Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings remains the property of J R R Tolkien and New Line Cinema etc. I'd rather get reviews than money anyway.

Timing: This fic takes place some years after the One Ring was destroyed. Obviously it is somewhat AU. Notably, in this fic Elrond has not left for the Grey Havens and remains Lord of Rivendell.

Pairings: Haldir/OFC, also one m/m. Mild, mostly implied, but there. If the idea bothers you, you probably won't enjoy the story and there's no sense in reading it if you don't.

This fic has nothing whatsoever to do with my other fic 'Traps'. I am starting to post the two fics together so that if everyone hates this story and no one reviews, I can be partially consoled by the reviews from that.

And so, I take the plunge and introduce 'A Comedy of Eros'.

'Part 1'

Lothlorien was the picture of calm. The sun rose majestically, the birds began their dawn chorus. It was truly idyllic.

And then it was shattered.

"I DO NOT NEED TO RELAX!" Haldir bellowed.

For some reason he couldn't quite fathom, very few shared this opinion.

"Haldir, it's only for a couple of weeks," Rumil said, in a placating tone. "And you'll have a wonderful time. Rivendell is beautiful this time of year."

Haldir pushed the last of his belongings roughly into his horse's saddle bags and eyed the animal with dislike. "I see no reason why I must leave my duties and travel all this way for a . . . " his nose wrinkled in distaste, ". . . vacation."

"Because you made a promise to Legolas that you would attend his wedding and he is holding you to it," Rumil reminded him.

"It is completely unreasonable of him to do such a thing," Haldir muttered mutinously. "I meant to make no such promise. He shamelessly took advantage of me when I was . . . slightly inebriated."

"Utterly soused," Orophin corrected, risking a small smile. Haldir glared menacingly at him.

"Well perhaps that will teach you to try and match drinks with a Mirkwood elf," Rumil said. "And the King's son at that! That elfling was probably suckled by barrels of Thranduil's best brew."

Haldir deftly mounted his horse, ignoring their comments.

"Farewell, my brothers," he said. "I shall not be gone long. Pray that when I return, I'm in a better mood."

Rumil and Orophin watched as Haldir rode off, heading for the borders of Lorien and the long road to Imladris, until he was out of sight.

"He doesn't remember, does he?" Rumil said, a wicked little grin pulling at his lips. "About the other part of the promise he made to Legolas?"

"Certainly doesn't look like it," Orophin agreed, a matching one taking over his face.

"Oh, what I wouldn't give to be there this summer," Rumil said, casting a longing look in the direction Haldir had gone.

"And I too" Orophin said, following his gaze. "It certainly should be an event to remember . . . "


For the life of him, Haldir couldn't imagine why Legolas greeted him with such a look of relief and gratitude on his face. True they had forged some kind of friendship on Legolas' visit to Lorien the year before, but surely nothing to make him now look like he had had Caradhras lifted off his shoulders. If that truly did account for it, then clearly the prince was severely lacking in friends.

"I'm glad you're here, Haldir," Legolas said, completely unnecessarily, in a low voice that suggested he was conveying a great secret. "You have no idea how bad things have been. There are less than two weeks before the wedding and you're my only hope to stop it."

Stop it? Since when was it his job to stop it? And wasn't this supposed to be a rare love match as well as a political alliance?

Legolas started to pick at his nails, demonstrating as nothing else could how on edge he was. He rarely did anything that would reflect negatively on his looks.

"I think father suspects," he said, even more quietly, as a stable hand took Haldir's horse away and they started to walk together towards the guest quarters. Legolas took one of Haldir's bags, although not, Haldir noted, the heaviest one.

"He has been watching me even more closely since we arrived here," Legolas continued, keeping his head bowed. "Insisting I spend almost every minute with Alariel and none at all with . . . who I would choose. I do not know how much more I can take."

Haldir found it difficult to understand why anyone would find spending time with Elrond's niece a hardship. The few glimpses he had had of her on previous visits to Imladris had shown him a rare beauty, and with the Evenstar far away in Minas Tirith, Alariel seemed to shine all the brighter.

"But now you are here, I am sure we can find a way to end this masquerade," Legolas went on, seemingly unconcerned with Haldir's lack of response. "I feel sure she has no more interest in me than I have in her . . . and that you can draw her away enough to make her call off the wedding - as my father will not allow me to. Perhaps then he will see sense and allow me to follow where my heart leads me."

Haldir stopped abruptly and nearly dropped his bag. Pursue Alariel? Prevent the long awaited alliance between Rivendell and Mirkwood? Defy not only Lord Elrond, but King Thranduil too? Dear Valar, this had to be a joke!

"Is there something wrong?" Legolas asked, his expression creasing into a frown.

