Sixth Element
by Ana Library Elf

Created for the 2007 LAS Anonathon

Find all 32 Participants at:

Author's Note: My assignment was from the artistic Romansel and her request was for: "A hurt/comfort story where Aragorn comforts Legolas. I'm fond of non-con or VERY serious physical and emotional hurt. I love romance and sexual and emotional healing."

I do enjoy the Elf and Man as a truly *archetypical* pairing. There is much value in *ahem* classical explorations so I went down that path. Thank you for walking with me!

Ana Library Elf --- April 2007

:Email: lib_elf AT
Beta: Chloe Amethyst (the patient and so very knowledgeable!)
Rating: R (fairly hard)
Type: FPS
Pairing: L/A, L/OMC Cast: A/L/G & Other humans

Warnings: Non-con, Character death (temporary, *not to worry* it's all better by the end!)
Disclaimer: Do not own the characters, no profit, only sweat. ((!!))
Feedback: Very appreciated.
Archive: Nectar, OEAM, LAS-LJ, and my own LJ: Other slash appropriate sites are welcome, just LMK?
Summary: H/C, Post ROTK. AU. The King and his Elf are ensnared by an ancient ritual. (slight nod to the movie "Fifth Element") Body and spirit are challenged in a life threatening journey to healing.


Chapter 1 Confrontation

The first rays of Anor penetrated a forest glade where a unique band broke camp with the easy efficiency of long association. The man, Elf, and dwarf had quietly departed Minas Tirith the week before when the new King of Gondor had decided to see for himself how his land was recovering and to make an anonymous exploration of nearby territory.

Unwilling to let the king travel alone, his two most trusted advisors accompanied him in much the same manner as when they had all been a part of the Fellowship. Their attire was simple and they appeared unusual only because of their diverse races. They were ensconced deep in supposedly uninhabited foothills and were actually enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. Winter was almost over and the day promised a hint of spring warmth in the healing land of fourth age Middle-earth.

As the light increased, each individual completed a task in companionable silence broken only by the melodic humming of the Elf, who could not resist greeting the day with harmony. The dwarf glanced up as the musical sound soared into song and addressed the man in mock annoyance, "Tell me, is he singing to us, or to the trees?!"

The new King of Men smiled. "Undoubtedly the trees. And they are likely singing to him, although we cannot hear it." His eyes lingered appreciatively on the willowy green and gold figure, enjoying the play of light and shadow on exquisite features that never failed to astonish him with the beauty and grace they added to his life. He noted the alert stance and a piercing blue gaze turned in his direction.

"Aragorn, strangers approach and the forest is uneasy."

"That bodes ill for our peace," replied the human wryly and without further discussion all three warriors faced outward with weapons drawn. They made an impressive picture as a large number of armed tribal horsemen cantered into the clearing and quickly surrounded them. The glint on the dwarf's formidable axe matched the steel in royal gray eyes and equally imposing sword. The archer's taught bow was the final sight that gave the intruders pause.

A brown clad human leader reigned in and spoke first. "You have entered our land without permission. By our laws we could have killed you."

Aragorn shifted warily, "But you did not. We had no understanding this was your region – and outside Gondor's rule."

"We do not acknowledge Gondor. The Talbryn keep to themselves and belong to no one."

The Gondoran ruler assessed their outnumbered status and decided *against* disclosing his identity. Gimli hefted his axe a notch higher and Legolas stood like a guardian statue with his arrow perfectly aligned between the leader's eyes.

The resolute man spoke again. "You are trespassers. Surrender now and avoid bloodshed."

Aragorn glanced to the right and left and silently requested a diversion. One eyebrow arched as Legolas whistled a series of trilling notes and their two battle trained steeds exploded into action. Rearing and charging into the enemy, Arod and Brego scattered the other horses and unseated several riders. In a galloping escape, their mounts succeeded in totally disorganizing the opposition and allowed the companions a strategic retreat.

