Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I just play in their world.

Elrond stared out over his balcony into the warm midsummer's night. He could hear the soft snoring of the four Hobbits in the room below. He hoped for their sake, the elvish wine they'd consumed with dinner would quell nerves and allow them a good night's sleep. The journey they would undertake tomorrow would claim much of their energy, leaving them weary with toil and strife. He respected little Frodo Baggins. Someone so small heaving such a large responsibility deserved such reverence. He know the Hobbit was frightened, but he was a Baggins. Bilbo had most likely raised the boy on the tales of his own adventures, and Elrond hoped such stories would serve as inspiration to the young Halfling. Middle-Earth was quickly losing balance, but in the Hobbit Elrond saw a spark, a will to restore the good in this world. He only hoped Frodo succeeded.

A shadow passing in the still darkness drew the Elf lord's attention. He watched as a man silently crept through the courtyard below, memory guiding his steps more then alert watchfulness. Elrond followed the mortal with his eyes, watching as Man's last hope smoked a pipe of Hobbit weed. The sweet smelling smoke curled above his head, drifting up to greet Elrond's own nose. Eventually the man disappeared out of view, leaving the Elf alone with his thoughts once more. He sighed and gripped the banister, sad eyes turning back to watch the moon.

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The ranger stalked along the edges of Rivendell, restless and incapable of falling asleep. The mist of the surrounding mountains encased the sleeping elven haven in an ethereal glow, lending a sense of mystery to the place Aragorn had long ago called home. The moon hung low in the sky, just barely visible over the peaks of the mountain tops, bright against the inky backdrop of the night sky. The sound of rushing water and falling leaves encompassed him as he walked across an overhanging bridge to find himself overlooking a small glade.

A thin waterfall spilled over the rocky wall of the glade and into the glittering pool below. Velvety clusters of moss climbed along the stones around the edge of the basin, and seated on one such stone was the figure of a maiden, her face turned away, aglow with silver lighting. Long strands of ebony hair fell loose across her back. A small pile of red and gold silk robes littered the green floor, cast aside in haste as she slipped into the dark waters.

Aragorn quickly averted his eyes, feeling as though he had interrupted upon an Elf's private bonding with nature. Raking his eyes across the ground, he recognized the dressing gown laying flat and unclaimed with a start. It was a robe he himself had brought back from his stay in the land of Arnor. A robe he had given to Arwen.

He looked back to the water, this time letting his eyes fall on the face of the woman. It was indeed the daughter of Elrond, the Evenstar of her people, and the one Aragorn loved above all others. He knew he should have turned away, mindful of his promise to Elrond to leave his daughter be until the day he proved himself worthy. Momentarily regretting his foolishness at having pledged such an oath, and even more so cursing his own very human, very male reaction, he turned to silently creep away, but before he could move, a voice called lightly up to him.

"Estel, it is impossible to spy upon an Elf and have them be unaware."

Now cursing the Eldar for having graced all Elves with such delicate senses, he replied over his shoulder with a mischievous grin.

"My lady, I did not mean to spy. I came across you wholly on folly, although it was not an unpleasant discovery. But I fear that should this encounter be made known, your father will surely deal a swift and painful punishment."

Laughter rang softly in the warm night air. "Such manners, Estel. You do not turn to converse with one you so adamantly declare to love? Or does your oath to my father prevent you from looking upon me in my current state?"

Unaware that she knew of his promise to her father, he turned and looked down at Arwen, who now rested against a rock with her chin resting on her folded arms. "In such an instance, yes, Indonya. Although I do not fear your father more then my own tempted nature. I find myself in a predicament the longer I see you thus, and with no plausible way out, my.....discomfort grows...." With a tone and a gesture he hoped would not be too crude to the Elf, he made a show of placing his hands over his manhood, more for comic relief then the fear of his male reaction frightening Arwen.

Arwen threw her head back in laughter, her soft voice clear and songlike. Stepping out of the pool, she arranged her hair to discreetly cover the more feminine curves of her body until she could reach her discarded clothing. Clutching the silken fabric, she drew the sleeves up her pale arm, and with nimble fingers clasped the front closed. She looked back up at Aragorn, who now stood with averted eyes, more out of need to quench his raging desire then respect for her.

The Elf maid moved gracefully up the stone stairs to finally stand beside Aragorn, her dark hair shining with wetness, her blue eyes electric and heavy with the reflection of his passion. She took his calloused hand in her own, drawing it to her lips as she gently placed a kiss into his palm. He watched her full lips as they burned his skin with their heat, his eyes roaming over the smooth expanse of her face. The way the moonlight brought a silver glow to her pale skin caused his blood to race frantically through his veins. He took several steadying deep breaths, all the while willing his body to control it's primal urges.

"Undomiel, you must stop. A man can only take so much torture before it becomes his undoing."

