CB: Something that simply jumped up and bit me on the nose one day…*sighs* apparently I'll never be free of these infernal plot bunnies!
Seth: *Whistles innocently*
CB: *Looks vaguely suspicious*

Warnings: In this here fic is the following: SLASH, meaning MALE/MALE relationships. There is also a rather graphical description of SEX so consider yourself warned
Pairing: C'est moi! Of course it will be Aragorn/Legolas

Disclaimer: See that flying pig over there? That tells me I own Lord Of The Rings…oh wait, pigs don't fly…could it be I DON'T own it?

The soft wind that shook the bows of the trees swept through dark hair and seeped with icy precision between the folds of a deep green cloak that was clasped around a wiry body, trying to ward off the worst of the chill.

Strider, as he was called by some, swore quietly and glanced up at the darkening sky, shivering as several small splashes of rain managed to find their way down the back of his neck. Glancing back, he saw the rest of the company were faring no better. The Hobbits were stumbling after one another in a straggling row, Merry clutching tightly onto Pippin's hand as Sam and Frodo skirted a fallen tree. Behind them, Gimli followed, swearing a good deal more loudly than the grey clad ranger had, occasionally tripping over roots which seemed to spring from nowhere to unbalance him. Further back, Boromir was conversing with Gandalf as they both kept an eye on the halflings, hurrying behind them in the gathering gloom. 

Unnoticed, the last member of their company had arrived at the ranger's side, and touched him gently on the shoulder. "Estel, is it wise to continue? Look at the little ones, they are exhausted." Concerned blue eyes peered up into grey ones as the elf cocked his head slightly, "Perhaps it would be better to make camp here."

Aragorn hesitated, a small frown marring his features. "I had hoped to be through here by the end of today." He admitted reluctantly, glancing around at the ominous looking trees. "I did not think it wise to linger in this forest…particularly not after dark." He looked up at the sky. "You have heard the legends of this forest also, have you not?" He questioned of his friend, his fingers straying to the hilt of his sword, even as the bushes in front of him rustled slightly.

"Of its power?" Legolas questioned, "Yes, I have heard of it, but surely you do not fear dreams Estel," He smiled, showing perhaps too many teeth for Aragorn's liking, "they are just the product of the subconscious." Carefully he notched an arrow into his bow before swinging it up, taking aim and releasing in one smooth movement. There was the harsh cry of a bird and then a dull thump that indicated supper had just been caught. "If it worries you so much, I will stand guard this night, in case we are attacked in dreams…I do not need to rest as much as you mortals." On seeing Aragorn still hesitating, he placed a hand on his shoulder, "My friend, you must think of the little ones." He said softly.

On Aragorn's reluctant nod, he smiled again and darted back down the path to Merry, who had collapsed on the log. "Come, we will find a camping place for the night." He called, reaching down and pulling the weary hobbit to his feet.

Aragorn rubbed a hand wearily over his eyes as he reluctantly followed the rest of the company back down the trail to a glade they had passed no more than five minutes ago, picking up firewood as he went. "It is not the dreams I fear." He muttered to himself, idly wiping his hand on a corner of his cloak as he balanced the pile of wood on one arm.

"Careful!" A cheerful voice cried, just as the pile began to slip, and quick pale hands darted out to catch the wood before it tumbled to the floor. "You nearly lost all of our heating for the evening Estel, be more careful!"

 The elf continued to chide the weary ranger all through supper, until Pippin asked his why he insisted on calling the lost king 'Estel' when most called him Aragorn.

Bright eyes turned on the Hobbit and Legolas paused for a moment, his gaze flickering back to Aragorn for the briefest of seconds before he smiled. "It is because that is his elvish name," He explained to the interested halfings, "It means 'hope'." He added, glancing once more at the weary ranger, "It is important to hold onto hope during this troubled time, is it not?" When Gimli snorted at the apparent double meaning behind it, he elaborated, "Estel seems to be the symbol of what we are fighting for, does he not? He is the future king who can unite the race of men, and he also brings us hope during this troubled time."