The warriors climbed an incline and Aragorn surged vigorously ahead, assisting the protesting dwarf more quickly up the hill. Greenwood arrows sang a deadly song as the Elf shot behind them and yet few missiles were fired in return. Shouts echoed in the trees to their left, so they angled to the right and headed for more cover.

The King of Men muttered most un-royal curses and commented, "These arrogant hill dwellers wish to be left alone and yet continue the chase!"

Gimli sputtered, "Cease pulling and I'll show you who will be left alone!"

Missing not a beat, Legolas grabbed the dwarf's other arm, "Nay Master Dwarf, we will make our stand from higher ground."

Emerging onto a boulder strewn hilltop, the former ranger observed little chance of escape in a circle of tumbled rocks and a sheer escarpment on the far side. They were effectively cornered between approaching tribesmen and natural barriers. He quickly added up the facts.

"Their objective is capture and we were driven into a trap. I deem we have a moment to decide which one holds the rope while Gimli descends the cliff."

Disengaging his bow hand for an instant, Legolas tossed a coil of Elven rope to his captain.

Gimli bristled, "Nay Aragorn, a dwarf does not flee from enemies, I will *not* desert –"

"Tis not desertion, I need you to bring rescue. You are best able to conquer the stone face and take word to Minas Tirith. Think my friend. One must hold, one must defend, and one must depart – or we are all lost."

The dwarf growled in frustration and effortlessly hurled two large chunks of gray rock toward enemy climbers. "It will go hard with them should harm come to either of you."

Aragorn knew that was all the consent he would receive and knotted a loop while Legolas continued firing. "Agreed, and it will cost them dearly to take us now. Travel swiftly, and return with our soldiers." He clasped Gimli's forearm in a quick soldier's embrace, held tight to the rope and watched the dwarf's sturdy form disappear reluctantly over the edge.

The king felt the supple warmth of his companion at his back and heard the hiss of knives being drawn.

"Estel, they are upon us," whispered the Elf calmly and then events happened very quickly.


Chapter 2 Incarceration

They were prisoners. It had required ten of the tribesmen to take down the Elf who had fought like an avenging Vala when he saw his captain fall. It was clear the Talbryn wanted them alive, but given such fierce resistance collateral damage was inevitable.

Aragorn leaned wearily against the stone wall of their cell and cradled Legolas' head and shoulders in his lap, absently threading his fingers through stained golden strands. The Silvan had taken sword cuts and heavy blows as he was subdued and a spreading purple bruise marred one alabaster temple. The Elf remained motionless with ink-dark lashes a stark contrast on an utterly blanched face.

The Dunadan worried about a probable concussion, checked makeshift bandages yet again and traced Legolas' sculptured jaw line over and over. The "hands of the king" had done their best, and he hoped the vitality of the Eldar would help the archer survive. He had seen his prince recover from other battle injuries, but these were severe. His own wounds were not minor and he struggled to maintain focus as he contemplated their situation. Anger would not serve and depending upon what their captors had in store, they would have to hold on until Gimli arrived. The king was grateful for the dwarf's apparent escape and offered a fervent prayer to Lord Aule for his safety.

The ponderous sound of a lock being turned interrupted his thoughts and the heavy door swung open. The patrol leader entered followed by an austere individual in long robes and elaborate headdress. Subtle malice emanated from the cold, aristocratic features but the horseman eyed the captives with what Aragorn read as sympathy. The Dunadan made no move to rise, merely sat straighter and wrapped his arms more securely around precious Firstborn flesh.

The tall one spoke arrogantly. "The gods have sent you to fulfill our needs." The shaman stepped closer and stared down his long nose. "The growing season draws near and we require certain ingredients to complete our renewal ceremony. It will be the first time in many years that an immortal sixth element is present." Apprehension stirred in the king's mind, but he was wise enough to keep silent and learn as much as he could. "A pity the pretty Elf was damaged, but he will do – and so will you, dusty stranger."

Aragorn carefully set Legolas aside, slowly stood, and braced between his friend and the tribesmen. Inwardly seething, he kept his voice neutral, "Of what ceremony do you speak?"

