. He bent toward it hesitantly and reached out to uncover what lay beneath the piled layers of moss and sea plants….

“Aragorn.” He spun around to find himself face to face with his lover. Legolas looked as he did before but the hues of his iridescent skin were even more profoundly vivid. The smallish gills fanned out delicately in a brilliance of sapphire blue at the curling edges. The electric blue eyes morphed from slits into orbs and back again. They were startlingly beautiful in the pale face.. The Ranger jerked his hand back as Legolas stood before him. The thick golden mane, streaked with rainbow light, stirred in the breeze.

“Legolas! What has happened? Why are we here, my love?” Aragorn asked quietly, in a cautious voice. This was too mysterious and not a little unsettling. He feared that he might be losing the Elf to this alien transformation in more ways than one.

“I brought you here…to see something.” But the Elf did not move. He seemed uncertain.

“Please, Legolas. Tell me what this is all about.” Aragorn said, feeling more and more afraid of what this could all mean. The Elf moved silently to the moist mound that for some reason had attracted the Man’s attention in the first place. He kneeled before the bundle and gently removed the layers of protective covering. At first Aragorn didn’t see anything. Then, at the Elf’s expectant attitude, he carefully leaned forward and saw what it was that the Elf treated with such reverence

Aragorn’s eyes widened in shock. He couldn’t quite comprehend it and looked at the Elf in disbelief.

Legolas looked back at him impassively but Aragorn could sense a silent anguish behind the alien silver orbs. The Elf waited for him to say something.

Finally, Aragorn found his voice. “Are they…are they what they look like?”

The Elf nodded. “They are ours, Aragorn.”

The Man sat down slowly next to the mound, in what might constitute profound shock. If he had time to indulge in such a thing, that is. For at that moment an eruption from the water told both Man and Elf that they were no longer alone.

Darrow appeared before them even as the Man and the Elf rose simultaneously to stand. Aragorn drew anduril. Instinctively, they moved as one to shield the nest from this predator.

The confrontation erupted quickly and was blinding fury. The Man could not remember much of what happened after Darrow approached them, black hair shining like the straight edge of a blade before his slitted silver eyes. He hissed at them before lunging at Legolas, claws extended. The Man tried valiantly to shield his mate but was swatted like an insect out of the predator’s way.

The Ranger remembered sailing through the air and a sharp pain flared in his side when he impacted with the wall. Then everything had gone black. He struggled to regain consciousness. He could feel the wound in his side and he could tell it was not good.

Aragorn felt blood pooling beneath him. The hot sticky fluid was spreading rapidly and he cursed, trying to pick himself up. He had to get to Legolas. But the Elf was nowhere to be seen. A mist rose from the ground and the atmosphere felt hot and thick in the man’s burning lungs. He sucked in air and tried to ignore the feeling that he wanted to retch. His head was pounding and his healer instincts told him he probably had a concussion. But that was not the worst of his problems. His ribs hurt with every attempt to breathe. He was in a bad way and still he had to protect his lover and …their children. There, he thought, that wasn’t so hard to say to himself. He glanced over at the soft weeping nest and could see the little round baubles within.

His heart started to hammer in his chest when he realized that Legolas was not there. There was no trace of either the Elf or of Darrow. Aragorn feared for his lover’s safety. Slowly Aragorn forced himself to claw his way over the rough ground towards the nest. It was only a short distance away and he was dismayed to find how badly his body hurt with the effort to pull himself to the small mound of earth, twigs, and sea plants. He paused to try to still his breathing then anxiously peered inside. He felt his heart begin to race as he carefully examined each precious little egg. He had not expected to feel protective of the small pearl like balls, each about the size of a walnut. There was nothing even remotely human, nor for that matter, elven, about any of this.

Yet these little darlings had come from his lover’s body. If they were Legolas’s offspring then they contained a part of him as well. He reflected on all the implications as he gazed at the little eggs. It dawned on the Ranger that for the first time in the history of the Xoan realm, Humanity was about to make its debut in the enchanted sea world and demand to be noticed. A small smile of pride emerged slowly upon his lips, looking down on the eggs fondly. Yes, he decided this might some day be looked upon as Middle Earth’s finest moment…the moment when the races of Elfkind and Humanity took a leap on the evolutionary ladder, to join the underwater realm of the Xanthi-xuan.. Aragorn’s and Legolas’s children would be a blending of the three races, and as such, peacemakers to forever challenge the prejudices that kept their worlds separate.

