Title: Autumn Moon

Rating: Let's just say these two were my first adult fantasy fodder.

Summary: They have waited long enough for this.

Disclaimer: Neither Jackson nor Tolkien saw fit to give me a share of the spoils.

The winds of summer had faded and the air had taken on the crispness that declared the onset of winter, the moon had taken on the fullness signaling its autumn form, and the harvest had been reaped when King Aragorn, heir to the throne of Gondor, wed Arwen Evenstar, daughter of Elrond.

The festivities were attended by many, including all three Elven leaders, the dwarf hero Gimli and his people, and the four courageous hobbits of the fellowship. It was the last time that all four races of Middle Earth would commune together – the elves departed for the Western Lands soon after, the dwarves retreated to their underground kingdoms in the mountains, and the hobbits hid themselves from the intrusions of men.

But that was all in the years to come. For now, there was nothing but laughter and light, the wedding festivities dragging on for days.

The newlyweds themselves vanished sometime around midnight, pursued by catcalls and crude jests. Such was the tradition for a couple on their first night together.

What no one besides the newly crowned king and queen knew was that this was not their first night together.

Arwen remembered well their secret courtship. She had known there was only so much they could do to hide from her father, but she had hoped that their furtive meetings would at least cloak the intensity of their love from him.

She remembered the first time he had kissed her, tentative and soft, the rough hands of a ranger trembling as they held hers. He'd been so sure in everything that his sudden uncertainty, his shyness in approaching her, had been unspeakably endearing. She'd been the one to deepen the kiss, opening her mouth beneath his. His lips had been dry and his beard a bit scratchy but his mouth had been soft and warm, his tongue stroking hers and making her shiver. He'd held her so gently, but she'd felt the strength in him nonetheless.

She'd known from that moment that he'd kissed her that she'd have no one else. Her heart was set.

Aragorn entered the bedroom, having been washing his face in the adjoining room. Arwen smirked, letting her robe fall to the floor. She'd purposefully worn nothing underneath.

His grin was feral as he moved towards her, and she welcomed him with open arms. She loved the way he pinned her beneath him, how his arms would position themselves on either side of her head, blocking her view of the outside world. Everything was washed away, reduced to just the two of them, and she could swear that the rest of the world had never existed in the first place.

It had been like that the first time they'd lain together. If anyone, especially her father, were to ask then this night was their first joining but the truth of it was that they'd started making love many years ago, and this night was only a continuation of that tradition.

Aragorn leaned down, kissing her, and she wound her arms around his neck. He had become more confident in his attentions to her, especially when he'd realized with what enthusiasm she returned them, but his touches still held that infinite gentleness. That a warrior such as he could be so soft, and all for her, never ceased to give her a thrill.

No words were exchanged as they moved together, their touches confident after so many years of practice, but it had been different on their first night. Arwen remembered it had been after he'd courted her in secret, many months after their first kiss. It had been the night that he'd proposed to her at Cerin Amroth, when they'd promised to stay true through whatever tribulations came their way. Her father had expressly forbidden their marriage, but they could be married in body and truth if not by law.

There had been an autumn moon in the sky then as well, she recalled. It had hung ripe and low like fruit, shining identically to the one now spreading its beams through the balcony window, revealing themselves to each other's gaze.

He had whispered so many things to her that night, words that she knew he was thinking even now. He'd confessed that their meeting at Lórien was not the first time he had seen her; how, when he was twenty, he had first spied her walking in the gardens at Rivendell and had lost himself to her beauty. He'd kept repeating his awe of her, kissing it into every crevice and plane of her skin until her head was spinning with it. He called her strong. He called her loving. He called her his inspiration, his light in the darkness, his very humanity. To everyone else she was the Evenstar, but to him she was the guiding star, the one that showed him the way home. She was his home, he had whispered.

She remembered crying, overwhelmed with the mixture of love and loss. He'd at first mistaken her tears for pain, and had apologized profusely. She'd kissed his fears away, frantic with the thought that he'd leave. She had never felt so loved, she'd said. It was a different form than her love for her parents and brothers took, and it filled her to bursting. He was leaving in the morning, she'd said. He was leaving and neither of them knew when they'd meet again.

He hadn't said anything, but she'd seen the weight of sadness in his eyes and felt the warmth of tears when he next kissed her.

But this night was a far cry from the first. It was a night of joy, a night of abandon. They no longer had to sneak around or remain quiet for fear of discovery. Tonight, when they were finished, Aragorn wouldn't have to return to his own chambers. This was their room, and she would wake up the next morning in his arms. She could cry out, and gasp, and moan without wondering who could hear them. He could give that throaty laugh she loved when she rolled them over playfully, his teeth bared and shining in the moonlight. They could make a mess without worrying about cleaning it up immediately afterwards, and they could make the bed creak without fear of questions. And they could kiss, and kiss, and kiss, and take as much time as they pleased. He could move within her slowly, languidly, building up a pleasant burn of pleasure instead of the hasty, near-panicked coupling of previous years. Not that it hadn't been good - she'd lived for those moments when they'd been one person, one heart instead of two - but it was nice to take their time. It was a beautiful thing to know that she didn't have to wake up to an empty bed, wondering when she would see him again. It was a relief to know that when she came down to breakfast in the morning she didn't have to avoid his eyes, knowing that if they looked at one another she'd see the heat in his gaze and feel her body respond. Now he could look at her with that knowing gleam in his eye, the one that he no longer had to hide. Now she could lay bare the red marks on her throat, the signs of his possession, instead of healing them away with magic. Now when she saw the desire in his eyes, or felt it in hers, they could act on it instead of walking along and pretending that nothing was teeming beneath the surface of the serene conversations.

"How long," He murmured. "How long have we waited to do this without shame?"

She smiled, her fingertips trailing up his back to grip at his shoulders. "Long enough," She replied.

She loved how he moved in her. She loved how he held her and caressed her. She loved how he touched her everywhere, worshipping her and whispering eulogies of love into the sweat of her skin. But at that moment, more than anything, she loved that she didn't have to hide it away. She could take it out into the light and let the entire world gaze upon it. Whatever came after, she had this. She had this night and his love, and every night afterwards. The autumn moon would have its time, and wane, and slowly die, but this would never fade.

She refused to silence her cry, and delighted in his. She felt every tremble of his body, every heaving breath, and what was more she felt the hot life spreading from him to her, filling up her body.

Another thing they no longer had to do without.

He had been hers the moment he had seen her, and she had been his the moment he had kissed her. But now the rest of the world could see it, and their joining of hearts and lives was complete.

Arwen smiled up at the autumn moon, and let herself fall asleep in her husband's arms.

This turned out to be a lot more poetic and freeform than I had originally intended, but I hope you still enjoyed it! Reviews are the preeeecious.