The Hobbits laughed in delight and Aragorn gave a wry smiled as he leant with his back up against a tree trunk, smoking his pipe. "Before you go to sleep," He interrupted, sparing himself from further embarrassment, "I must warn you that you may dream many a strange tale this night." Seeing all eyes turn to him, he continued, "This forest is renowned for showing you your deepest desire in your sleep. You may not even know what you desire so fully in your conscious mind, but your ideals are stripped from you until you know only that which you want when you rest within these borders."

Gandalf nodded, easing himself into a sitting position by the fire. "Aragorn speaks truly, but fear not, there is no evil within this land, it is a simple thing that often turns out for good when we know the deepest longing of our hearts."

"Why here?" Pippin questioned eagerly, "Why is it in this forest that people realise their deepest dreams?"

"I may answer that." Legolas said quickly, moving still nearer to the fire, so the flames reflected in his hair, making it seem like part of the inferno itself. "Once, long ago, there was a sorcerer who lived in the very centre of these woods. He was very old and very wise, but whenever he looked out of the highest window of his tower, he was filled with a deep and abiding sadness because the races of Middle Earth were so foolish. He came to believe that it was due to the fact that people had become too inhibited by rules and sanctions, so that they had, in fact, lost a part of themselves, which was buried behind a pile of taught morals. So he cast a spell that anyone entering this land would be freed from their inner bonds in their sleep, so they could see clearly that which they desired the most." The elf smiled, looking around, "I have heard that many who have experienced this have been altered very much for the better."

Merry laughed, but he was the only one who did so; everyone else was casting sidelong glances at one another, trying to work out whether they believed the story or not, and if so, how it affected them. "So beware falling asleep!" The young Hobbit chuckled, ruffling Frodo's hair and pulling a scary face at Pippin, "For the old Wizard will get you!"

"Fool." Muttered Gandalf, but said no more, instead, settling down on the ground and wrapping his cloak around himself. "Come, it is time we were all resting, for we have a long journey still ahead of us."

"I will take first watch." Aragorn said, leaping to his feet and striding to the edge of the circle of firelight as he did so. "You all take some rest while you can, I do not mind."

"But I thought…" Legolas began, but was silenced by a sharp look from the ranger. His lips thinning into a line, the elf lay back, resting his head on one of the packs as he watched the dark form of the king of men standing still and silent under the stars.

********

"Tien Muel, melethron…" A smooth voice whispered in his ear.

The man shuddered as warm breath wafted gently over his skin and he turned to look at the elf through half lidded eyes. "Eren mien?" He murmured stroking the pale face with one finger. "Tía fer non." Lips clashed in a hungry dance and teeth nipped, teasing, begging, caressing as they moved in the age old pattern of lust. Tongues found mouths in a warm, wet embrace and bodies moved closer, unheeding to the fact that they might be discovered at any moment in a compromising position.

Both drew back for a split second and the elf rested his forehead against the man's, his lips kiss swollen and his eyes dark. "Ila galamth." He all but growled, before straddling the man in one, swift movement. "Melethron, mí hadan." Grinning, he leant forwards until noses rubbed together, his head slightly titled at the perfect angle to take the man's mouth with his own, but he waited for a split second, looking into grey eyes that looked like deep pools on a summer's day. "Giáme." He murmured, a lascivious look in his eye as his blond hair fell forwards, light strands tickling the stubble on the human's cheek.

"Heóba, Legolas." The man pleaded, before lunging forward the final centimetre to bring their mouths in contact with one another.

"Ka…tíu…ne…" The elf managed in between fervent yet desperate kisses. "Jíame…" He complained as their positions were suddenly reversed and he found himself staring up at his lover. Slowly, with care, he lifted one hand to brush away the few dark strands that had fallen forwards over the man's eyes before his fingertips trailed down to trace smooth lips, teasing and caressing.

"Eó megh." The man groaned, rolling his hips and causing a surprised gasp to escape the mouth of the elf beneath him. Taking advantage of the open mouth, he swooped down for another kiss that lasted for what felt like eternity.