Haldir nearly broke into hysterical laughter. "Wrong? No, of course not, what could be wrong? I have left my home and my duties and come to Rivendell - fulfilling my promise to you - and I find you intend to send me to my death at the hands of at least one of the greatest lords in Middle Earth. How could anything be wrong?"

Legolas made frantic shushing motions as Haldir's voice began to rise and finally clamped a hand over his mouth.

"What do you mean you have fulfilled your promise?" he whispered fiercely. "I told you how things were and you promised to do everything I asked of you to prevent this sham marriage taking place. Do you now intend to go back on your word?"

Haldir looked pointedly at the hand covering his mouth. Legolas removed it.

"I recall making no such promise," Haldir whispered back, restraining himself with difficulty. "I said I would attend your wedding, which I still intend to do even though you drew that oath from me only after you had made sure I was intoxicated. I have no memory of swearing that I would willingly take part in any suicidal plan to prevent your marriage to a beautiful elleth whom most would cut off their arm to make theirs."

Legolas looked at him, stricken. "Then . . . you not only do not remember making this promise, but also . . . why I asked it of you?" he said faintly.

"As I said," Haldir said frostily. "You had me half out of my wits on your lethal Mirkwood brew. To my knowledge, nothing else took place but your request that I be here for this event."

Legolas' shoulders slumped, an expression on his face like Haldir had just handed him a death sentence. "I should have known . . . that it could not be so easy," he whispered. "I thought you remembered what I told you . . . and you would prevent this. That was my last hope." He broke off, swallowing hard. "But clearly, I shall have to do my duty . . . and sacrifice my happiness for the good of Mirkwood."

He dumped Haldir's other bag unceremoniously on the ground and strode off back the way they had come, looking for all the world as if he was blinking back tears. Haldir stared after him, now utterly confused, angry and more than a little bemused. While a good few elleths had not faired well at his sharp tongue, to the best of his knowledge he'd never made a male elf cry before.


After some thought, Haldir concluded that going back to Lorien before the wedding was out of the question. If for no other reason than because his brothers would probably be on duty at the borders and might well refuse him entrance to the Golden Wood. On balance, that was a scene he would prefer to avoid.

He eventually found his rooms - when a charming elleth, who seemed to be part of the wedding party, pointed him in the right direction - and prepared himself for dinner. He was particularly glad that he had brought his best tunic with him, as he hoped to get at least a dance from said elleth and, with luck, rather more.

He spotted her almost as soon as he entered the room. She shone out like a little golden-haired beacon. Unfortunately, she was standing with Legolas - along with both Lord Elrond's sons - and Haldir felt it might not be diplomatic to approach them. At least not until he had worked out exactly what it was that he didn't remember.

That didn't stop him from watching her though. Which he did, until he had memorised every detail of her face and every curve of her body visible while she was fully dressed. An impediment he had every intention of removing at the earliest possible opportunity.

Indeed he was so intent on watching her that he didn't notice who was standing beside him until he spoke.

"Greetings, Haldir of Lorien," King Thranduil's permanently stern voice said right by his ear.

Haldir jumped and then tried to pretend he hadn't. Thranduil had the grace to act as if he didn't notice, although Haldir had not doubt that he had.

"I understand that you are here at the request of my son," Thranduil said, in what might have been an amiable tone.

Haldir quickly composed himself as best he could. "I gave my word that I would attend his wedding," he replied.

"Then I assume the two of you are friends."

Haldir considered this. Given the events of the day so far, he wasn't so sure. "To some degree," he agreed.

"But not . . . close ones?"

Thranduil's tone seemed to contain a hint of a meaning that Haldir couldn't guess. "I would not say so, no," he answered.

Haldir found himself under careful scrutiny for several minutes. He wondered what the King could possibly be trying to determine.

"If you are friends, then I'm sure you would be prepared to offer a little . . . guidance. For his own good, naturally."

"What kind of guidance?"

"My son is young, Haldir, and I feel he is . . . apprehensive at having such an important responsibility laid on his shoulders as the alliance between Rivendell and Mirkwood."

Haldir somewhat doubted that, given what Legolas had seen and done during the wars of the ring, but decided to be diplomatic.

"I am sure that as an older, more settled male, you can give him a push in the right direction."

A moment later, Haldir felt his arm encased in a steel trap.

"This marriage must happen," Thranduil hissed in his ear. "I have only one son unmarried and no other way to cement this alliance. I rely on you to get my son to the alter on the appointed day, whatever his personal feelings. Otherwise I shall be most seriously displeased. Is that clear?"

Haldir tried not to show any sign of discomfort or nervousness. "Perfectly," he said. As if he could have given any other response.