The priest drew himself up and swelled with pride. "Since before Gondor was named, the rite of the elements has blessed the Talbryn. For ages, earth, air, fire, water, blood, and seed have insured our fertile harvest.” He warmed to the tale, “In the past, immortal vitality protected our land but when the shadow spread we relied upon our own people. Now the darkness is gone, and behold, the gods have delivered two valuable gifts. This year, you and your Firstborn companion will have the honor of contributing to the ritual."

The Dunadan's expression was grim, "We are not willing, nor do we believe in your ritual," he snapped as two large soldiers entered and hovered intimidatingly.

The shaman turned petulant, "Your belief is not needed. However certain bodily essences are required and your – er, cooperation might make the process less painful." A jeweled hand waved toward the captives.

As the guards loomed over the unconscious Elf, the king suddenly connected the meaning of "bodily essence" and fertility ritual. Alarm surged through his senses.

"Hold! Do *not* touch him!" he cried, and such was the command in his voice that the men actually paused. Aragorn took a defensive stance but in dismay felt his injured strength failing. One soldier easily took him in a throat lock while the other carefully lifted the comatose archer. The room began to spin, and he heard the smug voice speak once more.

"We will be doing much more than touch. Take them to be prepared."


Chapter 3 Respite

He was floating in an aching darkness. Ebbing in and out of awareness, he heard voices.

"So this is the one." Gentle hands spread his long limbs on a soft surface. "Quite lovely." The hands moved across his face, and brushed tangled hair from a delicate ear, "By the gods, this is an Elf! Is the shaman mad?!" A feminine voice questioned and was answered thusly, "Because the ritual may cause the Firstborn's death! And bring misfortune to us all."

Legolas tried to stir, to speak, to try and ask what was happening. He felt mired in quicksand, unable to do more than turn his head and whisper one word, "Estel?" A cup was pressed to his lips and something medicinal slid down his throat.

"Hush golden one, this will ease the pain and even if you do not live past the morrow, we will make you comfortable." The other voice sounded bitter, "It is our job to provide healing but the shaman twists everything for his own use."

This time he floated on a cloud, and the hands that moved over his body brought no more hurt.

The prisoners had been taken to a house of healing connected to a temple in the center of the Talbryn stronghold. Aragorn was in the same room, had also been treated, and overheard part of the conversation. The healer's words matched his own suspicions and he grew desperate thinking of some way to escape. The man's heart lurched when he heard his name spoken by the archer and he wanted more than anything to rise and go to him – but now was not the time.

He feigned sleep as he watched the couple in blue robes work over Legolas. The man and woman were quite competent and when they were done the Elf was clean, re-bandaged, extremely pale, but still a wondrous sight. He lay gracefully displayed on white sheets, wearing only bandages, glowing skin and long, unbound hair. Aragorn found his eyes traveling the length of the fair form and inwardly burned with thoughts far from present distress. He was half ashamed of such desires, but began to admit deeper feelings for his Elf and finally decided life affirming energy could only help.

The two attendants spent a long moment contemplating the glamour of the Firstborn and then the woman Asa turned and spoke. "You are his friend 'Estel' and care strongly for him, do you not?"

Aragorn blinked in surprise and realized the Talbryn were more observant than he thought and at least these healers seemed sympathetic. "Aye, Legolas is my companion at arms and we have been as brothers for many years."

The other eyed him intently. "We ask this because for both of you to survive, you will have to become *more* than brothers. Do you know what the shaman intends to take from you?"

"He named blood and seed, which I can spare, but the Elf cannot. He needs blood to heal and as for seed, surely you know the fate of the Eldar if they are violated?"

The two healers exchanged glances. "We do. This is not something of which we approve, and the priest thinks to add to his own power by using the immortal's vital essence. There are others who believe it is time for Eunan to step down."

Aragorn leaned forward and his head swam with possibilities for neither he nor the archer were strong enough to fight. "Can you or the others help us escape? Or stop the ritual?"

Jason shook his head. "I am sorry, no. Our plans for change will go into effect after the ceremony. Unfortunately, tonight we must provide the shaman with proof of the Elf's potency."

