Disclaimer: Don't own anything

Please, please review. Thanks for all the reviews. I really appreciate all the feedback everyone left =)

This is the final chapter of Never Been Kissed. Hope you like it =) Not a funny chapter though; almost as angsty as parts of Shadow... Too much things that needed to get tied up. There is one fun part, well, I thought it was kind of funny.. but then, I have a disturbed sense of humor. Oh, yeah and the ending is very cheesy, I know. But really don't know what else to say there..

.. my ramblings.

// .// song lyrics, sung by Legolas and parrot Estel as background music.=) Taken from if I never knew you from Pocahantas, changed around a bit to suit the context. I apologize if people are confused. I am experimenting a bit with this last chapter in terms of writing style. Would really appreciate feedback on the incorporation of the song.

Really sorry for the late update. It's all Dante's fault. He made me play Devil May Cry 2 every waking moment I am at home. And even when I am in lab, he won't leave me alone. He made me study the strategy guides so I can max his weapons. Okay, I am pathetic. I am falling for a CG character too as if loving my Elf is not enough.. Sigh..


Chapter 26:

Haldir found Aragorn alone in his rooms, half-naked, nursing some number of small cuts and bruises that covered his body. "What happened?"

"A bad date," replied the Man sarcastically, since it was basically true. Though he was 'victorious' in his confrontation with Arwen, he had not emerged unscathed. He paid for the Evenstar's promise to abandon her pursuit of revenge with many minor wounds.

"Legolas apologized to you and Rivendell in public. He asked you to come kiss him tonight at the feast if you are willing to forgive him," said Haldir, wanting to get the heart of the matter as soon as possible. Besides, he had a feeling Aragorn would not disclose any details of how he obtained his injuries anyways.

"That's just so like him, isn't it? Bringing this whole thing into the public eye," replied the Man with a bitter laugh. He could not believe the Prince had dragged their personal problems in front of the whole Elven city. This was another one of the Elf's ploy to use public opinion to force Aragorn into action, like when he dressed up for the competition of skills. But this time, Legolas went too far.

"What do you mean by that?" asked a concerned Guardian of Lòrien, feeling that the Man had taken this thing the wrong way.

"Just that he was playing the beautiful, guiltless victim again and making me out to be the insensitive bad guy who was stubborn and stupid enough to hurt him," answered the Man with venom as he leapt to his feet to face the archer eye to eye.

"How can you say that about him? He apologized for hurting you, didn't he?" exclaimed Haldir indignantly, peeved on his young friend's behalf. Even the blindest person could see that Legolas was genuinely in love with Aragorn!

"It's because of his apology that I finally see how things are. He is a scheming liar who knew his strengths and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He knows the entire city will be enraged if I don't go. He thinks he can pressure me into forgiving everything, into taking him as consort; well he thought wrong; I am not going, even if it means I will be thrown out of Rivendell tomorrow," vowed Aragorn, as he glared daggers at Haldir, daring him to argue with him into changing his mind.

But instead, the archer merely shook his head wearily and turned towards the door. Before he left, he whispered, "I was wrong to come here. You don't deserve him."

Enraged and not wanting to let the Lòrien Elf have the last word, Aragorn yelled into the corridor. "I am sick of hearing I don't deserve him. He is the one who broke my heart! Maybe he is the one who don't deserve ME!"

But the Man's outburst elicited no response from the retreating Elf, who merely continued walking as if he heard nothing. Unbeknownst to Aragorn and Haldir, two other pairs of eyes watched the proceedings; while one was filled with concern of the implications of the conversation he overhead, the other was overflowing with rage. If not for its blasted cage, it would peck the ungrateful, horrible Man's eyes out. But as the bars stopped parrot Estel from carrying out its wishes, the bird stayed silent. It would save its breath to console its beloved when the Prince heard this disturbing news.


Elrond was not surprised to find the Prince in his rooms, packing his things to prepare for departure. Now that he had overheard the conversation between Haldir and his foster son, he understood Legolas' wish to leave. But the Elf-lord also knew he could not allow the Prince to go. He needed Legolas to be his ally. Since his foster son had given up his claim on the Golden Elf, Glorfindel would be the leading contender for the Prince's affections.

"I was walking by Aragorn's rooms earlier," commented the Elf-lord, startling the Prince and Dwarf out of their activities. He then moved to put parrot Estel's cage onto the table on the center.

"What did he say?" asked an excited Gimli, ignoring the small bird. Haldir had not yet returned to report on his progress, which worried the Dwarf immensely. If the Elf was successful in convincing the Man to go, he should have been back by now. Legolas, on the other hand, seemed unfazed. He merely looked at the Elf-lord with sad azure eyes.

"I am sorry," whispered Elrond, giving the Prince a sympathetic pat on the shoulders.

"It's alright. It's what I expected," replied Legolas as he lowered his eyes and returned to his task.

"No, laddie; it is NOT all right! I will go talk to him!" exclaimed Gimli as he marched out the door in search of the stubborn Man before the two Elves could stop him.

"What are your plans, my Prince?" asked Elrond gently not wanting to sound overly interested.

"If Haldir is right about my getting proposed to tonight, I will return to Mirkwood immediately," replied the Prince as he stuffed more clothes into his pack.

"And if he is not?" inquired the Elf-lord, concerned. It would not do for the young one to leave now. Glorfindel deserved a chance after all this time of loving the Prince in silence.

"I will stay until the date of the council if my lord wishes to summon a council to discuss the latest turn of events," answered the Prince, turning to look at Elrond.

"Yes, I will be calling a council, which will convene in a month, my Prince," replied Elrond, who was impressed by how astute the young Elf was to the political significance of last night's battle.

"Do not worry about the possible suitors. I am sure they will understand it is impossible for you to choose another after a recent heartbreak," said the Elf-lord sympathetically. He knew he could trust the Guardian of Lòrien to take care of the Golden Prince. Haldir would make sure that his young friend does not leave for Mirkwood broken hearted.

