Aragorn... His name was Aragorn.
Legolas' task had now come full circle. Though he still had no idea why his father had given him such a task, Legolas realized, with a sad smile, that this task had brought him back to the very person he had been running from. It was absurd, he smiled wryly, for someone who feared almost nothing. But in a way, he did fear that one elleth, for the heartache that only she could wrought.
"Estel- Aragorn, " Legolas spoke up. "I know not why Gandalf had decided to give you this burden to bear, but I do know this. You are Isildur's heir - maybe it's true that the same weakness that held Isildur back from destroying the ring flows in your blood; but is it not true that the same strength which defeated Sauron resides in it? Take heart. Isildur's blood may run in you, but you are not the same person. The man I've fought with is better than that."
"Please call me Estel, my friend, for it is the name that I am in need of right now," Aragorn replied. "You speak courage to my heart, my friend. And yet, it seems, that a different fear haunts you."
Legolas glanced sideways at Aragorn, whose usual grin was plastered back on his face. "It's that elleth, isn't it? I haven't seen you act so dismissively to anyone before. It's unlike you."
It appeared that his friend was amused by his obvious discomfort around Tauriel.
A couple of days passed before the unavoidable encounter; after all, they were both guests of Lord Elrond's. She had been on her way with Arwen to retrieve some Athelas for the healing halls, while Legolas and Estel seemed to be headed for the training grounds. Their supplies and provisions would be ready in another three days, after which it had been decided that Legolas and Estel would leave together, heading for the woodland realm and misty mountains respectively.
Arwen had waved happily at both men, pointedly ignoring Tauriel stiffening beside her. "'Quel re, gentlemen, what occupies you this morning?" she asked, with a glint in her eyes which told Tauriel that she had something up her sleeve.
Estel answered, "We were just finding our way to the armory. We will need to replenish our weapons for the journey ahead. Alas, we haven't had luck finding it."
Legolas had shot Estel a pointed look of warning, which the latter hadn't notice - or perhaps ignored. After all, she had heard that the ranger Estel, had grown up in Rivendell as Lord Elrond's foster child. Elrohir and Elladan were very fond of him.
Legolas was clearly aware of that fact, for he interjected, "Do not worry about us, my lady. I'm sure we'll be able to locate it shortly."
And clearly, he wasn't as aware of how determined Arwen could be when she put her mind to it. "Oh no, it would be tardy of us to leave you to search for it when we could easily show you the way. I am on my way to locate Athelas for the healing halls, but Tauriel can show you there."
Before she could interject, Legolas' companion chipped in, "Oh no, please allow me to accompany you instead. The lands beyond Rivendell's borders have not been as safe as they once were."
There was no polite way out of this, it appeared, as Arwen gifted Estel with a stunning smile, looking awfully pleased that her machinations had worked out. The young man stood no chance against Arwen's charm; a slight flush had settled upon his skin, and he proceeded to offer an arm to Arwen. As they left, a light chuckle escaped Arwen's lips as Estel made a comment only for the latter's ears.
It would be better to get over this task, and she murmured, "This way, please," turning to lead him towards the armory. A silence fell upon them, and she would have thought Legolas had decided not to follow but for the light footfalls echoing her steps. Tauriel hated that she had to lead the way, for the impulse to turn and look behind her was strong. But it was something she wouldn't allow herself to do.
He had walked passed her into the armory, which she had identified with a short sweeping gesture. But as she turned to leave, he asked, so softly that she almost didn't hear him, "Sut naa lle...?"
Whirling around, she studied him. His expression took her aback; when they last met, his glacier blue eyes were distant and cold. Yet now, there was only gentleness, sadness and... Relief?
Legolas continued on, haltingly, as if he struggled to find the right words, "I... I had often wondered... feared... that you would not have survived the passing of that dwarf..."
He fiddled with another arrow. "Tauriel," his voice grew hoarse as he said the next words, "you have no idea-"
His voiced hitched, and the unspoken words lay in the air between them. You have no idea what it would have done to me...
Tears welled up in her eyes at his rare display of emotion. "Legolas, I-" she struggled, but her throat tightened. She shut her eyes against the tears that threatened to spill over. Amin wethrine lle, mela en' coiamin...
"Forgive me, Legolas, I-"
"There is nothing to forgive," it was then that Legolas lifted his eyes to meet hers. "For years, I'd stayed away. Thinking that if I wasn't there to see you wallow in grief, to see the light of life fade from your eyes, that I'd be spared from the pain of losing you...
But the question haunted my every step... Diola lle... mellonamin."
He lifted a hand slowly, carefully, reaching towards her face. His fingers lingered near her cheek, before he clenched then slightly, and put a hand on her shoulder. She looked down at his hands, savoring that familiar weight, before meeting his eyes.
"Would you not return home with me, Tauriel?"
Their eyes met and blurred from unshed tears.
Aragorn had immediately caught on to what the lady was planning. Elrohir and Elladan were not fibbing when they'd told him tales of their sister. Her deceptively genial mannerism hid a mesmerizing personality only matched by her famed beauty.
Nonetheless, he would not have aided her in her scheme had he not felt that his friend needed that very push. For all the centuries they'd lived, elves could be the most pig-headed creatures.
Of course, that it gave him an excuse to be in the company of someone as intriguing as the lady Arwen was an added boon.
"Do you think they'll have a good talk?" Arwen asked suddenly.
"Perhaps. I think they wanted it, deep down. But Legolas is proud, and I daresay, your friend too. It would have taken a hundred years if not for that little push you gave them - exceptionally done, my fair lady," he smirked.
She gave a little huff, commenting, "I couldn't have borne with it for longer. Anyone looking at those two would think that they were Beren and Luthien, when all that really is keeping them apart is in the mind."
"And you, my lady? What do you think of the tale of Beren and Luthien - tragic, is it not?" Aragorn asked.
"Tragic? No, I do not think that their tale is tragic. Tragic is an immortal life without the meaning. Luthien must have found joy, even briefly."
'Quel re Good day
Sut naa lle...? How are you?
Amin wethrine lle, mela en' coiamin... I deceived you, love of my life..
Diola lle... mellonamin. Thank you... My friend.
Thank you for the reviews and story favorites! It's really a great encouragement to see people enjoying this story, which admittedly started as a form of self-gratification - to fulfill my own desire to see more of the Legolas/Tauriel pairing.
I think it's necessary that they at least admit the desire to recover some form of that friendship. Although Legolas, who has always been a bit more candid about his feelings towards Tauriel, alludes to her being more than that. At this stage, they just miss each other. It'll take a lot more for Tauriel, at least, to admit her feelings. Tauriel, in my mind, is such a private person, even to Legolas. Legolas, on the other hand, is able to admit his feelings (only) to Tauriel, and it doesn't matter if someone else can tell.