Forbidden Love

Disclaimer: For the last time (I think) *takes deep breath* DON'T OWN THEM!!!! QUIT BUGGING ME!!!

'Part of Your World (Reprise)' is sung by Jodi Benson, off 'The Little Mermaid' soundtrack. Very nice and sad song, perfect for setting the atmosphere for this chapter… go take a listen, it's short but sweet. ^_^ And kind of hard to find now… It comes from the part after Ariel rescued Eric and he's KO'd on the beach before his steward finds him… Did that help? ^_^"

Last but not least, this fic is slash. So please don't flame me cos I'm warning you in advance.

Part of Your World (Reprise)

What would I give
To live where you are?
What would I pay
To stay here beside you?
What would I do to see you
Smiling at me?

Where would we walk?
Where would we run?
If we could stay all day in the sun?
Just you and me
And I could be
Part of your world

I don't know when
I don't know how
But I know something's starting right now
Watch and you'll see
Some day I'll be
Part of your world

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Dinner that night was a jolly affair. There was much laughter and merriment at the long table as companions of old caught up with each other. The whole Fellowship, minus Gandalf and Frodo, was present, and any table with the irrepressible hobbits present was bound to be a noisy one:

"Pip! That was mine!"

"No, it wasn't, it didn't say 'Merry' on it, did it?"

"But I put it on my plate, so it obviously belongs to me!"

"Too late. I ate it."

"And it's times like these," Gimli commented, "That Gandalf would start his 'You-Fool-Of-A-Took' lecture."

Faramir chuckled. "I was starting to wonder whether those two were fasting the entire journey here in order to eat you out of your kingdom, Aragorn."

Aragorn put on a serious face. "Why else do you think I only invited them back after such a long time? I needed to stock up on my rations before they came back! I can't afford to deal with a famine in my lands now!"

The entire table erupted into laughter. What with all the entertainment provided by Pippin and Merry, it would have been hard to notice anything out of place.

And yet…

"You seem quieter than usual, Elf," Gimli said to his friend beside him. "What wrong with you?"

"Nothing. I've never felt better." Legolas flashed him a brilliant smile.

Gimli snorted. "Right. And I'm taking up permanent residence in Fangorn tomorrow. What's bothering you now?"

"Noth - " Legolas caught the death glare Gimli sent in his direction and quailed. "Alright, alright. It's… it's the sea," he finished, hoping that his friend would not see through his excuse. Not that it was a lie. The sea-longing had not been bothering him much of late compared to his other problems. Problem rather. Which just happened to come in the shape of a human.

"The sea, eh?" Gimli's face took on a strange look. "You elves always speak of sailing to the Undying Lands when your time is over… is it really so nice over there?"

"Not so much as peaceful. It is our respite from this world. Why?"

Gimli shrugged and turned a faint shade of pink. "Well, I wish I could see it… and, you know…"

"Ah…" Legolas arched his eyebrows slightly, "So you wish to see the Lady Galadriel again, is that so?" He laughed as his dwarf friend started spluttering in embarrassment. "That might possibly be arranged. Perhaps I can bring you with me, when I set sail."

"Really?" Gimli's eyes lit up. "But, there's still so much left for you here, why would you want to leave?"

The smile faded from Legolas' face. "There isn't much left, Gimli. There never was." His eyes swept to the head of the table where a certain Man sat.

It was all just a dream.

A dream.

Dream

                                    Dream

                                                                        Dream

"Excuse me, I need to clear my head. The noise is getting to me." Legolas got up abruptly and left, unnoticed by anybody, leaving a disgruntled dwarf to mutter at his retreating back:

"And here I was, thinking that he finally had some sense knocked into that airy-fairy gold skull of his to come back here… Elves!"

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Most of his guests had retired for the night before Aragorn realized that the blonde elf had pulled his disappearing act once more. Cursing himself for letting him slip through his fingers again, Aragorn strode rapidly through the corridors in what he prayed would not be a futile search.

Not in his room…

Not in the hobbits' room either… He heard the sounds of raucous laughter and snatches of drunken song coming from behind the closed door and shuddered. No one in their right mind would want to go there now…

Not in Gimli's room… Gimli isn't even in his room…

The stables again, maybe?

