author's note.

Warnings- Character death. Slash, but nothing bad- Just a "chaste kiss". Oh, and it's kinda a dark fic. Don't ask why I wrote it… It was based on a dream (one that wasn't nearly as dark, but it progressed on its own).

Please review, I would love to know what you thought, or any constructive criticism. I'm just getting back into writing, so I'm a little rusty (and wary).

Esta sinome, Melamin.

Rest Here, My love.

Aragorn and Legolas stood on the bridge, high above the raging falls of the Bruinen. Tears glimmered in the ranger's eyes as he stared at the water below.

"You know I have to do this." Legolas whispered, his voice void of emotion, his eyes no longer holding the sparkling joy of life, now a dull grey instead of their once striking green. He still lived… on the outside. But inside he was empty. His soul had fled during his capture. It was not the physical torture that had done it- no, he could survive that. It was the mental angiush he had been put through, the terrible hole in his heart after they had used his for their own pleasure. That was what caused him to lose hope, caused him to give up.

Aragorn nodded silently, his head hanging to his chest as he leaned against the railing of the bridge. He knew, but he didn't want to admit it to himself. He wanted Legolas to stay with him, to try and recover… He looked up to the prince's blank stare, and it reminded him why this was happening. The Elf could stay with him, but there was no hope for his recovery. If he stayed, he would simply…exist. He could no longer love, no longer laugh, no longer see the beauty of anything around him… He couldn't even cry. No matter what Lord Elrond tried, nothing succeeded. Not even Mithrandir could help him now. He was a lost soul. Not even Aragorn could make his bear the pain of staying here, just to be with him. Months Legolas had survived the dungeons of Barad-Dur, months he held on to the hope that someone would come for him. And for months Aragorn had tried. But Mordor proved to be as impenetrable as it was said to be, and many times Strider almost gave up. It was the thought of Legolas, chained to a wall and being tortured until they made him scream that made him try again. He would never forget the day he found his love.

He lay on his stomach in the middle of the room, not even bound. But there was no need for him to be. Almost every limb in his body was broken, whip lashs and knife slashes covering his skin. Nothing but the shredded remains of his hunting garments covered him, and they were stained deep red with crimson blood. His once long, shining golden hair had been hacked so it hung raggedly about his chin, matted with his own blood and tears. He had screamed in raw protest when he saw Aragorn, his body and mind so violated and abused he barely recognized him. He had carried the Elf back to Mirkwood, but the healers could only treat some of the physical wounds. When he had improved some, they brought Legolas to Rivendell to be placed under Lord Elrond's care. Now, he stood beside Aragorn on the bridge. Had he not known him, the Ranger would have never guessed the horror he had experienced. All his physical wounds had healed. Although it had not grown completely back, his hair had grown enough to hang evenly above his shoulder. Instead of tattered rags, he was dressed in a shining blue tunic and soft black leggings.

"Aragorn?" The soft voice voice interrupted his thoughts and he looked up in response.

"I'm sorry," Legolas said, his eyes still fixed on the river below them. Of all the things Aragorn expected him to say, sorry wasn't one of them. He placed a hand over his in silent comfort.

"It is not your fault, none of it is. I should have found you sooner. I tried…" The human trailed off shamefully.

"I know." The prince whispered. He stood fully and turned to face the other, meeting his eyes.

"Aragorn, promise me you won't blame this on yourself. I can only do this knowing that you feel no reponsibility for what happened." The blonde prince looked into his grey eyes for a while, before forcing the two words out. It took all Aragorn's heart to admit to himself this wasn't his fault, and that nothing he could have done would change what was to happen, and it took even more to speak it.

"I promise." He answered softly. Legolas took the man's hand in his own and brought it to his lips, placing a gentle kiss there. Looking into his eyes once more, he said,

"Now or never." Aragorn would have preferred the second, but it was no longer an option. From his belt he drew a long silver dagger and placed it in Legolas's upturned palm. The golden prince placed the blade across his opposite forearm and pressed down, dragging at upwards. A long, thin line of blood appeared. He repeated the motion on the other side without hesitation. He looked up and met Aragorn's eyes, and for the first time in months, Aragorn spotted a flicker of emotion- the briefest flash of sorrow.

The blade clattered uselessly to the ground and Aragorn took the porcelain hands in his. When the Elf fell, the Ranger caught him easily and lowered them to the ground. He leaned against the side of the bridge, legs on either side of Legolas and the fair head on his chest. The immortal's breathing started to shallow and he turned his face upwards Aragorn's.

"Thank you." He placed a chaste kiss on the lips above him. "I never stopped loving you…" He added in a voice barely over a whisper.

"I know." Was all Aragorn could manage. Seeming content, Legolas closed his eyes and rested against the man's chest, his life slipping from his just as the blood flowed from his wrists. The mortal kissed the top of his head as his tears started to pour forth.

"I love you…" He said in a choked whisper. But Legolas never heard it.

Lord Elrond ran to the bridge as soon as he heard word of Aragorn and Legolas being seen there. He knew what was going to happen; it couldn't be prevented, yet for some reason he still wanted to try. He stopped when he reached his destination, walking hesitantly onto the bridge. His heart sank. It was too late.

Aragorn sat against the side of the bridge, his head resting against Legolas's. Around them was a pool of blood, but Elrond knew it wasn't his son's. As he got closer, he saw the slices across Legolas's wrists and knelt beside the couple. Aragorn looked up at him with eyes full of grief and a strange calmness… Elrond recognized it as acceptance. The Elf Lord placed a hand on the man's shoulder in comfort. In a solomn voice, Aragorn spoke,

"He's free now."

finis.