"What?!" growled the Dunadan, "You intend to – ?!" and despite lingering weakness he stood and reached for the nearest heavy object.

"Calm yourself!" cried Asa, "We must speak of this. A sample is all that is needed, and if *you* are engaged in the taking, the Firstborn may not suffer. And – it may prepare him for more extreme measures tomorrow. During the ritual your relationship may be all that stands between Legolas and the halls of Mandos."

The Dunadan sat down abruptly, first pale then flushed with realization. His thoughts churned – he was going to be intimate with the Elf in the way he had been imagining! No, he could not violate their sacred friendship. But if he did not, then someone else would. He went to the prince's side and took a slender hand in both his rough ones.

"Mellon nin, I do not know if you can hear me but I cannot let you fade without a struggle. Forgive me for taking what you may not wish to give." To his surprise, long, pale fingers curled round his wrist and refused to let go.

He looked to the healers, "Can he understand me?"

Jason frowned, "I am not sure. He is heavily sedated, but one never knows with the Eldar. It could be the comforting sound of your voice, or you are more favored than you realize."

The Dunadan smile ruefully, "Nay, Legolas is a pure soul far above my reach. He trusts me and that may help us succeed."

"I think you underestimate yourself," Asa sighed, "Very well, let us proceed."

The healers took positions on both sides of the luminous body and bade Aragorn stand where gilt strands spilled off the table, directing him to lay hands upon archery strengthened shoulders. The subtle fragrance that was Legolas wafted around the king and he leaned over to inhale.

Jason spoke calmly, "As healers we will do this as quickly and painlessly as possible. It is your touch and voice that will reassure the Elf that it comes from you."

A blue linen cloth was draped across Legolas' bent knees and his captain had the eerie feeling of witnessing a birth as the healer's hands became busy hidden from view. The Elf began to shift restlessly and Aragorn was hard pressed to restrain him without endangering new bandages. Further activity beyond the cloth brought small keening gasps from Legolas, who was still partially sedated, but now twisting great handfuls of the sheets.

Asa looked into the Dunadan's troubled eyes, "A little more, we are almost there." She observed red stains on one of the bandages and spoke sharply, "You must calm him – speak, touch, draw his attention!"

The king bent swiftly to a leaf shaped ear, whispering he knew not what, and hung onto slim wrists for dear life. The Elf's chest was heaving and abruptly Aragorn faced hugely dilated indigo eyes that regarded him with painful bewilderment.

"Estel!" panted the archer, "What is this?" The musical voice was heartrending, "I feel – lost – I am – I – am – undone!" and as flushed pink lips parted on an agonized cry, the king did the only thing he could think of and covered the sweet orifice with his own mouth and took in all the fear and torment in an endless, passionate kiss that went on forever. Time and the lovers seemed to hold a sustained breath.

A rainbow blossomed behind Aragorn's eyes and expanded to touch white light somewhere just above his head. He was still aware of tasting petal softness and yet also visualized another collection of coruscating color, a spiral shape that swirled around his rainbow consciousness and filled him with the most amazing sensation of unconditional acceptance and warmth. In wondering awe Aragorn recognized the spiral was Legolas' fea reaching out in total commitment. There was no holding back, no reluctance to acknowledge the mutual encounter that was forging a bond of – true love! The Elf had always loved him, and only now in deepest need had that devotion been revealed. He felt truly blessed.

Rainbow and spiral shape danced in a spectrum of all colors and created a circle of clear light that enveloped them both. The bond was real and true and would always be within reach, just as their souls would now always know the trust of complete commitment and passion. Their love was meant to be and Arda itself exhaled in relief as the cycle of real time resumed.

Jason exclaimed, "There! We are done. Thank blessed Elbereth and the virility of the Eldar!" and he folded the blue cloth on a substantial amount of wetness that would easily attest to the Firstborn's potency. The caregiver looked up to find the man on his knees beside the Elf, draped over the glistening white abdomen, and both were blissfully asleep.