Aragorn reached out a gentle hand and stroked the eggs with the most feather-light of touches. And then his heart sank when he spied that one of the little eggs was torn and a pin prick amount of red blood was seeping through the crack. His felt his breath catch painfully at the sight and his vision blurred as tears came unbidden to his eyes. He extended a shaky finger to the little egg and stroked it tenderly as the pulsing bead of bright red blood continued to swell. “No…”

“I am so sorry, my little one…” he heard himself whisper out loud, tears forming in his eyes, as he helplessly watched the little egg die.

A crash behind him made him jump and he turned to block the nest with his body as Darrow Xu stood a mere few feet away from him.

“How touching, Elessar.” The Xu’s voice was mocking and harsh, an unnerving hissing sound accompanied the taunting words. “You surprise me. I did not think your species capable of such emotions. Tell the truth, it disgusts you, does it not?”

Aragorn did not answer. He was concentrating on moving his body and trying to muster the strength to stand and fight. He was NOT going to allow this foul creature to hurt his children. Not for anything would he stand by and let that happen.

“Where is Legolas?” he demanded.

Darrow was walking in a circle around him, noting with mild surprise that the man was dragging himself around, in a hopeless effort to block the nest with his own body.

“Distracted. He is becoming one of us, Man. Soon you will be a distant memory. You have lost him. “

“Never!” growled Aragorn, as he continued to shield the nest from Darrow’s approach.

Darrow smirked. “I hated you from the moment I saw you with my sister’s fair child. Now you will die. As will these abominations. Legolas of course will be mine, and soon the beautiful Prince will be heavy with my own offspring” He walked closer, eyeing the small nest which housed the pale cluster of eggs. “These however must not survive.” He gestured with disgust towards the nest that Aragorn was now huddled around. Evidently, the Man was willing to die in order to protect the nest of small treasures.

Darrow continued, pleased it seemed to see the look of rage and horror on the man’s face. “After all, it was beyond tolerance that my sister sullied our race by binding herself to an Elf. These children would be an even greater abomination…to bring Human elements into our realm? Ridiculous. I’m sure you can understand why they cannot be allowed to continue.”

Aragorn braced himself as the creature stepped closer to him. It was hopeless, he realized. He had not the strength to even stand. His eyes cast about frantically for anything that could help him. Anduril layed, uselessly, far above them on one of the stone ledges. How that had happened he could not recall. He wrapped himself as tightly as he could around the nest, wishing now more than ever that his human body could be made of sterner stuff. He lowered his head close to the eggs and whispered “I am sorry, my little ones. I wish I could have saved you. I love you and your… mother more than anything.” Aragorn closed his eyes as Darrow swooped down upon him, claws extended.

But the blow never came. Something brushed past his head and when he raised his eyes to look Darrow was on the ground, thrashing wildly against the vicious and merciless attack of the golden Prince. The long slender claws flashed in lightening strikes, faster than the man’s eyes could track, ripping open the dark one’s chest, slicing through the gilled throat, and ultimately disemboweling the fiend that threatened to kill his babies and his lover. Aragorn looked on in amazement at the carnage and felt pleased.

The Elf suddenly halted, lethal blade-like claws extended in mid strike as if, between one mad heartbeat and the next, a glimmer of sanity had returned to him. He was up from the mutilated corpse in a fluid movement and knelt by the man who was his mate.

Aragorn stared in awe at the mesmerizing silver eyes, the elegant fan like gills, the wild and incredibly sexy hair. The Elf’s skin was flushed to an iridescent violet, from the killing frenzy, looking like a god from some mythical race of sea creatures, the gills rippled excitedly. Aragorn reached a hand up to touch the enchanting face but the Elf recoiled. The silver eyes regarded him distantly as if he did not quite recognize the man any longer.

Aragorn suddenly had an uncomfortable lump in his throat and a prickling of fear went through him. Had he lost his Legolas? By giving in to the alien blood frenzy to protect his eggs had Legolas lost all vestiges of his own identity, all that was Elfkind. Was he finally transformed the way the mage had wanted…so immersed in the alien reverie of the Xanthi that his entire existence as an Elf and a Prince were gone from him?

