Reasons to Hope, Reasons to Live

Chapter: Seven

Keys:

Dreams and flashbacks

"Common language"

'Elvish language'

(Translations)

/Thoughts/

Legolas stared at the starless sky, sighing. Aragorn, the twins, Mallorn, Dior the healer and him had left Rivendell two weeks ago and were on their way to Rohan.

The journey was eventless much to his displeasure and everyone was driving him crazy with their concern. They were all treating him as if he was a child…as if he was going to get lost or hurt himself.

Rising to his feet, Legolas walked to where the horses were tied to the trees, Laure whinnying in greeting when Legolas drew near.

'Sut naa lle umien, Mellon nîn? (How are you doing, my friend?)' Legolas whispered softly, patting the horse's neck gently.

Laure whinnied again, rubbing his head against Legolas' body, causing the elf to chuckle softly.

'I know that you hate that saddle on your back,' he said, running his fingers through the white mane. 'I hate riding on it too. However, I'm afraid that we have no other choice.' he said as he glanced back at his companions. 'You see, there are only two of us and five of them. We can't fight them, can we?'

Laure whinnied loudly, stomping his front hooves on the ground.

Legolas laughed softly. 'I know how brave you are, Laure, but we have to listen to them this time.' Legolas' hand caressed his belly. 'It's better to ensure the baby's safety.'

The horse nodded his head slightly and Legolas smiled while continuing to caress his horse's mane.

Aragorn watched from a distance with a warm smile appearing on his face, as Legolas spoke with his horse.

Legolas had always had a special affection for nature, especially animals. The beautiful elf was kind and gentle with everyone and his heart was as big as Middle-Earth.

Aragorn sighed deeply as he continued to admire the Elven beauty. Legolas' fair skin seemed to glow in the darkness of the night. Aragorn chuckled to himself. Of course, Legolas was glowing…all the elves did. Their inner light gave them their fair glowing skin, after all!

/But Legolas' glowing is different,/ Aragorn mused. He knew that Legolas' glowing was because of the life that was growing within him. Aragorn shook his head and got up from his seat, heading for his husband.

'May I join you?' he asked softly once he was near Legolas and his horse. Legolas looked up at him and smiled.

'You are most welcome, Mellon nîn,' he replied, still patting his horse. Laure whinnied, welcoming the King, as well.

Legolas chuckled softly. 'It seems that Laure also doesn't mind your company, even though he was angry with you.'

'Angry with me?' Aragorn raised an eyebrow. 'And what have I done to deserve your anger, Laure?' He looked at the horse, confused. Said horse whinnied loudly, shaking his head.

Legolas laughed at his horse. 'He was angry because he was forced to wear a saddle on his back, but now he understands why. He's not angry any more.'

'I see,' Aragorn said in amusement. 'Well, I'm glad that he understands,' he whispered softly. Strangely, his hand came up and rested on Legolas' hand that was patting the white mane.

Legolas looked at his husband, surprised at his gesture. He felt uneasiness filled his heart as Aragorn's hand squeezed his slightly.

"Ar-Aragorn?" he whispered uncertainly as strange emotions filled his senses. He couldn't put a name for those invading feelings, but he was certain of one thing…those emotions weren't his. They were Aragorn's, leaking into his soul through their magical bond.

Aragorn smiled warmly at him but did not say anything nor did he remove his hand. A heavy silence reigned on the two as they stared into each other's eyes. Suddenly, Aragorn found himself leaning over Legolas slowly. His mind screamed at him to pull away but his heart had already deafened his conscious.

Legolas watched as Aragorn's body slowly pressed against his. One hand came around his waist, pulling his body forward. A shiver ran through Legolas body. He wondered what his friend was trying to do.

"Aragorn!" he called, feeling a mild panic filling his heart.

As if snapping from a dream, Aragorn regained his consciousness. He pulled both hands away immediately.

'I'm sorry, Legolas,' he said, not meeting the elf's eyes. 'I wasn't thinking properly.' Without waiting a reply, he left in a hurry.

Legolas stared at his friend's treating figure silently, feeling his emotions turned upside down.

'Was he about……?' he asked himself softly, before shaking his head and leaving, heading back to the camp.

---- ---- ---- ----

Mallorn laughed at the twins' story as the three elves sat near the small fire while Elrohir told Mallorn another story about one of their pranks on Lord Elrond and Lord Glorfindel.

'You know, Elrohir, if I had played that prank in Mirkwood, Adar would have punished me severely.' he chuckled. 'He would have made me regret even thinking of it.'

'Of course, King Thranduil would not have allowed such childish behavior in his court, Mallorn,' Elladan said, smiling slightly. 'Even Ada does not approve on releasing jumping frogs all over the house.'