The healers were somewhat puzzled by their patients' abrupt somnolent state, and even more surprised to find that under the reddened bandages the wounds on the archer had almost healed. The sensed something special had happened and were grateful that the two were in better health, for the trial of the ceremony loomed ominously on the horizon.


Chapter 4 The Ritual of the Elements

In the temple courtyard Eunan fussed impatiently as the acolytes brought forth tall urns that contained the ritual elements of earth, air, fire and water. In the center of the square formed by the urns were two "X" shaped slabs of white granite carved with channels meant to hold human forms: the fifth and sixth elements (blood and essence) It was three days since the gods had delivered the last two "ingredients" – for that was how the shaman thought of the Elf and man, and he was eager to conduct the rite and feel the power that would be created when all his pieces were in place. And if truth be known, he was also eager to have the Elf, for the Firstborn was like no other being he had ever encountered – and he longed for a taste of the fey creature. Normally he would not soil himself with the "extraction" process, but in this case, he would make an exception.

The assembled crowd was restless and not as respectful as Eunan would have liked. Of late, the populace had chafed under the strict rule of the priests, questioning why the rationing continued when clearly the shadow was gone and the hills were blooming again. The shaman vowed to show them the true meaning of Talbryn strength, for today they would learn what it meant to have a fully empowered leader. He gestured imperiously, and the ceremony was underway.

A circle of red robed priests emerged from one door, and a similar group of blue advanced from the other. They stopped inside the square and parted. Left standing alone were two tall figures draped in white capes that emphasized their different coloration, and yet similar dignity of appearance. The man's chestnut hair and beard were thick and fiery in the sunlight, and his clear gray eyes pierced the furthest reach of the courtyard with a steel bright gaze. A white hood partially concealed the second figure, but it could be seen that he was as ethereally cool as the man was warm, and ultramarine eyes shown in a face that promised unusual beauty when more fully exposed.

Acolytes approached and with a great flourish whirled away the concealing fabric. The Shaman intoned, "Behold the Fifth and Sixth Elements." There was a collective gasp as the stunning naked splendor of both beings was revealed. Standing before them were two of the most glorious warriors of the fourth age. The man was like a proud flame, resplendently male and noble from every angle. The appearance of the Elf was breathtaking as his aureate hair bannered on the breeze and radiant skin clothed him in a glow far more brilliant than any mortal raiment. A murmur ebbed back and forth across the plaza as the assembly marveled at the acquisition of an immortal sixth element. Speculation could he heard that this might be one of the most impressive blessing ceremonies in Talbryn history. Eunan was pleased.

Blue eyes shared a secret smile with gray, and took comfort from the heartfelt connection that even now resonated like a thrumming silver cord between them. Before the ceremony began, the healers had explained the tradition that allowed the "elements" to extract the designated essence from each other. It should not prove harmful when the archer drew blood from the man, nor when the king took the Elf to produce the "vital essence." Their bond was true and would insure survival.

However, as they were lead to the granite blocks, the Elf felt an ancient prick of fear at being pressed to cold stone and risked a swift glance of apprehension at the man. Restraint was not part of the description. Asa had not mentioned heavy leather cuffs and chains for the Elf that essentially spread-eagled him in a helpless, vulnerable position. The king was also being strapped down and this was definitely not according to plan.

Eunan stepped close to the stretched Elf and ran an appreciative hand down a lush thigh, enjoying quick tension in the cuffed leg. He spoke softly, "Delightful. Today you will produce much essence fair one, for I shall honor your body personally." He took additional twisted pleasure at the look of real anguish that flashed across refined features. He turned proudly to the crowd and allowed the hovering acolytes to remove his outer cape and reveal a long black robe slit to display a very prominent erection. After an initial cheer, the Talbryn grew quiet, for never before had a shaman taken congress with one of the elements, and especially an immortal one.

Aragorn had not resisted the priests until he felt the electric stab of emotional pain through his link to Legolas. Up to this point, he was willing to go along with variations in the ritual and relied on the healers' assurance that Eunan was shortly to be ousted and the new regime would release them. He was not fully connected to the slab when the prince's distress drew his eye to the horrifying vision of the straining, gleaming body being caressed by cruelly invasive touch.