"I guess so," sighed the Prince with a small smile though all he wanted to do was to break down and cry. Before he would have given in to his urges, even in Elrond's presence; but now, he had the strength to carry on with his life, even if he had to live the rest of it alone. He would always love Aragorn for helping him find the courage to face the world as who he truly was, even if the Man no longer loved him.

"Perhaps you would like to refresh yourself before the banquet," suggested the Elf-lord. When Legolas made no attempt to move, he added, "There is still a chance that Aragorn will change his mind. Men are fickle creatures; and sadly, my foster son is no exception."

When the Prince nodded, a tiny sliver of hope shimmering in his eyes, the Elf-lord smiled in encouragement despite himself. Though politically speaking, he would prefer Glorfindel to win Legolas' hand, he could not help wishing his last words were true. The young Elf had such a beautiful soul; it would be an atrocity to have it crushed by despair and heartbreak. The success of any scheme would not be worth the price of such a horrible thing.


Time stopped when the moon reached its zenith. Everyone held their breath, waiting for the Man to march onto the stage and took Legolas in a loving embrace. A minute passed, then another; there was still no sign of Aragorn as Legolas remained alone on the stage. Soon, it became apparent that the Man was not coming. Giving the audience a sad smile and a 'thank you for your support', the teary-eyed Prince stepped off the platform to join the Ruling House of Imladris.

"I see I am not the only one he dumped," commented Arwen caustically as the Prince walked past. She was immediately rewarded with a death glare from Glorfindel. It was so frightening that even Arwen the Destroyer shuddered at the force of it.

Gathering all his courage, the fair-haired Elf Lord managed to ask without stuttering, "Are you alright?"

Haldir had the urge to answer 'of course he is not all right! He has just been rejected by the love of his life'; but instead of giving in, he glanced at Elrohir. He needed to know if the younger twin had succeeded in convincing Glorfindel not to propose. When the dark-haired Elf gave a small nod, the archer relaxed as he continued to watch the exchange between his young friend and the Elf-lord with interest.

"I suppose. I mean this is what I expected. But no matter how hard I try to be rational, there is still a small part of me that is hoping he will come. It hurts to have my hopes dashed; but it's probably better this way. You know, no more uncertainty eating at me, no more wondering if he would ever forgive me or love me again," replied the Prince quietly. He did not know why he explained his feelings so candidly to Glorfindel, but it hurts too much to keep everything bottled up inside.

"I am sorry, my Prince," said Glorfindel, daring to look into the beauty's eyes as he reached to hold Legolas' hand gently. This was the moment to make his feelings known. While he agreed with Elrohir that it was too soon to propose, the Eldar knew that the Prince needed to know he was loved, even if Aragorn rejected him.

After closing his eyes to steel himself, Glorfindel reopened them and muttered in one breath before his courage faded. "I won't pretend to know your pain, but I want you to know that you don't have to face it alone. I will be there for you, if you want me to."

Legolas was apprehensive when the Elf-lord took his hand. What he heard was not what he expected. And he felt the pieces of his heart warming to Glorfindel's shy, sweet declaration of unconditional support. Though he knew he would never love another the way he loved Aragorn, things might not be as bleak as he first imagined. Giving the Eldar a touched smile, he squeezed the ancient Elf's hand and whispered, "Thank you, Glorfindel."

It took no time at all for the Prince's words to register in his brain. Legolas called him by his name! Not, my lord, not Lord Glorfindel, just his name, which meant the younger Elf was no longer considering him as just another acquaintance, but someone he could relax with and allow into his personal life. He knew Legolas probably thought of him only as a friend at the moment, but it was a start. Glorfindel would not mind taking the time to work on obtaining Legolas' affections. After all, he had been having a crush on the Golden Prince for many years now; what was a few more when he now had hope. Smile widening into a grin, the Elf-lord stuttered, "You..um..you're..welcome."


Yulion watched the scene between the fair-haired Lord and the Prince. He knew what Elladan told him, that Legolas would leave if he received a proposal tonight, but he would rather die than just sit here and do nothing while Glorfindel attempted to court the Golden Elf. He promised not to propose, but he did not say he would not profess his love. Walking up boldly to the table where the Ruling House of Imladris sat, the dark-haired recruit held out his hand and requested, "May I have this dance, my Prince?"

Legolas saw the fair-haired Eldar's expression changed from a sweet and shy Elf into a frightening warrior. Though he did not wish to face Yulion yet, he knew this was a chance he could not pass. Glorfindel would probably kill the young recruit if Yulion were to try to get the Prince alone for a conversation again. Taking a deep breath, Legolas nodded his assent and reluctantly allowed himself to be led onto the dance floor.

"I am sorry about Aragorn," said the dark-haired Elf as the pair waltzed.

"I kind of expected it. Lord Elrond warned me," replied Legolas quietly, trying his best not to look completely crest-fallen.

"I just want to say that if you ever need anything, all you need to do is ask. I know we started off badly, and I know I am not much of a comparison to Glorfindel, or even Aragorn; but I will do everything in my power to make you happy again," vowed Yulion, looking into the Golden Elf's azure eyes.

"Thank you, Yulion," replied the Prince, offering the dark-haired Elf a tender smile. His archer friend had outdone himself today. Haldir had turned two proposals into two romantic declarations of affections and devotion. Legolas knew he must thank his Lòrien friend properly after the feast was over. Because of his friend, he could stay in Rivendell for another month. Perhaps by then, his heart would have recovered enough so he could choose a mate who he could grow to love in years to come.


As Glorfindel watched the couple waltzed on the dance floor, his jealous rage had calmed somewhat. He wanted Legolas; but he also wanted the Prince to be happy, even if it meant the Golden Elf was with someone else in the end. He knew Elrond would do everything possible to bring himself and the Prince together. Glorfindel was not so ignorant as to not realize that a union between himself and the tactical advisor of Mirkwood would tip the balance of power significantly in Rivendell's favor. But he also knew that in order for Legolas to find love again, he must be given choices. As much as Glorfindel hated it, he would ensure that the Prince was not forced to accept him because he was the only contender. He wanted Legolas to choose him because the Prince liked him.

