Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings and everything associated with it belong to J R R Tolkien and New Line Cinema etc. The author would not expect to make any money out of this even if it was allowed.

Timing: After RofK

Pairing: A/L, nothing graphic, rating undoubtedly over cautious

First LotR fic, first A/L attempt, trying to beat writer's block. Reviews v.welcome.

The Fellowship of the King

By the time Prince Legolas of Mirkwood rode up the long road in Minus Tirith on a horse like virgin snow, the inhabitants had grown too used to strange visitors even to bat an eyelid. Thus the only reason that they blinked was the bright sunlight reflecting off his hair.

The King Elessar stood on high, watching him. He had known the day was finally come and had been pacing the Fellowship Garden since first light. The white tree of the city no longer stood alone. Sharing its earth were a graceful mallorn of the elves, a solid beech from Rohan, tangled bushes previous only valued by dwarves and, of course, a satisfactory crop of hobbit weed. The garden would not have been complete without it.

The grey havens kept Frodo outside even the King's influence and Sam could not be persuaded to travel so far, not when it meant leaving his responsibilities as a father and in the Shire at large. Merry and Pippin could not make the long journey this year. Gimli, who had faithfully attended each year since the tradition had begun, had not been heard from for several months. Despite the companionship they had offered him year after year, the King found himself unable to grieve for their absence.

Legolas had not attended before. Although the closest, he had stayed away each year, pleading what were doubtless very valid excuses. But this year he was come, not knowing that he would have to face the King alone.

"How was your journey, my friend?" he asked, as Legolas finally appeared before him, showing no sign of the arduous ride he had had.

Legolas did not answer. He looked around the garden, then towards the palace, then at Aragorn, his sharp eyes taking in everything. Then he spoke. "They are not come."

"No. Not this year."

"What has changed?"

"Much. But I know nothing of them."

He knew Legolas would not fail to hear what he was saying.

""King Elessar."

Aragorn held up his hands. "Aragorn," he said. "I am King Elessar to many.but not to you. With you I will always be Aragorn."

"You cannot make the sands of time run backward to what you were then."

"I am as I was when we first met."

Legolas moved away from him silently, coming to stand under the mallorn tree so its blossom-laden branches hid him from sight of all but Aragorn. "As King Elessar you have a kingdom," he said. "A throne, a crown.and a wife. As Aragorn.you had nothing."

Aragorn stepped behind the mallorn curtain and turned to Legolas, his grey eyes glistening with sadness, tinged with regret.

"I had you," he said quietly.