Eunan was kneeling in the carved opening between the archer's spread legs, leaning over the writhing torso, one hand working low and the other gripping a rich harvest of flaxen strands and forcing the Elf to look at him. Legolas' face was a marble mask, only flaring nostrils and completely widened eyes betraying his pain as he made no sound. The shaman slowly pushed forward and felt the amazing heat of Firstborn flesh encase his member as one of the leather arm restraints ripped from its moorings. With a triumphant howl, Eunan repeatedly thrust home and flung his full weight onto the transfixed Elf. Legolas screamed. The pure, agonized tone went on and on, out of audible human range, and shattered the hearts of all who heard it.


Not far away, another heart heard the cry and in shock Gimli recognized his friend's voice. The dwarf and a hundred mounted Gondoran warriors had just reached the Talbryn stronghold when the dire sound reached their ears. They sprang forward as one and attacked the closed gates with relentless ferocity.


The Elf's scream released Aragorn's momentary paralysis and he exploded in berserk rage. Four acolytes went flying and as unarmed priests approached they found themselves facing a warrior in full battle fury who looked like a rampaging god – and they backed off. With only one thought in mind, to get to his Elf, Aragorn was an irresistible force storming across the square. In a distant part of his mind he registered a commotion at the gate, but he had no attention for anything but his goal.

The hands of the king could deal death as well as life and Eunan recognized his fate as he looked into icy eyes burning with implacable hatred. Snapping his neck in an instant, Aragorn discarded the shaman like a dirty rag and sprang to the stone where the most important being in his universe lay broken and fearfully still. The Dunadan tore away the remaining restraints, and with exquisite care gathered the beloved body to his heart and looked desperately for signs of life. The golden head fell back, spilling silk across his arm, but the beautiful features held no animation, and the eyes that reflected the sky held no light. The Elf's fea had fled the brutal violation, he was too late! Aragorn felt his world turn to dust, raised his head in a great echoing howl, and collapsed.

The Gondoran troupes had broken through the gate but met no organized resistance and found only milling civilians who seemed dazed and distraught. Unclear on what had happened, the dwarf looked for any sign of his friends and suddenly heard another familiar voice in a wail that sounded torn from the depths of despair. Gimli saw Aragorn seated on a white altar holding a motionless blonde Elf. Yes, by Mahal's beard! It was Legolas who lay limp in the king's arms and as he watched in growing horror, the man slumped forward and both his friends appeared to be lifeless sacrifices.

Charging up the stone steps with warriors in tow, Gimli reached the white stone at the same time as a blue robed couple intent on the same destination. The Dwarf confronted them, "Stand back! These are our people!" The Gondorans encircled their king and prince, weapons bristling.

Asa and Jason held up open palms, "We are healers, we only want to help! Please let us near, time may be running out!"

Gimli looked uncertain as his hands touched Legolas, who felt deathly cold, and the king was not much better. Aragon was wrapped around the Elf and the fact that they were both naked was another puzzle. "What happened here? How badly are they hurt?"

Asa stepped forward brushing aside one of the Gondoran spears and lay a hand on Aragorn's neck checking for a pulse. "We can explain more in our house of healing. Please, won't you bring them where we can do some good?"

Still uncertain, Gimli decided to trust his instincts and directed his men to do as she asked. Two cloaks were quickly wrapped around the king and prince and the unconscious royalty were gently transported.

Jason led them to a private room and had the man and Elf deposited on a large bed with many cushions while Asa brought warm stones and securely tucked the two together. She observed with some hope that although comatose, Aragorn still reached for the Elf's unresponsive body.

Gimli and several of the king's personal guard gathered outside the room with intense concern.

"What do we do now?" ask the dwarf.

"We wait," responded the healers, and for a time they shared answers to many questions.

