Title: Diplomacy Part 42

Author: Arisma

Rating: R (for some naughty, naughty bits... and some foul language.)

Disclaimer: Legolas, Mirkwood, Thranduil... all of that is Tolkiens. I'm just taking them out to play with, cause they're shiny. I will put them back in the box, in the proper order, when I'm done. I also promise to wipe the drool off of Legolas and any excess that might have gotten on any of the other characters by proxy.

The basic concept of bladesingers and the title querimhinue is the property of WoTC, and I'm merely borrowing those too.

I do claim The Quel, both Nessar and A'Har as my own. Rhyalla, Kallo, Kailin, all mine. The waste, Tir Roac and all future 'non-canon' locations are the product of my mind as well. When I'm done with them I'll put them back in my own teeny box of creations, next to the cedar wood butterfly and the sculpy clay horns. (Don't ask.) If for some strange reason you'd like to borrow them or the settings, feel free to contact me and we'll work out details.

Feedback / Contact: Arisma_@hotmail.com

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He woke slowly, pale sunlight just beginning to lighten the tent around him. He stretched languidly, warm and sated and sleepily content. He looked down at the woman sleeping beside him, her cheek resting lightly on her hand, dark hair mussed, pale face full of the innocence of sleep.

With careful fingers he brushed an errant lock away, tucking it behind a delicately pointed ear. His fingers lingered a moment, gliding over the silky locks before drifting down to trace the gentle curve of her cheek, along the soft line of her jaw. He felt warmth swelling within him, the fierceness of his love for this woman familiar but still strong enough to take his breath away. Tomorrow they would be bonded, one more day until they were well and truly made as one.

The past few days had been good days, tears and laughter shared in equal parts, moments of easy silence. Images of Rhya, eyes focused intently on him as he spoke sunlight streaming around her, washing her face with golden tones. Laughing together as they wrestled on the floor, letting her pin him for a few moments before twisting, holding her wrists above her head, demanding a kiss for her release and forgetting all about the game when she complied.

He heard the tent flap raise in the outer section of the tent and quieted his breathing, wondering why there was no sound of bells to announce the arrival of their breakfasts. No sooner had he completed the thought but the flap to the bedroom was raised and a decidedly masculine head poked through.

He controlled the instinctive tensing of his body as well as he could, not wanting to wake his lover in haste. His eyes met those of Caledan, surprise flooding through him on the heels of relief. "Good morning, Taren. I hope I did not wake you." The elder elves face was once again wrapped in the thin gauze often worn by the A'Har, only his eyes showing, the intensely blue orbs fixed on solely on him.

"I was awake already." he paused a moment, his eyes drifting down to his love, noting her eyes still closed and her breathing still slow and steady with sleep. "Can I help you, Caledan?" he asked, softly, pushing himself to a sitting position, careful to keep the sheet well above his waist.

"Tomorrow is your bonding with Tarien Nessar, as I am sure you are aware." He fell silent, waiting until Legolas nodded his assent before continuing. "What you may not be aware of is the A'Har traditions regarding the binding. It is custom to spend the day before away from your intended, to undergo ritual fasting and cleansing. For those born to our ways it is traditional for the friends of the groom to sneak in and abduct him in the dead of night... however having heard of your proficiency in melee combat I decided it was more prudent to inform you of your imminent departure."

Legolas could see the smile in the other elfs eyes, surprisingly adept now at reading facial expressions despite the hindrance of the veiling. "Likely a wise choice. Am I to go with you now then?"

Caledan nodded, his eyes drifting to the sleeping woman beside him for an instant before flickering back to his. "I will give you a moment to say your farewells. I will await you outside." And with a low bow he left, the flap falling shut behind him.

Even knowing that Caledan waited for him, he couldn't bring himself to rush this moment. He shifted onto his side, eyes lingering tenderly on his love. So peaceful in sleep, so innocent in a way words couldn't describe. The thought that he would wake every morning beside her filled his heart with such a rush of warmth that for a moment he found it near impossible to breathe.

With trembling fingers he again traced the soft arc of her cheek, cradling the tender flesh and trailing the tip of his thumb across the swell of her lips. She stirred slightly under his touch and he whispered to her softly, gently calling her from her slumber. "Rhya, love, open your eyes for me."

Slowly, long lashes fluttering faintly she complied, sleepy blue eyes filled even upon waking with love for him, the strange silvery flecks catching the pale morning sun. He felt her lips turn up into the ghost of a smile and he returned the gesture, unable to do anything but. "Good morning, my love." he whispered, his voice a mere breath, his lips but a fraction from her own.