Aragorn’s voice trembled, fearing to speak his lover’s name; fearing the lack of recognition in the ever more remote alien eyes. “Legolas?”

The silver eyes blinked in puzzlement, cat like slits, peered at him eerily. Aragorn felt tears fill his own eyes.

“My love,” he whispered, anguish pouring from ever cell of his body, “please, my love…” He begged the silver moon light being. “Try to remember me, Legolas. Try to remember us!”

But the creature before him regarded him with what looked to the man as curiosity but nothing more. Then in a lightening move the beautiful body was past him and examined the nest. Aragorn watched in painful heartbreak as the gently webbed hands, still covered in traces of blood from the brutal killing of only moments ago, tenderly pick up the now dead egg. Aragorn felt his own tears flow unchecked as a low wail emerged from the throat of his beloved. The Elf held the broken, bleeding egg gently in both hands, against his heaving chest. Aragorn could not refrain from placing a hand on the pearly blue shoulder. Instead of having the arm flung away, or ripped off, as Aragorn half expected, the sweet body of his lover leaned into him until the slim form was wrapped within the loving embrace of the man.

Aragorn held his beloved close to his heart, ignoring the pain in his body, and let his tears fall to merge with the Elf’s. He placed kisses to the smooth forehead and stroked the shaking body as the eerie wails echoed off the cavern walls. Aragorn spoke words of love into the sharply pointed ear. Slowly, the sobs subsided and the Elf pulled tiredly out of the man’s embrace.

“Legolas?” the man asked, hopeful for some kind of response. But the only action that the transformed Elf gave was to reverently place the body of the dead child into Aragorn’s hands, the egg was caked in a thick layer of dark blood.

“I know, my love, I know.” Aragorn said soothingly. “But our other children still live, and they will be beautiful,” he said, reverently stroking his lover’s pale face, “just like their mother.” The Elf smiled through his silvery tears. “And…and we will raise them together…” He looked into the shining face and saw wonder and gratitude flicker across the flawless beauty before him. Then the Elf leaned foreword and placed a fragrant kiss upon the human’s mouth, the mysterious scent of berries drifting to Aragorn’s nose and his head swooned. The kiss felt like goodbye. The Elf slipped from the man’s embrace with a tender touch on his face to wipe at the tears, “this is for the best” said his lover’s mind voice, before turning to gently scoop up the precious nest. Before Aragorn could react, his beloved gave him a sad smile just before dropping head first, soundlessly, under the surface of the pool below them, his precious cargo tucked within the protective circle of a slender pale arm.

“No!” screamed Aragorn. He lunged forward in a desperate attempt to catch the Elf but his weakened reflexes were too slow. He stared numbly at the misty rippling surface of the lake. “Legolas!” He yelled frantically, peering into the green water.

“Come back, my love,” he whispered, in anguish. “I told you I will stay with you and our children. Don’t take our babies away….”.

He peered into the dingy water, the mist rising off its green surface, but his human eyes could see nothing beyond the immediate few feet below him. A dwarvish curse scathed past his lips. Damn the Elf. He cursed again, leaning over the water, his nose an inch from the surface. His noble lover was going to spare him the humiliation of having an alien mate and alien children. The Prince was leaving him, again, and taking their alien offspring to some unknown place…

NO! thought Aragorn. He was not going to allow this. By the Blasted Ring, no. He would defy anyone in Middle Earth to say he, King Elessar, could not keep his family with him. Damn Legolas, anyway, for always choosing the path of self-sacrifice. He shrugged off his clothing and emptied his lungs. Then inhaled.

His lungs burned as he filled them with the noisome air and he dove under the warm slick surface, saying a silent prayer to the Valar that he not drown. He was chasing after the Elf again! He let his weight take him down into the dark depths and vowed to teach his Elf a lesson, when they got back to Gondor that the noble Prince would not soon forget. His self righteous anger kept him from despairing as he sank deeper into the thickening darkness of the lake, trying not to think about the fact that he might not have enough air to kick his way back up to the surface.