"He's outside." The dwarf's voice came from behind him. Aragorn jumped slightly. So much for his keen Ranger senses.

"He's probably in the gardens. Seems to have a lot on his mind too." The dwarf gave Aragorn a look that seemed to say 'whatever's wrong with him, you're probably the one responsible for it, so go fix it, or else I'll make you sorry you ever had a relationship with him.'

"How did you know?"

Gimli snorted. "We dwarves don't just mine all day you know, we've got eyes as well. You two weren't speaking with each other throughout the entire evening, that much I know. The rest is your problem, and I don't intend to dig deeper."

Aragorn gave a half-hearted laugh. "You're right, I suppose. Thank you, Gimli." Aragorn turned to go in search of his elf.

"One more thing." He turned back to see the dwarf fiddling with his beard. "Good luck."

Aragorn flinched despite himself. I'll need that, especially if the one I'm confronting is Legolas.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

He found Legolas standing at the edge of the gardens, staring unblinkingly out at the expanse of darkness that separated him from the sea. He walked forward, stopping beside the elf.

The elf did not acknowledge the presence of the human beside him, and did not give the slightest indication that he knew the man was there, save for the slight shifting of his eyes.

They stood atop the white tower in silence, the night wind from the sea blowing through their hair. Blissfully unaware of a single figure that watched them from the window of the room she shared with the King.

"You can almost smell the sea from here…" Legolas broke the silence, his voice soft and wistful.

Aragorn waited, knowing that there was probably more to come.

He continued reminiscing, a dreamy look on his face, "I still remember the time we sailed to Gondor's aid. The sound of the gulls… the sound of the waves… the way the light danced off the water…"

"You don't forget, do you?" Aragorn drawled, but the implied meaning was clear.

"No. No, I don't." Legolas closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, then sighed. "I never do. I never can."

The silence stretched between them once more. And then –

"Ride with me."

The statement caught Aragorn by surprise. "Ride with you? Where to?"

Legolas smiled slightly. "I wish to see the sea once more. Will you come?" His voice was slightly pleading, as though begging to be freed of the stifling life he had to live as long as he was confined within the city walls.

Aragorn nodded.

Arwen spent the night alone in her bed.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The waves lapped gently at the shore, the musical rhythm soothing the ache caused by the sea-longing. The dark waters reflected the waning moon, a thin yet brilliant crescent surrounded by pinpricks of starlight. All was still under the moonlight, save for two figures riding down the beach, one clothed in dark colours, the other glowing faintly.

Legolas reined in Arod and swung himself off onto the sand gracefully. He wandered towards the surf, leaving no footprints on the soft sand. He stopped at the edge of the water and stared across the inky blackness, eyes unseeing. "All paths lead to the Sea," he muttered with a wry smile on his face.

"You wish to sail into the West," Aragorn said softly as he dismounted and followed Legolas to the edge of the surf, realizing that his elf had probably brought him here to say goodbye.

"The call of the Sea has been haunting me for too long… I wish to follow it. I wish to free myself from this miserable existence," Legolas' voice trailed off to a whisper, barely audible against the wash of the waves, as he shifted his gaze down to the water that tried to lap at his boots.

"I - " Aragorn swallowed the lump in his throat, forcing himself to speak normally, "If that is what you desire, then - "

"But I can't leave," the elf broke in. "Not like this." He turned to the Man beside him, a wild light in his green eyes. "Don't you understand?"

I am not one to turn around and run away. Even from my past.

He dragged Aragorn towards him to catch his mouth in a fierce kiss.

Even as his human lover pulled him down onto the sand and into a familiar dance, Legolas knew that Aragorn understood.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The moon had set by the time ragged breathing no longer rose above the sound of the sea. Total darkness, save for the starlight, reigned about the two figures wrapped in a cloak in the prelude to dawn.

Legolas lay contentedly against Aragorn, listening to the steady beat of the Man's heart. Aragorn busied himself with combing out and playing with his elf's golden hair… a pastime he had missed.

Finally, the elf stirred. "We should leave soon, if you wish to be back in the city before sunrise."

"Hmph."

"I do not wish to explain the reasons as to why I was not in my bed last night to Gimli… who seems to have appointed himself to be my nursemaid."