"And to you as well." she replied, voice low and calm.

Slowly, softly, he pressed his lips to hers, a tender kiss that lasted for a minute and more. Leaning back only slightly, able to feel the gentle rush of her breath on his face he smiled again, speaking quietly still. "Tomorrow, love. Tomorrow you will be mine, we will be one. One last setting of the sun and then I will be whole, after all these long years of waiting."

He could see a faint glimmer of tears forming in her eyes and he laughed softly, pressing his lips to her eyelids, kissing away the moisture before it ever truly developed. "Mmm, no tears. No more tears for you." She nodded, eyes bright now and fixed to his.

He could feel the warmth of the sun against the crown of his head as it increased its strength with its climb into the sky. Remembering his reason for waking her to begin with, he pressed another kiss to her lips, making himself keep it short though he would have gladly whiled away another day lost in the haze of her love.

"Rhya, Caledan is here, outside, waiting for me." Her eyes widened questioningly and he continued on in reply. "A'Har tradition states that I spend the day away from you, in preparation for our bonding. Know that it's only the knowledge that after tomorrow no one can ever force me to leave your side that makes me willing to comply."

She smiled softly, a mischievous gleam in her eye. "So I take it then that Kailin talked them out of kidnapping you in the wee hours?" her voice was full of good humor and for a moment he just gaped at her, shocked.

"You... you knew about that?" She grinned and nodded and without a conscious thought he found himself smirking as well. "Why you sneaky... I ought to..." But whatever he was going to say was lost as she closed the gap and began to kiss him, no timid peck but a full fledged kiss that made heat coil in the base of his stomach.

His fingers wound their way into her tresses, tilting her head back and deepening the kiss, his breath coming in short hard pants. Some minutes later he remembered the elder elf awaiting him outside and with an effort of will broke away, looking down at the smugly smiling woman beside him as she spoke. "Saida has been teaching me what is to come. I expected to wake without you today. What a gift to be wrong."

They shared a tender smile and then he forced himself to move, rising easily from the bed and stretching lithely. He felt her hands on the small of his back and turned to face her, cradling her face as she knelt before him on the bed they shared. "A gift indeed." he murmured, kissing her again.

They stayed that way a long moment, eyes locked and lips pressed together. Finally, with a sigh she sat back, smiling in a secret way. "Go now, love. The sooner began the sooner ended, yes?"

He nodded, turning and tugging on his clothing hurriedly, now anxious to finish what lay before him. When finished he turned back to her one last time, met eyes already fixed on him. "I love you."

"And I you." A simple statement from her.

"Until the morrow, love." he whispered, ghosting his fingers along her cheek one last time.

"Until then, Legolas." Without another word he left the room, gaze fixed straight ahead. The sun was climbing into the sky as he emerged from the tent, meeting the calm, un perturbed gaze of Caledan immediately.

"Are you ready, Taren?" the elder elf asked, smiling softly.

"Lead on." he replied, walking with easy steps behind his guide, away from his love and towards their future.

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A/N-

Ellerina Rose- So glad you weren't disappointed. Lira choking on wedding cake... hrm, now there is an idea I could grow to like. And what a gift to the couple, yes?

Kate- I am glad the last chapter made you feel better. If that's so than this one must have made you downright giggly. See I can write happy fluffy too. Hope you like it.

DemonQueen17- Oh! Ten points for you! I could tell you... but then I'd have to kill you. Honestly, there will be more of that big ol' hunk of elf in later chapters. I'm so glad he has not been entirely forgotten... at least not by everyone.

The Oreo of Love- First off, that name just makes me giggle. Now, welcome, welcome! *pulls up a fluffy chair, serves tea and cookies* Make yourself at home, enjoy the refreshments, hope to hear more from you in the future!

Ravenhart- *Tosses you a life vest* Hopefully you were able to tread water thus far. So sorry for the effort. I know how much work it is to keep your head over water when the sap starts a-flowing. Just think of the amount of calories it must be burning though! Story and exercise regime in one!

Much appreciation to Kris the Wonder Beta (tm) for her ever so excellent helpfulness.

This story is nearing 200 reviews on FF.net. I'd appreciate if everyone who reviews would leave an email address as I have a special gift planned for lucky number two-double-oh. If there is no addy attatched to that review, it will go to the next in line and so on and so forth. And thanks for reading!

~Arisma~

For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926)