CHAPTER 12

The water world swirled with brilliant colors before his shifting alien eyes. He could see the strangely organic shapes of habitats that shimmered and changed configuration before his scrutinizing gaze. Were they really there or was it an illusion? Spiraling towers of gold and silver winked in and out of reality. Crystal spires and crescent arches all glowed with an inner light.

He swam towards the magnificent realm that glittered like a diamond. The water was warm and inviting. He felt his body grow more relaxed despite the strangeness of where he was going, the strangeness even of himself. He stretched to his full length, luxuriating in the feel of the water around his lean frame. The alien landscape of the city stretched before him, more and more solid it seemed, as his eyes adjusted to the new wavelength of light. He suspected all this would be invisible to his normal Elf vision. But to the continuous shifting harmonics of his new eyes he could see in frequencies that perhaps no Elf had ever before perceived. The vista of the lighted city was sheer beauty. Music drifted to his elongated pointed ears upon the water, or perhaps it just filled his head, but they were the most hauntingly beautiful strains that he had ever heard. Darrow had told him the beauty of Xanthi was unparalleled. Legolas was inclined to agree.

He propelled himself effortlessly with a mild swish of his powerful long tail. Almost absent mindedly, not really wanting to take his eyes off the shining city, which loomed closer, he cast a quick look down at his transformed body. His electric eyes widened in shock. A magnificent strong tail, rippled with precise, quick and delicate movements where his legs had once been. His smoothly muscled torso, chest and arms were the same except for the iridescent rainbow sheen of the skin. His hair floated around him in a cloud of gold that shone in the darkness like a beacon. But that tail was enormous. One long lean muscle, it progressively tapered gracefully from the sensual full swell of his hips and pale rounded buttocks. The huge fin plumed out at the end majestically, a transluce violet blue.. Hmmm. Interesting. He flicked the tail experimentally, reveling in the powerful feeling of propelling himself through the water. The alien sensation was exhilarating. He smiled as he performed an acrobatic loop in the water. A swirl of gold silk and violet gossamer chased each other as his streaming mane flow out behind him. The plume of the tail rippled sinuously over his head in the circular maneuver. He tried it again in the other direction, then side ways, trying to catch the long elegant plume with his fingers. Its feathery, brilliantly violet and purple fringe brushed his fingers and he marveled at the ticklish sensation that the tail sent to his brain. What would Aragorn have said about this, he wondered.

Thoughts of his mate brought his joyful antics to a sudden stop. Aragorn! The name caused instant anguish to flood his heart. He would probably never see his Human again. If his new eyes were capable of tears they would be instantly lost in the watery realm he now inhabited. Perhaps the Xuan were cold blooded in more ways than one. Perhaps they did not experience pain at losing a love. Perhaps in their cold beauty they did not really know the pleasures that hot blooded races knew. Darrow had seemed to know what hate was but did these merpeople know what love was? Since his transformation, he felt removed from his emotions. Was this sadness a last remnant of Elfkind; some small part trying to hold on to a semblance of his former self?

Legolas looked down at the little nest of eggs, still huddled protectively in the crook of his arm. He felt love bloom in his heart for his offspring. It hurt to think they would never know their father, or that Aragorn would not know his offspring. Legolas felt terribly alone all of a sudden. He missed Aragorn. He did not want to go to this strange beautiful new world alone. He needed to be with his Human!

But the thought plunged him to a new level of despair. His long beautifully plumed tail drifted before him. He could never go back. Could he? He did not know what he was, but clearly, he was no longer an Elf. He was a sea creature. His world and that of the Man he loved would be forever separated. Tears did form this time, in the blue orbs of his Elf eyes but they dissolved before they could coalesce into discreet drops of pain.

His vision momentarily blurred, nonetheless. He thought he was misperceiving shapes in the water when he first spied the long shape that grew larger as he blinked to clear his eyes. The being approached swiftly. Her tail was long and powerful, edged in golden highlights as was his own. Her hair floated about her like a golden cloud. Her eyes were blue. Her smile was…unmistakable.

“Nana….” He said/thought. She smiled lovingly, adoration in her blue silver eyes. She held out her arms and he was instantly pulled into the warm embrace. Smells were different in this watery world just as every other manner of sensing and perceiving. Yet his brain told him this was her familiar smell, one of astars and lilacs. Mirkwood smells! He felt a pang of longing for his home, and his Ada. The familiar arms wrapped around him, after a thousand years of absence, and he felt his tears dissolve unnoticed in the watery world around them as he buried his face in her hair. .