"Ramiren, it's your first time in Imladris, no?" asked the fair-haired Lord in a conversational tone, acknowledging for the first time in the night the Crown Prince's presence.

"Yes," replied the Mirkwood Elf. He would have stuttered if he gave a longer answer and was thus grateful that only one word was required of him.

"Perhaps you would like a tour of Imladris, then?" suggested Glorfindel with a sincere smile. He knew he intimidated the other Elf; he wanted Ramiren to be more comfortable with his presence since he would be seeing the older Mirkwood Prince a lot if he were to be around Legolas.

"Sure," said the Crown Prince though he was not looking forward to spending time with the imposing Elf lord.

"Great, perhaps you would like another guide in our company. Maybe someone younger?" asked Glorfindel, wanting Ramiren to guess his intentions. He did not want to suggest bringing Yulion along outright since Elrond would probably think he was crazy to give Legolas the chance to reject him for someone else. The Lord of Rivendell would probably not give him a moment's peace until he promised to take bolder actions to claim the Golden Elf.

But the Crown Prince did not have his brother's wits; he merely frowned at the fair-haired Elf-lord's suggestion. That was when Haldir realized how altruistic the Eldar was. Unlike the stupid Man who stole the Prince's first kiss without thought, the Elf-lord wished the Golden Elf to have a chance to discover who he truly wanted to be with, even if that meant losing Legolas in the end. Haldir did not know how he could have failed to see the Eldar's feelings before. If he offered Glorfindel a hand instead of the stupid Man, Legolas would be happily in love already! But things were not too late yet. The Prince was heart-broken, but was still innocent enough to believe in love. The Lòrien Elf would make up for his past mistake and help the Elf-lord. "I can ask Yulion, since the Joint Army recruits have tomorrow off. And perhaps my lord would not mind if I tag along as well?"

"Of course not," smiled the Elf-lord, realizing he now had the support of one of Legolas' confidantes. Perhaps, Haldir would tell him more about the sweet Prince's likes and dislikes so he could court Legolas better.

"We are coming too," said both twins together, looking at the seductive Guardian of Lòrien. Sighing exasperatedly, the said Elf used all his strength to stop himself from rolling his eyes at the twins and saying they could not come. He was hoping Glorfindel would refuse their companion. After all, the Elf-lord would want his help in gaining Legolas' favor.

Surprisingly, the Eldar smiled and said, "Sure, my friends. Hopefully, tomorrow will prove a satisfactory end to our previous 'harvest cycle'." The Elf-lord's meaning was clear to all except the clueless Ramiren. Tomorrow would be the day they sorted out their personal problems. Tomorrow would be the day where the 'loser' went home to nurse a broken heart.


It was well past midnight when Gimli found the Man. Please forgive the Dwarf. He was a miner and warrior, not a Ranger. His skills at tracking left much to be desired. It was a miracle that he found Aragorn at all, after getting lost in the woods several times. If the said Man had not returned to the pool where he and the Prince shared their last 'intimate' moment, Gimli would never have been able to find him.

"What are you doing here? You should be at the festival, kissing Legolas!" yelled the frustrated Dwarf. He knew they were already late; but as long as Aragorn went before the festival was over and forgave the Prince, things would be all right.

"I am here because I have decided not to go," replied the Man, stating the obvious in case Gimli was too dense to see his reasons.

"You cannot possibly mean that!" exclaimed the Dwarf as he tried to drag Aragorn to his feet. But the Man had the advantage of size, so Gimli, despite his strength, could not make him budge.

"I do mean that. It's over. Legolas isn't the one I love; the imaginary Lasgalen is. And that person never existed in the first place," whispered the Man bitterly.

"Stupid Man!" screamed Gimli as he whacked Aragorn over the head roughly with his fist.

At the act of aggression, the Man retaliated, leaping to his feet, spinning round and shoving the Dwarf onto the floor. "I am done listening to you. Just leave me be," hissed the Man dangerously.

"I cannot believe Legolas chose to give his first kiss to someone like you," spat Gimli as he rose to his feet and left as quickly as his short legs would carry him. He must leave Aragorn's companion before he looses control and does something very bad to the future King of Men.


Gimli's last words haunted the Man's mind and heart. Legolas' first kiss...the Dwarf could not possible mean that. The Elf was over 1000 years old. He knew the Prince was innocent, but there was no way he could be THAT innocent. Yet a small part of Aragorn knew what Gimli said was true. Though it had been two weeks, the Man still remembered that kiss as if it had happened only a minute ago.

That simple contact had made him feel alive and loved. At that moment, nothing else had mattered; all Aragorn wanted was to drown in the sensation of the Golden Elf, to hold his beloved in his embrace and never let go. That kiss was how kisses were supposed to be, an expression of love for the one special person he was meant to be with. He still remembered wanting that kiss to last forever, wanting to be the only one who would ever taste those lips, wanting nothing more than to have the right to love the sweet Elf for the rest of his life.

Even the Man's cynical mind was won over in the end. He knew now that he made a mistake in not going to kiss his Elf. No matter how skilled a liar, Legolas could not have faked the emotions he poured into that kiss. All Aragorn could do now was pray that there was still some way to undo the damage caused by his impetuous decision. As the Man rushed back to the festival, he heard his beloved's lilting voice in song, echoed by parrot Estel's melodic chirping.


//If I never held you, I would never have a clue, how, at last, I found in you the missing part of me. I'm so grateful to you, I'd lived my whole life through, lost forever, if I never knew you. //


It was the same one Legolas had sung to him that day in front of the whole camp; but this time, it sounded different, the Elf's pure voice tinted with the deep, heartrending sadness of a broken heart. But the emotions behind the words were unmistakable - Legolas loved him still, despite the humiliation caused by the Man's public rejection. Running as fast as he could, Aragorn hurried to towards the singer, vowing to never hurt this wonderful, special Elf again.