"Believe me. He probably knows where you ran off to."

Legolas laughed softly. "Nothing gets past him, it seems."

There was a long pause before Aragorn spoke again, the jesting tone gone from his voice, "I can't convince you to stay behind with me, can I? It would be too selfish of me to do that…"

"Indeed, it would."

Aragorn's jaw dropped at that calm agreement. He had not expected that reply.

"But," the elf continued calmly, ignoring the human's confusion, "we can make a deal."

"A deal?"

"Yes, a deal." The elf glanced sideways at his companion and smirked slightly. "You know, an agreement, a compact, a promise… that kind of thing?"

Aragorn frowned at his elf, "I know what a deal is…"

Legolas laughed again. "Really? Who would have guessed." He flipped Aragorn over onto his back and propped himself up on his elbows, serious once more. "I won't leave. Not yet."

Aragorn's eyes lit up.

Legolas ran a finger down the lean face he had dreamt of throughout their long separation. "I will not leave these shores, not until Death takes you from me. And when you fall sleep in Her cold embrace forever, then and only then will I set sail and pass into the West. In the meantime, I plan to bring some elves over to Ithilien, that place could use our help."

He paused, then continued in an all-too-innocent tone, "Which means that anytime you're free, you can pop by to visit…"

Aragorn smiled and caught the elf's hand. "That is all I ask for." He brought the hand to his lips and kissed it, "Thank you."

"You're welcome. Now," his elf grinned wickedly, "would you mind passing me my clothing please? It seems that our horses have gone missing in their attempt to give us some privacy."

"Do you really think I'd let you off so easily?" Aragorn growled as he rolled over and pinned his elf under him. "I haven't forgiven you for running off like that."

The sound of giddy laughter faded into what was left of the night as the first glimmer of gold appeared in the eastern sky.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The days lengthened slowly as spring turned to summer. Soon, it was time for Legolas to leave Gondor and head back home, and visit the Glittering Caves with Gimli as he had promised.

In the stables, Legolas busied himself with strapping supplies onto Arod as he listened with half an ear to the dwarf gushing about the wonders of the Caves. Suddenly, he felt a presence next to him and knew without looking up that Aragorn was standing there.

"…and I seem to have left my axe in my room… how careless of me." Gimli promptly wandered off, seemingly oblivious to the fact that his axe was strapped securely about his waist.

Aragorn scowled in the general direction of the dwarf. "He didn't have to make it so obvious you know."

Legolas chuckled. "He tries. But he already is as subtle as he can be."

"Hmph. As subtle as walking into a rock." Aragorn ran an eye over the pack Legolas was holding. "Are you sure that's enough?"

"You worry too much, Estel." He swung himself lightly onto Arod's back.

Aragorn placed a hand on Arod's neck. "Remember our deal."

Legolas smiled down at him. "I will." He leant down and brushed his lips against the King's. "I'll come back soon. I promise."

Aragorn nodded. "Enjoy yourself."

Legolas made a face. "In the caves. I'm sure I'll love it." He raised his voice and called out, "Gimli! You can come out from behind the stable doors now! We're leaving!"

Aragorn laughed and shook his head as the dwarf emerged, grumbling and muttering curses at the elf.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Legolas turned to look back at the tiny figure watching them from the top of the tower and raised a hand to wave, even though he knew the human couldn't see him from this distance.

I'll come back soon. I promise.

"You look happier," Gimli commented.

"I am happier."

"That's good then. I kind of missed having you around and singing constantly." Gimli's face turned red.

"You're not getting sentimental on me, are you?" Legolas laughed as his friend turned an even brighter shade of red. "Well, I've got the entire journey back to Greenwood to make up for that now, don't I?"

"I'm never going to be nice to you again if that's the treatment I get for my kindness!"

The friendly banter continued even as Legolas' mind wandered back to the White City and the Man whom he chose to live for.

I will be with you until the end of your time.

We may share a forbidden love, but our hearts will always beat as one.

Forever.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The End

Authors' notes:

Hey… I kept to my deadline for once!!! *bounces around madly throwing sweets in the air* Well, 1 day overdue is better than 1 week, right? Right? Right?