“My Elfling,” she crooned in his mind. “My beautiful child….how I have missed you…My child,” she pulled him back a little to look into his face, “I am so proud of you, little Greenleaf.” Then she looked at the little bundle in his arms and lifted the nest from him. She smiled a brilliant smile and his heart blossomed. “Nanath!”

She nodded in understanding. So much to say but there was no need for words in their magical watery realm. Her arms wrapped around her son, and he entwined himself into her embrace. Their bodies slipped into an ancient dance, more ancient even than the elves. Tails sinuously slipped around each other into one dynamic coil, blond hair of slightly differing hues blended together, and they drifted soundlessly upon the current. A mind song weaved a gentle web as images were exchanged and memories shared.

Darrow, her brother, had learned of her union with the Elf King and came to retrieve her. The images of that day poured from her mind to his. She had already been with the Elf Lord for many turns of the moon and sun, celestial bodies which in her world had no meaning. She had become an Elf to be with her elven lover. And as an Elf, she bore the Elf King a son. In an act of mercy, Darrow had agreed not to kill the young Prince on the condition that she and the babe returned to their watery realm. An image of a proud Thranduil, anguished and beaten down, filled Legolas’s mind. The profound sadness around this memory was his Naneth’s. She loved her Elf King, and grieved to see him defeated. It was not in her mate’s nature to accept defeat but fear for Legolas’s safety required that he do so.

“But why, then, did you not take me with you, Nana?” Legolas asked.

The answer came in a wordless understanding that he, conceived and born in the physical form of an Elf, could not have survived the transformation into a merchild of the Xuan before reaching his maturity. It also meant that his offspring, conceived and delivered in the form of a Xuan, would not survive living as surface dwellers until they matured enough to make the transition to Elfkind.

Legolas looked down at the little pearl eggs with sadness and love. His Naneth stroked his cheek tenderly. He understood something else. His children had to remain in the water world in order to survive and grow. He however had the choice of living in the sea with them, or on land with his lover. Legolas looked at the blue eyes of his mother and realized in that moment, she was more Elfkind than he was himself. He was losing himself to this transformation. And he did not want that. He did not belong in this world. He belonged with Aragorn. He looked down at the babes, cradled in their nest, in his Naneth’s arms. His fingers lingered over them, lovingly.

At that moment his mother unfurled her long tail from his with a sudden look of urgency in her blue silver orbs. An image of Aragorn filled Legolas’s mind. Legolas gasped in horror. Aragorn was drifting into the black coldness of what would soon be a watery grave.

In the space of one second, mother and son embraced tightly, for one last time. It was enough, for in it was contained a life time of love and devotion: I will always be with you….your babies will grow to be leaders of a new generation in Xanthi. They are children of a new race, a joining of Xuon, Elfkind, and Humanity. Legolas smiled. He knew he would see her again. He would see his babes again, one day.

He bent to kiss each of the eggs, placed securely in the protective arms of his Naneth. Then he turned to look into his Naneths eyes and she kissed him on the forehead, on each cheek and brushed his lips tenderly with hers. “Hurry, now.” She whispered in his mind. He turned with purpose away from her then.

Like a streak of fire through the dark waters, his powerful tail propelled him with the unearthly strength and speed of the merpeople. He sliced through the water like a living blade, his sharp cat like eyes picked out the dark motionless form of the man, falling slowly through the black water.

Within the span of a few seconds, he was at the Man’s side, strong pale arms wrapped around the motionless form. A strong push of the powerful fin propelled them up to the surface. Their heads exploded through to the air above, a blast of cold hitting them in the face. He hauled the man over the edge and leaning his upper body over Aragorn, he put his mouth to the Man’s. He pinched the nose shut and Legolas sent a lung full of air into his lover’s chest. The Man coughed and sputtered, a bubbling of greenish water poured out of his mouth and nose, and then he gulped in large gasping lung fulls of air.

“Aragorn? Are you all right?” The Elf’s voice sounded unusual to his own ears. The sounds above the surface of the water bounced harshly in the cavern, assaulting his ultra sensitive hearing.