//I thought our love would be so beautiful. Somehow we'd make the whole world bright. I never thought that fear and hate could be so strong and all that's left are whispers in the nights. But my heart is still saying we were right. //


The Prince could not be more than ten minutes away. Aragorn knew his Elf was at the training field, probably reminiscing on their happier times together. Legolas' song was telling him there was still hope.

"Not so fast, my friend," commented Glorfindel as he appeared out of the forest to block the Man's way. He knew the Prince was too absorbed in his song to hear their conversation or sense their presence.

"Get out of my way," replied Aragorn resolutely, wanting only to be with his Elf.

"No, Aragorn. You had your chance. I cannot allow you to hurt him again," whispered the Eldar in a deadly tone. Glorfindel wanted the Prince to have choices, but that did not include the ungrateful, horrible Man who broke his heart. For all the ancient Elf knew, Aragorn would hurt Legolas again if given another chance. He cared about the Golden Elf too much to trust the Man.

Aragorn knew there were only two ways to get past the Elf-lord, to fight or to convince the Elf of his love for Legolas. He had never crossed sword with Glorfindel, but he knew the Elf-lord had defeated a Balrog in single combat. There was a possibility that he would lose. Besides, fighting would take too much time. He would plead with Glorfindel instead. "With the stars and moon as my witness, I swear that I won't hurt him again. Please, let me go to him."

"I am sorry, my friend. There is no promise you can make that I can trust," replied Glorfindel as his hand slowly wandered to the hilt of his sword, a subtle warning to the Man not to try anything.


//There's no moment I regret, since the moment we first met. If our time had gone too fast, I've lived at last.. //


The song was ending; Aragorn could feel it. His heart constricted as tears swelled in his eyes. He would fall on his knees and beg if he had to. He knew that once this song was over what he and Legolas shared would come to an end. This was the Prince's way of saying goodbye, to relive one last time the love between them. "Please Glorfindel. This is Legolas' choice, not yours."

The Eldar knew the Man was right. But he also knew that if he allowed Aragorn to go before the Prince now, Legolas would forgive everything. The young Elf was still too vulnerable from his heartbreak to think properly. He could not allow the Prince to risk everything a second time without thought. Even if Legolas did not choose him in the end, he would protect the innocent Elf. "You are right. It should be his decision, not mine. But I cannot let you go to him now. If you want him, you will have to court him like everyone else."

Before the Man could protest, the Prince's song ended. The forest was now eerily silent without the music of Legolas' beautiful voice. Their relationship was now a thing of the past. Before Aragorn could mourn the lost of his one true love, the Elf-lord spoke again, "We are going on a tour of Rivendell tomorrow. You can join us if you like."

"I will be there," vowed the Man as he turned to head back to the palace to get some rest. He knew any attempts to get to Legolas tonight were bound to fail. He had no other choice but to wait another day. At least, Glorfindel was understanding enough to give him a fair chance to prove his love to Legolas. He might have lost what he shared with his Elf before, but there was still hope that they could start anew. Aragorn knew things would be difficult tomorrow as his former matchmakers would be against him. But failure was not an option. Both his happiness and Legolas' were at stake.


A chapter of his life was now over. He had said his final goodbyes. It hurt so much, but it was better than living in denial, hoping for something that would never be. His companion could feel the sadness emanating from him and was now fluttering his wings in agitation, crying, "Bad Estel!"

"It's not his fault, little one. If I hadn't lied to him, he would not be angry with me. I have only myself to blame for this," sighed Legolas as he wandered back to the palace. Tomorrow would mark the beginning of a new chapter of his life. He would face it with courage and hope for a better future, even if the one he loved would never be by his side again.


Arwen was wandering the forest when she stumbled upon the Elf-lord and her ex-boyfriend. Though she had given her word not to seek revenge against Aragorn, this was too good an opportunity to pass. If the Man failed to show up tomorrow morning, the romance between him and that pretty Elf would really be over. She knew for a fact that both of them would never be happy again and she could not think of anything that would make her happier.

Besides, she only promised not to try to hurt the Man or the Golden Elf; she did not say she would not scheme against them. And adding a little sleep powder into Aragorn's drink did not count as hurting him. She had done it to her brothers before as a prank. It was not her fault if the ramifications of her actions were more serious this time. Humming joyously to herself, the Evenstar hurried to Aragorn's room. Tomorrow, revenge would be hers at last.


Glorfindel glanced around in annoyance one last time before leading the party away from the palace. Aragorn was still not here! The Eldar was generous enough to invite the Man along so he could have a fair chance of gaining the Golden Elf's affections again, and Aragorn repaid him by being more than an hour late. At the end of breakfast, the ancient Elf decided he was done being the 'nice guy'; if the Man did not think enough of Legolas to come on time, he certainly did not deserve the Prince's heart.

"How are you feeling today?" asked the Elf-lord, looking straight ahead instead of at the Golden beauty so he could speak properly.

"Better, I guess," replied the Prince though the agony in his heart had yet to subside. He did not want to worry the Eldar who seemed very protective of him.

"That's good to hear," commented Yulion as he urged his horse to ride along side the two fair-haired Elves at the front.

The young Rivendell Elf had deliberately dressed for the occasion, hoping to impress the beautiful Prince. He looked rather dashing himself in his outfit of green and brown. The colors highlighted his amazing emerald eyes and his lustrous russet hair. The form-fitting garments clung to his lithe, well-toned frame, putting his desirable body on full display that left very little to the imagination. If the other Elves in the party were not already infatuated with Legolas or Haldir, they would be fawning over the handsome Elf by now.

As Gimli had chosen to stay at the camp, not wanting to ride a horse for a full day, the company consisted of seven Elves. They rode in two groups of three with the single Elf riding alone at the back. As one might have guessed, the lone Elf was Ramiren. The younger Prince was sandwiched between the blond Eldar and Yulion as Haldir was between the twins.