Fire seemed to race through both their veins, causing the world to fade, until it seemed that only the two of them existed, lit by some inner burning and driven by a desire that could not be quenched. Heated whispers escaped mouths that continued to plunder one another even as ties were undone and clothing stripped from bodies to land in crumpled heaps upon the forest floor. Moonlight silhouetted both of them as they paused in their frantic quest to divest themselves of their clothes and heated blue met its match in fired grey as man and elf simply stood for a brief moment, revelling in the sheer knowledge of what they were about to do.

It was the man who made the first move, stepping closer to the elf and reaching out one calloused hand to gently trace the other's collar bone, which stood out in stark contrast to the rest of the silver, moonlit skin. "Yen pesetamoah." He purred, pulling the fey one nearer by a slender wrist and wrapping both arms around his waist. Both gasped as their bodies came into contact with one another and the elf let out an impassioned moan, slender hands now gripping the taller man's shoulders.

They tumbled to the grass again, the man still on top of the elf, dominating and demanding, but at the same time gentle and considerate as he lightly trailed his fingertips over the smooth skin beneath him.

All too soon, however, lust overcame the perfection of the moment, and before long, the elf was writhing and crying out beneath the man, pleading half in elvish, half in the common tongue as he gripped his lover's shoulders. The man bit his lip, wanting nothing more than to take what was offered to him, but his common sense, whilst greatly reduced, was still active in his mind, and so he coated his fingers with oil, before slipping one finger past the tight entrance of his lover's body.

Wordless cries were now escaping from between rosy lips as two, then three digits drove mercilessly into him then, quite suddenly, the fingers were gone and replaced by something much larger.

Their cries blended in unison, as their bodies melded into one, and the man paused for a moment, stunned by the overwhelming feeling of love and fulfilment he was finding in the arms of this strange yet enchanting creature. But his lover would have it otherwise, and wiggled impatiently beneath him, eliciting a soft moan from the human, who obeyed the silent command, and began moving within the hot orifice.

Time passed but neither knew how long for, conscious only of the movements of the dance that had been decreed since the dawn of time, the satisfying of carnal urges and the fulfilment of one's soul. Heat and friction built as their mindless cries echoed to the cold night sky above, but nobody heard, or if they did, thought it far easier to pretend they hadn't.

There was a flash of brilliant light behind the man's eyelids and he came as his lover trembled beneath him also. Sated, they lay still for long moments, their breath coming in short gasps as their bodies cooled in the small breeze that ruffled the trees. Slowly, the man gathered his new mate into his arms, pulling him close as the light haired one made a small sound of satisfaction and buried his face in the crook of the grey eyed human's shoulder.

"Te amon, Legolas."

"…Te amon, Estel."

********

"Estel….Estel….wake up!"

Someone was shaking him, Aragorn realised muzzily as he tried to ignore the persistent hand on his shoulder that appeared to be determined to shake him until his head fell off. It was very annoying of them, he considered as he lay there, listening to the person above him snort half in amusement and half in exasperation as they paused for a brief moment before resuming their ministrations to try and remedy his unconscious state. He would really have to have a word with them about this, he decided as he cracked open his eyes to squint up at the assailant.

Legolas was crouched over him, his back to the moon so that he was outlined against it. In the half shadows, Aragorn thought he saw an expression of worry on the elf's face, but it was gone the instant after he opened his eyes. "You fell asleep on watch, Estel," his companion chided as he helped a stiff Aragorn to his feet, "I told you I should have taken the duty tonight."

"Nonsense," The ranger returned gruffly, brushing leaves out of his hair and clothes, "I simply drifted off for a moment or two."

Legolas raised an eyebrow and tried not to laugh. "'A moment or two', Estel? Why, 'tis nearly dawn!"

Aragorn blinked and gazed up at the sky, which was beginning to take on the faint tinge of grey that normally appears just before sunrise. "Oh…" He managed, and a guilty expression flitted across his face as he bit his lip and glanced at the floor. "Forgive me my friend," he managed, "I have failed your trust in my ability to protect you from forthcoming danger." He sighed and passed a hand wearily over his eyes, "I am not normally so careless."