"I'm glad we understand each other."

And suddenly, without warning, he was alone again.

So, he had now apparently promised both to stop this wedding and make sure it occurred. In retrospect, perhaps something of an error.

What in the name of the Valar was going on here?!

But, as he genuinely did not remember promising Legolas anything of the kind - and had no proof that it had in fact taken place - he could safely disregard that and maintain his honour. After all, he had no motive for keeping Legolas happy.

He tried to go back to admiring the view, but the lovely elleth had disappeared. He quickly scanned the room, employing his tracking skills to zoom in on his prey.

Which is when he realised she was coming towards him. With Legolas on her arm. And he seemed to have cheered up somewhat.

Legolas greeted him with a triumphant smile that put Haldir instantly on his guard. "Greetings," he said. "I am asked to make an introduction. Mellon-nin, this is Haldir of Lorien. Haldir, this is Linisse - my sister."

He was in trouble.

"Delighted to meet you properly," Haldir told her, looking remarkably composed. "And thank you for your assistance earlier. I hope I will be able to return your kindness during my stay here."

"That is most kind of you, sir," she said demurely. "I shall know who to look to if I am in need of anything."

Haldir lifted her hand and bent his head to kiss it. "My lady," he said, "I would be honoured if you would think of me first to satisfy all of your needs."

One eyebrow arched. "You are too generous, my lord."

Haldir saw Legolas' smirk and decided it might be wise to cool it, just a little. He had a nasty feeling he was playing right into Legolas' hands, and that was not a place he wanted to be.

There was a cry of "Lego!" and Elladan, youngest son of Lord Elrond, bounded up with his usual overflow of decorum and claimed Linisse's attention.

"I just realised that I have gone almost this whole evening without reminding your sister that she is the love of my life," Elladan proclaimed dramatically, giving Linisse a dashing smile. "Will the house of Thranduil forgive me?"

Linisse giggled and the hackles rose on Haldir's back. Elladan was such a terrible flirt. Just because he had deflowered most of elleths in Imladris didn't mean he had the right to start on what Mirkwood had to offer.

"The house of Thranduil knows that I am not the love of your life," Linisse replied, in the same tone she had used with Haldir. "And it requests of Lord Elladan that he learn from his brother and behave as befits a son of the house of Elrond."

Elladan clasped his hands to his chest. "I am heart broken," he proclaimed dramatically. "Have you forgotten the beautiful nights we spent in Mirkwood last spring?"

"That would be difficult, sir, when it was not me you spent them with."

"Oh . . . " Elladan began, but that was as far as he got.

"That is quite enough," Elrohir said firmly, taking his brother by the arm. "I apologise for my brother's behaviour. I can assure you that the next time I have cause to visit Mirkwood, I shall come alone."

"Surely there are some in Mirkwood who would miss my presence?" Elladan said, pouting.

"Perhaps a very few," Legolas said. "But I think you may have to look far to find them."

"Oh, I think not, Lego," Elladan said. "I will have you know that I truly left my heart behind in Mirkwood . . . and I have every intention of coming back to claim it."

"Perhaps when you have learnt to act with a little more restraint," Elrohir said, starting to propel him away. "Dinner is served, my lords. I would offer to escort you, my lady, but I fear I have my hands full. Perhaps instead I might request that you reserve me a dance this evening?"

"I would be glad to," Linisse said. "And I will even keep one for Lord Elladan, if he can behave himself through dinner."

"Which he will not," Elrohir said, with a smile. "So I will claim that dance as well."

Haldir watched in amusement as Elrohir towed his brother towards the dining hall. How Lord Elrond had managed to produce two sons so utterly different was beyond him. He had a feeling it might just be beyond Elrond as well.

"Lord Haldir," Linisse said. "As you have declared your attention to see to all my needs, might I ask that you escort me to dinner?"

"Certainly," Haldir replied. "And I shall take the opportunity of reserving a dance of my own."

Legolas followed them silently into the dining room and made no comment even when Linisse voluntarily seated herself next to Elladan. Haldir sat down on her other side and Legolas took the seat beside him. As soon as Linisse was occupied, laughing over some silliness with Elladan, Legolas leaned over towards Haldir.

"Tell me," he said, "is my sister worth giving me aid?"

"What kind of aid?" Haldir asked, asking himself the same question and answering in the affirmative.

"No more than I would do for you, if you help me," Legolas replied. "You will find I can be a very useful ally."

Haldir considered this. "I am prepared to give you some measure of help," he agreed finally. "Although I have yet to discover what it is that makes you so desperate to avoid this marriage."

Legolas looked down at his plate soberly. "Perhaps, after all," he said. "It is better that you do not know."