The Man coughed and tried to catch his breath. After long moments of labored breathing, the Man steadied himself enough to look at the Elf. His eyes spoke of intense relief. But there was reproach in them as well. He softened it with a smile and croaked, “My love, we need to have a talk about this tendency you have for running off.”

Legolas smiled at the familiar teasing tone and stroked the Man’s face lovingly, brushing damp brown curls off the forehead. “I promise, Aragorn, I’ll never leave you again.” He leaned forward and kissed his Human on the lips with passion.

“Legolas, my love,” the man said, tentatively, when the kiss ended. “Do you have a tail?”

Legolas smiled ruefully. “Yes.” He answered simply.

“Oh. …” then after a few moments, “Well, I never planned on admitting this to you before, but …under the circumstances, I guess I can now tell you…” The Elf frowned marginally and waited for the Man to continue. With a straight face, Aragorn delivered his punch line: “I have always wanted to live at the shore….” The man smiled. His hand was embedded firmly in the damp golden locks, as if fearing his Elf would slip off again, and pulled his beautiful mate into a kiss.

Aragorn straightened and sat up suddenly. “Legolas,” he said urgently, “where are the children?”

Legolas placed a calm hand on the man’s chest. “They are safe, my love. They are with my Naneth!”

Aragorn stared at him, speechless. “Your Naneth? How can it be?”

“She was forced to return to her people, Aragorn. But she loved my Ada, and he loved her. Now our children will be raised by her and they will one day be leaders to bring our peoples together.” A silver tear rolled down the Elf’s shining face and the man reached over the edge to embrace his love. Aragorn pulled back and looked curiously down his lover’s waist which was darkly violet. The rest of his lover’s body disappeared under the water’s surface.

Aragorn looked at his lover and slipped his own body into the water. Legolas looked at him in wonder and slight trepidation. Then he smiled at the game look in the Man’s eyes. Aragorn took a deep breath and allowedd his lover to take them both under the surface. His Human eyes adjusted to the darkness as they lingered only a few feet from the air above them. Legolas glided a couple of feet away from the man and performed a graceful loop in the water, displaying the long muscled limb, which glittered in brilliant hues of blue and purple, the enormous feathery plume splayed open, tendrils of purple, blue, green and streaks of gold floated proudly before the man’s rapt perusal. The Elf’s golden, waist long hair created a circle of golden flame in the water around him.

The Human gazed with wide eyes at the mythical legend come to life. Merpeople were thought to have existed long ago, but like dragons, had slowly faded to be nothing more than memory or myth.

He was running out of air and moved quickly to the surface to refill his lungs. The Elf was suddenly in his arms. The held each other and the Elf whispered, “I have come back to you, my Aragorn. Your love has brought me back. When I leave this pool, I will be Elfkind again. Tell me know what you want. If you want me, Aragorn, I will leave our children with Nana, and return with you to Gondor.”

Aragorn held his Elf’s strange new body close to him, wrapping his human legs around the long powerful tail. He looked deeply into the moon-orbed eyes and stroked the soft bluish pale skin of the perfect face.

“I want you my Legolas. As much, if not more, than I ever did. You are mine my Prince. I never want to live without you. Even if you stayed like this, I would have Gandalf put an enchantment on me so I could breathe water and swim by your side.”

Tears slid down the Elf’s cheeks and he brought webbed hands to stroke the man’s face. Aragorn continued, “You tell me, my love. What do you want? I am loath to be parted from our children. Can you leave them here, with your Naneth, and come to live in Gondor with me? Is there no way for us all to be together?”

“Nay, my love. They were conceived in me, as I am now, more or less. They are more Xuan than Elf or Human and wont have the power to change until they are mature. They must stay here.”

Legolas slipped his arms around Aragorn’s neck, knowing in his heart, that he could not be parted from his Human. Aragorn saw the need and the devotion in the eyes that had become familiar to him now. He hugged the Elf to him, and taking another long lung full of air, slipped with his Mer-Elf under the water again. His hands now traveled boldly over his lover’s body. Down the iridescent chest, his finger’s moved with purpose to brush past the nipples to the waist where the scales thickened a bit. The swell of the hips and round inviting mounds of the buttocks were shear intoxication. As his fingers traced the outline of the crevice between the cheeks, the plumed tail arched and coiled around him, creating an inviting separation between the two moon shaped mounds.