Legolas seemed to be engaged with an animated conversation with his two suitors, having a reasonably good time considering the Man's rejection last night. The Crown Prince could not help being surprised at how civil the two suitors were towards each other. The suitors were treating each other with respect and veiled friendliness; they even laughed at each other's jokes or interesting tales from time to time. Though Legolas was the center of attention, those three resembled new friends getting to know each other and enjoying each other's companion.

On the other hand, the poor Lòrien archer was stuck between two identical bickering Elves. Ramiren had heard much about the twin sons of Elrond. While most of the tales were praises of their valor and prowess in battle, the others spoke of how persistent they were when pursuing the unfortunate Elves who caught their eyes. Usually, the twins would work together in coaxing the said Elf into their beds. But the twins seemed to be fighting over Haldir this time. And it was well known that when the twins fought each other, they behaved like children, which put the poor Guardian of Lòrien in a very unenviable position. Ramiren was glad he was left alone to follow the group. He would not want to get dragged into the twin's battle over the Guardian of Lòrien.


The group stopped for a late lunch at the foot of the Misty Mountains, the Western border of Imladris. In case people are wondering why they stopped there instead of within the safety of the forest, the reason was quite simple: I made them do it. Yes, the demented authoress exerted her powers here and forced them to stop at a perilous place to rest for lunch. Well, there was also the fact that most of the Orcs were destroyed in the battle two nights ago. They really had no reason to think that the Misty Mountains were a dangerous place any longer. But anyway, back to the story.

Haldir knew it would be best to divide into two groups for their lunch break. He did not wish the twins to ruin the amicable mood between Legolas and his two suitors. Practically grabbing the twins by their arms, the Lòrien Elf made some excuse and dragged them away from the rest of the company. Though Ramiren was not as bright as Legolas, he knew he too should leave his brother with Yulion and Glorfindel alone. Despite the fact that he was not looking forward to getting caught in the crossfire as the twins battled each other, he followed Haldir away from their camp.


Aragorn awoke to find the sun shining brightly outside. He knew from his strange fatigue that he had been drugged yet again. But at this moment, he did not care who was the culprit; all he knew was that he must hurry to catch up with his beloved and company. Without thought, he began to rush towards the stables. Mounting his faithful stead swiftly, he set out in search of the Golden Elf. He could only hope he was not too late.


"You did not!" exclaimed Yulion in disbelief as Legolas' giggles filled the air. Never in a million years could the young Elves imagine an Elf-lord like Glorfindel doing something mischievous.

"Well, pranks are not a privilege enjoyed only by the young," replied Glorfindel, trying to sound serious as he stifled his laughter. He was regaling the tale of how he replaced Elrond's soap with cooking lard soaked in jasmine fragrance. It was retaliation for the other Elf-lord volunteering him to go on a diplomatic mission to Bree, knowing full well that Glorfindel hated diplomatic duties. The fair-haired Eldar would fight an army of Orcs any day over speaking with human city officials. He had always thought of political dealings as a necessary evil included in his duties as one of the Lords of Imladris.

"You are full of surprises, Glorfindel," said the Prince once he stopped his uncontrollable laughter. He was surprised at how much he was enjoying himself on this journey. His suitors before were aggressive, trying to pressure him into acknowledging their claims. Yulion and Glorfindel seemed content with being in his company, speaking with him, interested in getting to know him as a person. Legolas knew he was lucky to have these two special Elves' attention; he would hate to hurt either one of them.

"Thank you for your compliment," laughed the Eldar, grinning at the two young ones.

Since this morning, the Elf-lord had overcome his speech impediment when speaking to the Golden Elf. He knew he had Yulion to thank for that; the dark-haired Elf's presence seemed to lessen the pressure he felt around the Prince, allowing him to express himself freely. He wondered why Yulion made him feel more comfortable. The young one was competition; if anything he should be watching his words more carefully. Yet, he found the dark- haired Elf's brash and slightly cocky attitude strangely disarming. It reminded him of the vivacity and innocence of the young.

Though Yulion had taken lovers before and was about as tricky as any other Elf, he did not have the same reserve as the older Elves who had seen the harshness of the world. If he played a prank on someone, it was out of mischief or revenge, never truly meant to hurt the other person. There were no ulterior motives in his every move. And Glorfindel found his attitude refreshing, as the ancient Elf was used to the political intrigues.

The Elf-lord was glad that the dark-haired youth was his competition, not some other scheming Elf. If Legolas chose Yulion in the end, the Eldar would admit defeat and wish them happiness sincerely. Those two young ones complemented each other very well. While the Prince was worldly, yet innocent in personal matters, Yulion was the opposite, inexperienced in politics but knew the inner workings of relationships. If they were a couple, they could learn from each other and grow together. Glorfindel could not think of a better bonding experience than that.

"What are you thinking about, old man?" asked the dark-haired youth, suddenly aware of the Elf-lord's quiet, meditative mood.

"Just how young both of you are," replied a still pensive Glorfindel as he studied the beautiful Prince he loved and his competitor in obtaining Legolas' affections.

"You are not admitting defeat so soon, are you? I know I am tough competition, being handsome, exuberant and smart and all. But you cannot possibly give up only after a day," teased Yulion.

The truth was that he was worried about the Elf-lord's sudden change of mood. Though Glorfindel was his opponent, the thought of the Eldar's feelings getting hurt was strangely unsettling. He knew the ancient Elf could have Legolas all to himself; but Glorfindel had chosen to give him a fair chance at winning the beauty's hand. He had to admire the Eldar's altruism on that matter.

And of course, there was the fact that Glorfindel turned out to be a lot more than the boring, stiff Elf Yulion first thought he was. The Eldar was sophisticated and experienced, maybe a little intimidating at times, but he still retained his flair and a great sense of humor. Yulion had found himself enjoying the Elf-lord's company every bit as much as Legolas'. Perhaps in time, he would have gained a friend in Glorfindel, regardless of who the Prince chose as mate. He would hate for the Eldar to withdraw from their competition so soon.