Mallorn laughed softly. 'I wish, though, that I could do it one day. I'd love to see Aredhel's expression if he found a frog in his bed…that of course, would be a misfortune for Lady Tarawiel as well.'

The three elves laughed softly at that thought. Elrohir looked at Mallorn and smiled to himself; he was glad to be near the golden-haired elf.

Mallorn wasn't as beautiful as Legolas. In fact, he was more like his father in appearance but he was much different on the inside. Mallorn was so caring, loving and gentle. He was so different from his father and older brother, except maybe when he was angry…In that time, no one in their right state of mind would like to be near him…and that was a trait that passed to Thranduil's three sons…

Elrohir sighed, remembering when he met Mallorn for the first time. He, his parents, and his brother were visiting Mirkwood after its queen's death.

FLASHBACK

Elrohir roamed aimlessly around the large gardens. His father was in King Thranduil's throne room, consoling the Elven King for his loss. He, his mother and Elladan had gone with Aredhel, King Thranduil's oldest son, to see the baby Prince, Legolas. After seeing the little Prince, Elrohir asked the older Prince if he could have a walk in the gardens. Aredhel forced a sad smile and nodded his agreement. Now Elrohir was walking through the gardens, amazed at their beauty and size.

Suddenly, his sensitive ears caught the sound of soft sobbing coming from behind a rosebush. Curious, Elrohir followed the soft sound until he saw an elf around his age hugging his knees to his chest, burying his face between them and crying heartily.

Sensing his presence, the elf looked up and Elrohir felt butterflies dancing in his stomach. The elf's face was a young image of King Thranduil's. However, the two streams of tears at the sides of his face made him look so beautiful. His eyes were glassy blue and his pale cheeks were rosy from crying.

Elrohir swallowed at he stared, unable to say a word, at who he supposed was King Thranduil's second son, Mallorn.

'Who are you?' Mallorn asked, wiping his tears away.

'I'm Elrohir,' Elrohir said, still looking at Mallorn, dumbstruck. 'Lord Elrond's son.'

'I'm Prince Mallorn, King Thranduil's second son,' Mallorn said, standing up.

'It's an honor to meet you, Prince Mallorn,' Elrohir said, smiling slightly. 'Though I'd hoped that our meeting would have been in much happier times.'

Mallorn looked at him sadly before looking away. Elrohir saw a tear sliding slowly down the Prince's cheek and he reached out his hand to wipe the tear away. Mallorn looked back at him, confused.

'I know that you are sad for losing your Nana,' Elrohir said. 'I don't know how I'd react myself if I lost my Nana one day…but your family is still with you, Mallorn; you can share your pain with them.'

Mallorn looked at Elrohir in surprise. Aredhel had told him not to cry in front of their father. He said that it would only make him sadder. So, Mallorn chose this isolated place to cry, so no one could hear him.

'I can't.' he said. 'Aredhel said that I shouldn't cry in front of Ada so I don't make him sadder.'

'Then, I will be there for you.' Elrohir said. "If you need to talk, then I'll listen to you. You don't need to hide and cry all by yourself.'

'Why would you want to listen to me?' Mallorn asked finally.

Elrohir smiled. 'Because I want to be your friend, Mallorn.' he said softly. 'You are the same age as my twin and I, so it is natural for us to be friends.'

'Oh,' Mallorn said. 'Will we be friends forever, then?'

'Yes,' Elrohir smiled. 'We will.'

Mallorn smiled slightly then turned his face away. Elrohir could see tears sliding down Mallorn's pale cheeks.

'Do you miss her?' he asked in sympathy.

Mallorn nodded.

'You know,' Elrohir said. 'You have another reason for not crying or feeling sad.'

Mallorn looked at him in surprise. 'What is that?' he asked.

'Your baby brother.' Elrohir said, smiling. 'Have you seen him yet?'

Mallorn nodded. 'Yes,' he said. 'I was standing in front of the door of Nana's room when she gave birth to him. I saw the healer getting out, holding him in her arms and handing him to Ada. He showed him to me and even let me carry him.'

'He is such a beautiful baby, isn't he?' Elrohir said, smiling.

'Ada says that Legolas looks exactly like Nana…' Mallorn whispered.

Elrohir smiled softly at Mallorn. 'So does my Nana. She had said that your brother is an image of her. You can remember your Nana every time you see Legolas or hold him.'

'Hannon lle, Elrohir, (Thank you, Elrohir,)' Mallorn said, returning Elrohir's smile. 'You have made me feel much better.'