*huge sigh of relief* Finally! That's more or less the official end to this story… I didn't know how tough it was to write an ending to tie up all (most) of my loose ends and resolve the problem (sort of), but it's DONE!!!!!!!!!! *streamers and balloons*

Firstly, forgive me for any geographical errors… I've no idea whether or not it's possible to get to the sea from Gondor in such a short time, but hey, I'm the authoress, I rule the world. Of my fics that is. ^_^" Incidentally, anyone get the significance of the description of the moon? Those who get it right get a virtual lollipop!!! ^_^

Secondly, I got a little stuck in the midst of wallowing in all that angst, so I tried to inject some humour, aka: the hobbits, Gimli and various comments about clothes, stupidity etc. Hope it turned out ok.

Thirdly, I didn't follow the chronological order in writing this story (the Glittering Caves part) because of obvious reasons. If Legolas ran home during the wedding without Gimli, then duh he wouldn't have gone to the Caves alone in an attempt to find a nice angsting spot. Apologies for the sarcasm. It's midnight now and I haven't had much sleep for the past few days. Let me continue ranting tomorrow before posting this…

Last but not least, Vilwarin's story coming up in the next chapter! Not a necessary read; I just felt that since she was a sort of catalyst in this lil' story of mine, she deserved a little side story about her love life. It'll probably be up between 2 to 4 weeks time, depending on whether I've time to write, what with Lunar New Year around the corner… and if I manage to stay corrupted in the 'right' direction despite my friend's attempts to get me thinking about other stuff. But I guess this will be a real test of how warped I've become… I haven't written a single straight pairing since… I dunno… 2002? ^_^" And back then I remember how hard it was for me to write sap… but I digress.

Replies to my wonderful reviewers!!! You guys rock my world! MWUCK! ^_~ (I'm not thinking very coherently now, so excuse the crappy and short replies. ^_^)

Cinnamon-Sweet-Heart: Thanks! Wow… if my fic here really made you cry… heee…. My already very inflated ego is inflating further. Haha… hope you finally got your turn in the "Comfort Leggy FanGirl Q" ^_~ Poor elf must be either overly comforted already, or else he's been overly traumatized by his fanclub. ^_^ Thanks a lot for seeing me through this entire fic… really appreciate you taking the time to review each chappie. ^_^

evil spapple pie: *rofl* Oh dear… I'm starting to feel sorry for Arwen the way you propose to treat her… Thanks for the… err… suggestion as to how to end my story (from Arwen's end) but considering that she only gets 2 lines of mention here… you can always fill in the blanks yourself. ^_~ I didn't really state what happened after she finished spying on them right? *evil grin* Maybe she fell off the balcony or something. ^_^

Zelda Saturn Mistress: Oops, I think I confused you with another person with 'Saturn' in her user name… ^_^ Sorry! Hahaha…. 15 mile radius… poor little Arwen… I doubt there'd be very much of her left if you and 'evil spapple pie' (*points up*) managed to get hold of her. ^_^ Oh dear… sadistic side of me is starting to have bad thought… tsk tsk….

Child of Magick: *lol* Glad you liked my story, hope you like this chapter too! Although the song isn't by Evanescence… they didn't have anything suitable for it, and I'd arranged the order for the songs/chapters a long time ago so didn't feel like changing it. (I'm a lazy person. ^_^)   

farflung: *rofl* Yup yup, Leggy dear certainly has great body language in RotK no? ^_^ Gah, brain going into warpedness overdrive now… So, guess the chapter kinda clears up his fate, so hope you liked the way it ended. ^_^ Also, thanks for seeing me through this story too! ^_^

GeNo C. iDe1: Thank you! Hopefully this chapter meets the 'angst overload' criteria, although I don't think it's as bad as the previous chapters… blame in on lack of sleep… makes me hyper and stoned at the same time…

Lillybeth1: *lol* Looks like you're in luck this week, 'cos I actually kept to my deadline (for once). ^_______^ Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!! Hope you guys liked this chapter... and apologies for the number of stupid mistakes I made in the previous chapter... I was too stoned when I posted it to pick up my mistakes... and not to mention having a serious eye ache from staring at the computer screen... Until next time then! *waves and vanishes*