She raised her eyes to meet his own. A look of pure love mixed with burgeoning desire etched itself on her face, a slight smile tugging at the corners of her rose hued lips. She removed her lips from his hand, and placed it down by his side, but not before noticing the slight tremor in his frame as she moved closer. His grey eyes were foggy, a sign of his desire to forgo any promise made in earnest, but he held himself back, attempting to physically remove himself from her proximity to gain control over his willing body.

"I have caused you distress, Estel. I should not have vexed you so. I am sorry." Arwen turned to leave the glade, but before she could move from beneath the overhanging trees, Aragorn wrapped his arms around her waist, crushing her to his chest in a passionate kiss. Shocked, Arwen allowed his lips to claim hers while her mind raced to analyze his sudden change of mind. His lips drove out all rational thought however, and Arwen found herself wrapping her arms around his neck, letting him pull her closer and steal her breath.

She moaned into his mouth, unable to get close enough to him, and Aragorn for his part refused to let her out of the demanding embrace of his arms. He continued to kiss her until neither could breathe, and the need for air forced them apart too soon. Aragorn inhaled deeply, losing himself in the flush gracing Arwen's cheeks. Her breathing was labored, deep and quick, and her eyes sparkled with intense fire as she moved in for another kiss. Her lips covered his own, her tongue parting his thin lips. Their tongues played over one another, and for long moments Aragorn wondered how he would be able to get through this night without dishonoring Arwen or the promise made to Elrond.

He ripped his lips from the Elf's, groaning as she quickly placed her open mouth on his collar bone, inhaling his scent and gently biting the skin. She kissed up his neck, placing small kisses along his whiskered jawline. Reaching his ear, she nibbled and he nearly lost all sense. "Aragorn", she whimpered. "I need you tonight."

He jerked back, as though he had been scolded by hot oil. Arwen, confused and aroused, moved closer but stopped when he held up two shaking hands.

"Indonya, we must stop. I have no desire to dishonor you this night, but if we continue this I will not be able to stop myself from taking you right here!" He ran his hands over his face, silently screaming inside to calm down. Arwen wrapped her arms around herself, drawing her robes closer about her lithe frame.

"Estel, We are in love. My father does not need to know. You are leaving tomorrow and you leave me here with nothing more then a hope for your safe return. The Valar may abandon you on your quest and leave you to die, and I will not see you again. I beg you to leave me with something more then that and the memory of your lips upon mine." She stepped closer to him, her long skirst dragging behind her as she moved. Upon reaching him, she fingered the neckline of his shirt, effectively causing him to lean into her for another kiss. His composure was rapidly failing, and Aragorn knew it would not be long before he broke completely. Breaking the kiss, he placed both of his hands on Arwen's shoulders, gently pushing her tempting body away from his. When she looked at him pleadingly, he raised a hand to her cheek, tracing the fine lines of her face with a single finger before raising her chin to look him in the eye.

"I cannot, my love. I will not accept what you so willingly offer until I have made you my wife. I will not have you spend what is yours to give only once to a man who is unworthy."

Arwen opened her mouth to protest, but he silenced her with a finger pressed upon her lips.

"I will return to you, Undomiel. Of that you can be most assured. Not even the prospect of death will keep from coming back to you. The Valar will not abandon me. Not when they see our love. They would be fools to squander two such lovers. I have sworn to marry you, and by my fathers, I will hold to that. And when that time comes, we will finally come together heedless of oaths or honor."

A single tear escaped the blue sphere of Arwen's eye. She bit her bottom lips and wrapped her arms solidly around Aragorn's larger frame. He kissed the top of her head, still damp from her bath, and sighed, leaning into her sweet smell and warmth.

He finally moved from her embrace, and with curious eyes Arwen watched as he removed his tunic and wrapped it around her own shoulders. He smiled widely and motioned to remove his leather breeches. Arwen started to question his actions when he threw his arms up in the air.

"You have left me in a most uncomfortable state, Arwen. I would ask some privacy of you, so that I might investigate a cold dip in the pool below."

Arwen laughed, though she was not about to move from her stance. "I think that I should be given the same privileges that you yourself were privy to earlier this evening, Estel." With that she waited for him to remove his trousers. He paused, curious as to the sincerity of her claim, but when she did not move, he laughed and began to remove the confining leggings. In a few seconds he stood before her in all his glory, naked as the day his mother brought him into this world. He watched in amusement as Arwen's eyes traversed over his fit body, eyes drinking in the sight of tight muscle beneath tanned skin. When her eyes reached his midsection, they widened and a hand flew to her lips to stifle a gasp.

Finding her voice, the Elf princess cleared her throat and voiced softly: "Estel, I believe that when the day comes, that will surely tear me in two!"

Laughing loudly, Aragorn watched as the demure maiden turned to walk from the glade, leaving him alone to take a long cold bath.