"Aye, I know." Legolas said gently, one pale hand still on his arm, "You are as fatigued as the rest of our company but…" He paused and glanced up into shadowed grey eyes, "I thought to wake you because you were crying out in your sleep, as though you had been visited by a nightmarish dream." He hesitated and looked down, "'Tis not that I resented continuing your watch, you understand."

Aragorn looked down at the elf, startled. "But surely then, you must have been awake all night to know that I have been asleep for its duration?" On Legolas's hesitant nod, he laughed quietly. "My thanks my friend, for whilst I slumbered so peacefully, an army of Orcs could easily have crept up upon us and slaughtered us all as we lay there." One roughened hand cupped the elf's cheek and the Prince of Mirkwood smiled in appreciation of his friend's humour. "I am in your debt greenest of leaves."

"Ah, 'tis nothing Aragorn, now come, we must rouse the others."

However, upon returning through the small belt of trees behind which Aragorn had 'kept watch', they discovered that half the fellowship was already awake and talking excitedly. Well…let us put it this way, by half, we mean the Hobbits.

"…Saw the Shire, as plain as I am sitting here…"

"…I saw Rivendell again; Bilbo was sitting there, and we were all gathered there in a time of great peace…"

"A mountain of food and a lovely, warm, soft bed…"

This last was from Pippin, and it was followed by a shout of laughter from the other three Hobbits. "Trust a Took to dream of food." Sam commented as he wiped his eyes on the back of his sleeve.

"I'm surprised there were no mugs of ale in there Pip!"

"Oh but there were!" Exclaimed a wide eyed Pippin, who was looking extremely dreamy as he remembered the food which had been piled before him, "And some of the finest cheeses you ever saw."

Frodo laughed delightedly, until he eyes came to rest on Aragorn and Legolas who were coming towards them, smiles on their faces. "Ah! And what did Legolas of the elves dream of last night?" He asked, running to meet them as they began to gather wood from the around the small clearing. "Did you dream of food like Pippin? Or did you dream of something else."

"I dreamt of my homeland." Legolas said quietly, not quite meeting the young Hobbit's eyes, "I walked again through my beloved forest."

When Frodo had moved further away to rouse Gandalf, Gimli and Boromir, Aragorn turned to regard the elf. "I thought you said you did not fall asleep." He asked quietly.

"I did not," Legolas replied, smiling as he bent to pick up several small twigs, "But it is better for the halflings to hear something of beauty and cheer than the dull truth, for once, do you not think?"

Aragorn raised an eyebrow. "I did not think you capable of lying."

The prince laughed and deposited the firewood by the cold ashes of the previous evening's fire. "Nay, not many do." He said, before turning back towards the ranger. "And what did the King of men dream of last night?"

Aragorn hesitated, searching in the blue depths of his friend's eyes for any indication that he already knew. "A thing of beauty…" He said at last, "…I too, dreamt of a thing of beauty."

A moment seemed to descend and settle, like they so often do, seeming to last eternity as the heir to the throne of Gondor and the son of Thranduil appeared to communicate to each other with their eyes. What passed between them was something bordering on understanding, acceptance and wonder as they suddenly appeared to find a revelation within themselves.

Not far off, Gandalf noticed this, and did his best to divert the Hobbits' attention elsewhere, as they had gathered like little children at a show to gaze upon the spectacle of an elf and a man standing in silent harmony beneath the leaves of a forest that revealed more than just desires.

Legolas had not been telling the complete truth to either Frodo or Aragorn. He had, in actual fact, fallen asleep for a few brief hours the previous night, and he had dreamed. But his dream was not of a forest or his homeland, his dream had consisted of a union under the stars between himself and the one known only to him as Estel.

He did not mention this to any of the fellowship, but he kept the dream of his deepest desire close to his heart, for the dream brought him peace in times of torment, and the phantom memory of lips caressing his own brought a new joy for life.

For 'Estel' means hope, and even elves desire to dream of beautiful things in dark times.