Aragorn walked in a place of silver light and Legolas walked with him. They held hands and took great comfort in each others touch. The man drew the Elf into his arms and did many pleasant things to sensitive ears and sweetly responsive lips. In return the archer found the tender spot on the king's shoulder and used his strong hands to relieve much tension. They came to a bridge that led to a lush green park, but the Elf hesitated and would not cross. "Come with me and lay in the grass" said the man. "I am afraid" said the Elf. "Come with me and trust, and if we have each other, we can survive any hurt," said the man and again pulled the fair one against him, feeling a response in the plaint flesh. "Forever?" said the Elf. "For as ever long as you will have me," said the man, and ravished the delicious mouth once more with his ruthless tongue. And they crossed over.

The grass received the Elf with warmth and the Elf received his king with great happiness. Aragorn gently parted pale thighs and with reverent hands created pleasure where there had been pain and comfort where there had been sorrow. Tears of joy gave way to wordless cries as the man cleaved the Elf's innermost core and took care to draw out their mutual flight to bliss. Aragorn's slow surging within immortal flesh brought Legolas to heights previously unknown, and he responded with all he was, and took all that the man could give. Warrior's strength reveled in precious surrender and spirits soared together, riding waves of cascading sensation as barriers dissolved in deeper bonding. The tide broke on the shores of luminous culmination and a nova of star-shot brilliance exploded in an ultimate affirmation of life – and love.

In a stone warmed bed in a hillside stronghold, the King of Men watched in breathless hope as cold white skin bloomed with regained color and spiked dark lashes opened to reveal ultramarine eyes once more filled with light.

"My wayward Elf, you have come back to me," whispered the king.

"Aye, my favorite human, do you not remember? Not all who wander are lost!" and a knowing smile curved the heartbreaking lips. "Our bond is a refuge and it kept me safe. There my fea could escape the pain, but only if you were with me."

"*You* are my refuge, Legolas Greenleaf and will not wander so far ever again."

The king held out his arms and the Elf rose and allowed himself to be handled like glass as they wrapped themselves in one large cape and went to greet their old companions and new friends.

Asa and Jason welcomed them back to the land of the living with a great shout and Gimli pounded the floor with his axe handle.

The soldiers cheered and asked how soon they could leave.

Aragorn answered, "Soon" and turned to the healers. "I have much for which to thank you. You knew what to do. By placing us in physical proximity the bond was able to restore my Greenleaf. How did you know it would work?"

Asa smiled, "We had hope. Your love is very strong and thrives as an entity unto itself. Perhaps we Talbryn should consider a *seventh* element in our ritual and name it 'spirit?!' "

Legolas shuddered delicately, "Nay, do not include us in any more elemental games!"

Jason laughed, "Agreed. But you must admit your example is quite inspiring. We must thank you for the courage to brave the ritual, and in the end, help rid us of a perverted power."

The king tightened his hold on his Elf. "We are blessed to have made new relationships here, both diplomatically and personally. Thank theValar all is well that ends well."

Gimli tapped his axe, anxious to depart. "My Lord, it is time for us to be on our way."

Aragorn nodded and Gimli gave a short bow, "Namarie gentlefolk."

Legolas elbowed the king under the cape and whispered urgently. Aragorn cleared his throat, "Oh, there is one more thing. We need clothes. For both of us. Or, as my blushing bondmate points out, our 'ends' will not be 'well' by the time we get home."

That earned him an impertinent pinch in nether regions.

But they did get their clothes.

And all endings *were* well.



Language Notes:
(COE dictionaries)
Mellon nin: my friend
Fea: spirit or soul.
Vala,: singular for "Valar" or ruling spirits in Middle-earth.
Elbereth: Wife of Manwe, Chief of the Middle-earth ruling spirits.
Aule: Vala who created the Dwarves.
Mahal: the name given Aule by the Dwarves.
Character Name References
(From: where one can search meanings!)
Talbryn: "tal bryn" a Welsh phrase meaning "High hill"
Eunan: English name. Source is Adhamhnan, a Gaelic name meaning "Fearful one."
Jason: English. Source is Iason, a male Greek name meaning "Healer."
Asa: Hebrew and English. Male or female. From an Aramaic expression meaning "Healer."



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