"Hey, stop talking as if I am not here!" whined the Prince in mock irritation. He could hear the concern in Yulion's voice as the other Elf taunted Glorfindel. He was glad that his two suitors cared for each other's feelings. Legolas had a feeling that regardless of what happened at the end of his stay in Rivendell, all of them would remain friends.

"Sorry," replied Yulion sheepishly and bowed his head. He could tell Legolas was not really annoyed and was helping in his act. The Prince's perceptiveness never ceased to amaze the dark-haired recruit. He was looking forward to discover more about this unique beauty.

Their ruse was interrupted by loud crashing sounds in the depths of the mountains. The source of the noise was heading towards them, fast. Though the younger ones could not discern what was approaching, they knew it was big and not friendly. Since the day was meant to be a tour of Imladris, the Elves did not bring their usual weapons with them. Glorfindel had his sword that he carried by his side always and Haldir had his bow and quiver. The others were unarmed.

"Legolas and Yulion, you two go find Haldir. I will stay here and entertain our visitor until you return," said Glorfindel as he calmly took control of the situation.

The Eldar had fought a Balrog before alone, a troll would not have been that much trouble except that he was without range weapons. There was not as much he could do with only a sword. But this was a fact he could not allow the younger Elves to know. Yulion would insist he come along to find Haldir, while the Prince would insist on staying with him, knowing they could not outrun the beast if they all went. Glorfindel needed to know that the young ones were somewhere safe when he fights this battle. Any loss of focus would mean his life.

"Right," replied Legolas as he turned to head towards the direction their companions went earlier. He knew time was of the essence; the sooner they could get help, the less likely that Glorfindel would get hurt.

Yulion, on the other hand, hesitated instead of following his friend. Seeing Glorfindel draw his sword to take his stand, the dark-haired Elf called out, "Hey, old man."

"Yes," answered the Elf-lord as he turned to face the young Rivendell Elf.

"You be careful, okay?" said Yulion before immediately turning to hide his blush. He was concerned for Glorfindel's safety. Any other Elf would feel the same if a friend were standing to face a monster alone. There was no reason to blush at all. He was in love with Legolas, not the fair-haired Lord of Imladris. Though he had to admit the Eldar was very handsome, noble and fun to be with. But still, he was fairly certain he thought of Glorfindel only as a friend.


There was something in the young Elf's tone that caught Glorfindel's attention. There was concern, which was completely normal; and intermixed with it was a bit of hesitation and shyness. Knowing Yulion as he did now, he knew this was not a usual trait in the young one's personality. The Eldar was old enough to recognize it as the first signs of affections, the beginnings of caring for someone as more than just a friend. But that could not possibly be right. They were both competitors of the Golden Elf's attention. Yulion could not be starting to like him THAT way.

It was at this moment of emotional confusion for both Elves that the cave troll announced his presence. The monster had tossed a well-aimed rock at the ancient Elf; and with his mind far off pondering his personal troubles, Glorfindel did not realize the danger until it was too late.


Yulion was chastising himself for standing there frozen in place, thinking inappropriately about the Elf-lord, when a strange sensation assaulted him. His heart lurched within his chest and he knew without thinking that Glorfindel was in danger. Spinning round faster than he thought possible, he dove at the ancient Elf, knocking him out of the way of the cave-troll's attack. But the young one had not moved fast enough to avoid getting hit entirely. The impact of the rock sent him flying onto the floor, the pain temporarily immobilizing him. The young Elf could do nothing but watch as the giant rock threatened to crush him and end his life.

By this time, Glorfindel had recovered from his distraction. Nimbly, he leapt to his feet, gathered the fallen Elf into his arms and rolled out of the way as the rock crashed harmlessly into the ground. To say the Elf- lord was furious was an understatement. At this moment, there was nothing Glorfindel would rather do than kill the troll for harming the young Elf in his arms. But the Eldar also knew Yulion's safety came first. He could not fight while carrying his injured companion and he could not outrun the beast either. He only had one option - to hide. As much as it chafed his pride, Glorfindel began to make his way towards a small cave on the hillside.


Elladan found Haldir sitting alone by a small pool. The twins had annoyed the Lòrien Elf enough earlier that he had abandoned all pretense of civility and walked out on them. The archer even threatened to shoot them if they tried to find him. While Elrohir had taken off in search of the Guardian thinking he was just trying to play hard to get, Elladan knew better. Their incessant bickering was genuinely upsetting Haldir. The older twin knew the Lòrien Elf liked him better when he was not fighting with Elrohir; and he had tried to stop, but his brother just kept baiting him until he had to retort and defend himself.

"Haldir," called out Elladan softly before approaching the Lòrien Elf. At least the archer had not spun round and pointed an arrow at him yet. The older twin took that as a good sign.

"Elladan," sighed the archer. If both twins had found him together, he would not have hesitated to carry out his threat. If it were the younger one, Haldir would have make a show of aiming an arrow at him just to make sure Elrohir knew he was serious. But since it was the older one, the Guardian was at a lost of what to do, so he merely sat there and waited for the other Elf to join him.

"I am sorry about my behavior earlier. I know how much my quarreling with Elrohir bothered you. I really wanted to stop fighting with him, but he kept trying to make me look stupid in front of you, and I really care about how you think of me. I will understand if you don't want..." Elladan was silenced a gentle finger on his lips. When he dared a glance at the Lòrien Elf, he found Haldir smiling warmly at him.

Watching the older twin fumbled to find the right words to apologize, Haldir knew he would risk giving Elladan a chance. The older twin might not be as smooth or charming or smart as his younger brother, but he was much more sensitive and compassionate than Elrohir could ever be. And what mattered the most was that Elladan genuinely cared about him and wanted to make him happy.