The Man’s limited amount of oxygen caused a certain necessity for expediency. His fingers dipped curiously into the inviting warmth, easily breaching the ring of muscle and kneaded the smooth channel within his lover’s transformed body. The Elf’s eyes became wide electric blue orbs, and his mouth opened in a silent “oh…” underneath the water. Aragorn found the added element of oxygen depletion strangely exhilarating in the already bizarre and exciting situation.

Necessity forced him to resurface to take in more air, but this time when he returned to his prepared lover, the Man met his mate with all the gusto he could have ever hoped for. Like an expert swimmer, Aragorn, turned the Elf easily in the water, and released his own stiff organ from the confines of his clothing, and wasted no time finding the entrance to his lover’s new body. Aragorn plunged his cock into the warm tightness, between the round iridescent cheeks. The long tail curled in and Legolas grabbed it to his chest, in both his arms, so that the gorgeous gossamer plume floated above their heads. The slick narrow channel pulsed around the Man’s cock and Aragorn plunged deeply into the prone, opened body. The Man held onto the Elf by the waist and effortlessly pushed and pulled the Elf’s body to sink his organ deeper at a different angle. The body in his arms jerked and the feathery plume rippled in violets and golds above their heads, brushing Aragon’s hair.

Legolas felt as though he would explode from the intensity of pleasure, as his lover’s thick Human shaft penetrated him. The Man, undeterred by the fact that they were submerged in cold water, worked the Elf’s new body as surely as if it were a fine instrument that he had played on his entire life. He pulled out and then plunged back into the hot tunnel, then rotated and drove in deeper still. The Elf jerked violently and the tail flicked around reflexively, almost dislodging the Man altogether. As Aragorn rode him harder, he reached up and grasped the sensitive feathery plume.

Aragorn rippled his fingers through the delicate fringe, noticing the immediate response in his lover’s movements then unexpectedly yanked the tail down over their heads, forcing the Elf’s jerking body to open more fully. Aragorn plunged into the tight channel, determined on possessing his mate thoroughly. His shaft slide easily all the way into the spasming opening, ignoring the jerking movements of the helpless Elf, until they both came explosively. The Elf’s organ thrust through the creviced folds of skin at the “v” of the groin, as his seed spurted like glowing rivulets of milk into the water. The Man’s hot seed burned inside his cool body. Almost immediately however, Aragorn yanked himself out roughly and bobbed to the surface, frantic for air. Legolas joined him, fatigued and exhilarated all at the same time.

They clung to each other in the water, their heads, above the surface, resting on each other’s shoulders.. The man drew in deep breaths and Legolas sighed contentedly.

“After this, Aragorn, I will never harbor any doubts as to whether you truly love me.” Legolas smiled against the Man’s bare skin.

“Never doubt it,” said the Man. “I don’t want to live with out you.”

Legolas pulled back to look at the Ranger, “And you never will.” He pulled his Human into a kiss that was a promise for the future.

FIFTY YEARS LATER….

Three travelers crossed the border into Gondor. They were said to be diplomats from a distant land, bound for a meeting with the King and the Royal Consort.

All who saw them remarked on their unearthly beauty. Their tanned human skin offset the blue steel of their eyes. They stopped frequently to talk with the people who lived and worked on the land. Their manner was friendly and curious. They smiled easily and laughed much as humans do. But the mild points of their ears which peeked through the unusual rainbow luster of their brilliantly golden hair, pointed to the fact that they were not human.

The were said to be peacemakers; while others remarked on their diplomacy, suggesting they would bring potential for new trade to Gondor; other’s noted that they seemed to be versed in the healing arts, and while they looked and spoke like elves, they clearly were not.

The King and His Consort had remained steadfastly quiet about the imminent arrival of these mysterious guests. Still, to Faramir and the now loyal council of advisors, it was evident that the news of these three travelers was a cause of great excitement among the Royal Couple. Faramir would be patient. He sensed something of great importance was about to happen. The King and Prince were known for being unconventional and while this made some nervous, the Royal Couple had won the hearts of the people long ago. And Faramir had learned to trust in Gondor’s wise monarchs to tell him everything….all in good time, just as it should be.

The End

 

 

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