Holding the older twin's eyes, Haldir took a deep breath and began, "I remember how Legolas used to say that people could tell from a single kiss if that other person was the right one - the other half of his soul. I have never really had 'this feeling' he described so eloquently before in any of my kisses. And.."

Even the dumbest of Men would know what the Lòrien Elf was trying to say, so Elladan lost no time in leaning towards Haldir to claim the mouth that he had fantasized about since the seductive beauty invited him and Elrohir into his rooms a few nights ago. He could feel his entire body went aflame as their lips met. He wanted to taste the sweetness of the archer's mouth, but he was not sure if Haldir would welcome him. His tongue, having a mind of its own, began tracing the Lòrien Elf's moist, parted lips. Haldir sighed in pleasure as his tongue moved to tangle with Elladan's before retreating, tempting the Rivendell Elf to follow.

This was all the encouragement the older twin needed as he deepened the kiss, thrusting his questing tongue into the willing archer's mouth. Haldir tasted like cinnamon and honey, a blend so sweet and intoxicating that Elladan could lose himself just from the simple taste. Cupping Haldir's head gently with one hand, the older twin began his slow exploration of the Lòrien Elf's mouth. If his senses were not overloaded with the feel of the seductive beauty in his arms, he would be thinking how best he could please Haldir. But as things were, all Elladan could do was pour all his love into this one single kiss.

Haldir swore he had never felt anything like this before. He could feel his body slowly coming alive at each stroke of Elladan's tongue, electricity coursing through his veins sending the most pleasurable tingle to every inch of his skin. All of his senses were heightened, yet dulled to the rest of the world at the same time. All he could feel was the gentle hand caressing his silken locks and rubbing his back, the hot tongue waltzing slowly with his; all he could hear was the sound of their racing hearts and their rhythmic breath as they kissed. If he could still think, he would be wondering if this was the 'feeling' Legolas was referring to. But at the moment, the kiss had robbed him of all conscious thought; only the feel of Elladan around him seemed real.

It was in this state that Legolas found his friend. The Prince could see it was a bad time to disturb the couple. This was a very private moment; that first kiss one shared with one's other half. Yet, the situation was pressing. Glorfindel needed Haldir's help now. Clearing his throat loudly, Legolas startled the older Elves out of their love's first kiss.


Aragorn rode onto the scene of a troll battering the entrance of a small cave. It was trying to get into the cavern, but it only succeeded in bringing the hillside down, effectively sealing the chamber within. The Man was wondering what the monster was chasing when he saw something that froze his blood. Buried amidst the rubble of the collapsed entrance was a portion of an Elven cloak, darkened with blood.

"Legolas, no!" cried the Man in anguish, fearing the worst the moment his eyes caught sight of the bloodstained garment.

Aragorn's voice drew the troll's attention and the beast took one of the fallen rocks and hurled it at him. But the Man was already on the move. Driven by rage and desperation, the Ranger urged his horse towards the monster, sword held high. He maneuvered his mount to easily dodge the projectiles and slashed deeply into the beast's side as he rode past. The creature roared in pain as he smashed his fist into the Man, but Aragorn was ready and blocked the punch with his sword.

But the troll's strength was great. Though the monster's hand was badly cut by the Man's sword, the impact of the blow sent Aragorn flying off his horse. With agility that reveled any Elf, the Man twisted in the air and landed on his feet. Running swiftly to the pile of rocks at the entrance, Aragorn took full advantage of the higher grounds and plunged his sword into the creature's belly. Crying out in pain, the troll swung his fist at the Man again. Once more, the Ranger was sent flying from the impact of the blow. But this time, Aragorn was ready. He spun in the air, using his momentum to carry him close to the creature's neck. With one power stroke, the Man plunged his sword deep into its throat, killing it instantaneously.

Unluckily for Aragorn, the dead troll collapsed upon where he landed. It was several minutes before the Man managed to free himself of the creature's immense weight. Though his body was bruised and battered, Aragorn paid his injuries no heed as he knelt on the jagged rocks blocking the entrance and began to dig through the rubble with his hands, calling out to his beloved. He would never forgive himself if anything happened to Legolas. Things could not end this way - he had never had the chance to tell his Elf how much he loved him.


"Well at least the troll cannot get in," said Glorfindel as he surveyed the cave they were trapped in. There was a hole at the top that allowed a shaft of sunlight to penetrate the gloomy darkness. The Eldar was certain he would have no problems climbing out from the opening as there were many latches and handholds along the way. But his concern for the injured young Elf held him prisoner in the small cavern.

"Which means we cannot get out either," sighed Yulion, glancing at the collapsed entrance.

"I am sure Legolas and the others will find us soon," comforted the Eldar, understanding the young one's discomfort. Elves were creatures of light; there was nothing they disliked more than being confined in a dark cave.

"Right," said the dark-haired Elf softly as he shifted. The movement, however, did not agree with his injured side, which promptly protested by sending him a wave of sharp pain. Yulion could not help letting out a hiss in response as he clutched the offending area.

"Let me take a look at that," asked the Elf-lord gently. It was his fault that the young one was hurt. He could not believe how careless he was when the troll approached. He should have been concentrating on the enemy instead of thinking about his personal issues.

"Don't worry about it. It's nothing," replied the young one resolutely, pretending that he was not in pain. Yulion knew his injuries were rather severe, but they did not have the medical supplies for proper treatment. There was no point in making the Elf-lord worry when nothing could be done until they were rescued.

"I am going to look at the wound with or without your consent, young one," insisted Glorfindel as he approached the dark-haired Elf, knowing the injuries were a lot more serious than Yulion wanted him to believe.

Seeing the determination in the Elf-lord's eyes, Yulion acquiesced. He was in too much pain to fight Glorfindel. As the ancient Elf undressed him tenderly to get a better look at the wound, he felt the strangest shiver down his spine as their skin came into contact. His stomach knotted as his breath hitched from the heat that pooled in his loins. This was not supposed to be happening! He was in love with Legolas. He was not supposed to respond to another's touch in this manner, even if the other Elf was the extremely attractive Glorfindel.

Sensing the tension in the younger Elf, the Eldar stopped and asked, "Are you all right?"

Annoyed at his own reactions to the Elf-lord's proximity, Yulion quipped, "Just about as all right as anyone would be with some broken ribs."

Glorfindel recoiled at those words, looking as though the young Elf had physically struck him. His guilt was overwhelming. "I'm sorry."

Yulion felt horrible about his sarcastic comment; he could feel the Elf- lord's self-blame in the air. "It's not your fault. If I hadn't been standing there like a statue for that long, I wouldn't be hurt."

Seeing that the Elf-lord still looked depressed, the young Elf teased, glad that the dim light of the cave was hiding his blush, "Come on, you got my shirt off. Aren't you at least going to take a look? I have it on good authority that it's a rather pretty sight."

Glorfindel stared agape at the young one for a minute before responding with a laugh, "You little imp!"

Yulion would have laughed too if his side was not in so much pain. He knew it would be very stupid to begin liking the Elf-lord; it would just be setting himself up for receiving twice the heartbreak if Legolas chose Glorfindel. But he could not help it. Trying to distract himself from his confused emotions, the young recruit focused on the opening at the ceiling of the cave. "Can you climb out from there?"

Glorfindel considered lying for a moment before deciding against it. "Yes, but I want to stay here with you."

"Now, don't be stupid, old man. If you climb out, you can get help to dig me out. It will be much faster that way," reasoned Yulion as he gave the Elf-lord who was still kneeling by his side a little shove.

As much as he did not wish to leave the young one alone, Glorfindel knew Yulion was right. "I will be back."

"I know," whispered Yulion as he smiled at the ancient Elf. Inside, his mind was reeling, wondering why things must be so complicated.


Glorfindel was greeted by a very strange sight when he reached the collapsed opening of the cave. An injured Aragorn, still dressed in his sleeping robes, knelt at the entrance, and was urgently removing the rocks with his hands as he spoke to pile of rubble.

"Please, my love. Just hang in there. I will get you out in a second."

The Elf-lord was about to approach the Man and stop him when he spotted the Prince, the older twin and Haldir walking onto the scene. Aragorn, completely intent on his task, did not notice their arrival at all.

"Please Legolas, you have to hold on. I love you. I cannot live without you."

Now, the Man was in tears as he dug faster. Poor Aragorn's hands were bleeding from the abuse, but he did not seem to notice. All he cared about was 'rescuing' his beloved Elf.

"I know I am the first person you have ever kissed. And I want you to know that I want you to be the last person I will ever kiss for the rest of my life."

Even Glorfindel could not help being touched by the Man's words. As Elf- lord watched the Prince walked to put a shaky hand on Aragorn's shoulders, he knew those two were meant to be together.


The Golden Elf's voice and touch startled the Man out of his task. Spinning around, Aragorn leapt to his feet and came face to face with his beloved. "Legolas...." whispered the Man as he reached out to touch the Prince's face. He wanted so much for Legolas to be safe that he feared this was just a figment of his imagination. When his bloodied hands connected with the Elf's silken skin, tears of relief flooded the Man's eyes.

"Do you mean what you said just now?" asked the Prince quietly, unsure whether he too had dreamt those words he so wished to hear.

Nodding, Aragorn said softly, "Every word, my Prince. I love you, Legolas of Mirkwood. I know I hurt you badly when I didn't come last night. If you would forgive me..."

The Man never got to finish his apology as he found himself smothered in the Golden Elf's embrace. "Oh, I love you so much, Aragorn," declared Legolas fervently as he moved to initiate a kiss.

As their lips met and tongues danced, a new bond was formed. Their love, having undergone the test of hardship, now burnt brighter than before, an eternal flame that would never be extinguished. No matter what happened in the future, nothing could separate them again. Even death would have no dominion over their love; when the time comes for the lovers to part, Legolas would live on, carrying their love in his immortal heart always.


The couple broke their kiss at the sound of a clearing throat. "Glorfindel, I..."

"It's all right, Legolas. I just want you to be happy. And now I know no one else can make you happy like this stupid Man here can," said the Elf- lord as he walked to join the pair at the entrance of the cave. It hurt to see Legolas with Aragorn, but strangely enough, he was not completely heart- broken. Though he was sad, he felt free - free to begin his life anew without the burden of his unrequited love, free to love another and be loved in return.

Smiling at the two couples before him, Glorfindel spoke, "Now that everyone seems to have their personal issues sorted out, we have an injured Elf to rescue."


Glorfindel glanced at the young Elf in his arms with concern. He knew it must hurt Yulion to see the Prince and Man together. "How are you feeling?"

"Other than the pain from my side?" asked the dark-haired Elf teasingly.

"Yes, other than the pain," sighed the Elf-lord as he rolled his eyes at the young one. This was something he could never do with Legolas, even if the Prince were his mate. There was too much politics and courtesy between them for Glorfindel to act so freely in front of the Golden Elf. Though he had been infatuated with the beauty for a very long time, he had never considered the reality of being the Prince's mate. Perhaps what he thought his heart desired was not what he truly wanted after all.

"Well, I will be lying if I say it doesn't hurt to watch Legolas with someone else. But the truth is that it doesn't hurt half as much as I thought it would. It's like I am not really as in love with him as I think I am. You know what I mean?" shrugged Yulion as much as he could with his injuries in the confines of Glorfindel's strong arms.

"Yes, I know exactly what you mean," replied Glorfindel with a smile as he looked tenderly at the young one in his arms. Life was full of surprises indeed. He supposed all he could do was make the most of out of it.


So it was that this day marked the beginning of a new chapter of the lives of five Elves and a Man. Though much hardship still lied ahead, they were undaunted as they looked to the future with hope. Whatever tomorrow held, they were no longer alone.