END OF FLASHBACK

Elrohir smiled dreamingly to himself. That day was the best day of his entire life. It was the day he met a new friend who soon turned to be the love of his life. He had fallen in love with Mallorn despite his wariness towards King Thranduil. Elrohir sighed dreamily, wondering if he would have a chance with Mallorn. The golden-haired elf hadn't shown any interest in males before and Elrohir doubted that he would return his feelings one day.

Mallorn and Elladan exchanged confused looks. At some point during their conversation, Elrohir had drifted away from them. Now he was sighing and smiling to himself without any known reason.

'Care to share with us your happy thoughts, brother?' Elladan asked, placing his arm around Elrohir's neck. Elrohir looked up at his brother and shrugged.

'It's nothing. I've just remembered something,' he said neutrally.

'Well, it seemed that it was a happy thought, considering that strange look on your face, Elrohir.' Mallorn said, looking at the dark-haired elf pointedly. Elrohir opened his mouth to answer when Legolas walked swiftly pass them to where his belongings were set. The Elven Prince's face held a strange expression; he was very troubled. The three elves looked worriedly at each other, for Legolas had passed them without even acknowledging their presence.

'I'll see what's wrong,' Mallorn said, as he stood and walked towards his brother. The twin exchanged worried looks. Soon, they saw Aragorn coming towards them from the same direction that Legolas had came from. Elladan called his foster brother.

"Do you know what's wrong with Legolas, Estel?" he asked as soon as the man sat near them.

Aragorn sighed and nodded. "We were talking near the horses when I tried to kiss him," the man said, running his hand through his hair. "I don't know what had gotten into me but I couldn't stop myself from leaning over him!"

"Did you kiss him then?" Elrohir asked slyly.

"No." Aragorn snapped. "I couldn't. I sensed his fear as I drew nearer and I think he felt my desire for him," he whispered the last sentence.

The two elves sighed, shaking their heads.

"Well," Elrohir breathed. "At least he felt glimmers of your true feelings towards him." This earned him a glare from Aragorn.

"It will take you a long time before you gather the courage to tell Legolas your true feelings, won't it?" Elladan sighed.

"Why can't you understand?" Aragorn snapped. "Legolas loved Haldir. I'm nothing but a friend to him. And now, I've destroyed everything between us because of my own weakness."

"No, you didn't," Elladan said calmly. "You are in love with him. One day, he will love you back. Why you can't see, Estel? Legolas is in need of your love. His heart is weary from grief. You only have to be patient."

"And don't forget," Elrohir said. "You have to confront Legolas with your true feelings one day. Don't worry; I'm sure that he will fall for you one day."

Elladan gave his twin a pointed look but Elrohir chose to ignore it.

Aragorn sighed deeply as he stared at the small fire, thinking of what his brothers had said. "Don't be so optimistic." he finally murmured.

Mallorn found Legolas preparing his place for sleeping. The odd expression hadn't left his brother's features; it was mixture of confusion, exhaustion and sadness.

'Legolas,' Mallorn said, placing one hand on Legolas' shoulder. 'What's wrong?'

'Nothing,' Legolas answered flatly, as he continued to adjust his bedroll.

'You don't act oddly over nothing, Legolas.' Mallorn said, folding his arms in front of his chest. 'Now tell me what's wrong?'

Legolas sighed, sitting on his newly arranged bedroll.

'A small incident that happened between Aragorn and I, when I was talking to Laure,' he said.

'What happened?' Mallorn asked, sitting next to his brother. 'Your first quarrel?'

'No,' Legolas shook his head. 'We were talking, when suddenly Aragorn pulled me towards his body and leaned over me and—and I think he tried to kiss me.' Legolas whispered. 'I don't know why he did it but I was so afraid. I nearly yelled at him to snap him out of it.'

Mallorn raised an eyebrow. 'Trying to kiss you?' he asked slyly. 'Did he actually kiss you, then?'

'NO!' Legolas snapped.

'Then why you are so upset?' Mallorn grinned evilly. 'Are you upset because he did not kiss you?'

'MALLORN!' Legolas glared at his brother, feeling his anger rise inside his chest. 'I'm confused because he actually tried to kiss me. No one is allowed to kiss me after Haldir, let alone my best friend! I think I even felt him desiring me!'

'Haldir is no longer here, Legolas,' Mallorn snapped. 'When your mind will accept that fact? He's dead, Legolas. And in few days you will be in the same place where he died.' As soon as the words left his mouth, Mallorn bit his lips in regret.

Legolas looked away, trying to hide the hurt and tears that flashed in his eyes. So far, he had managed to ignore the fact that they were on their way to Rohan, the place where his heart had died. His hand rested on his belly, where Haldir's baby was growing.

'I'm sorry, Legolas.' Mallorn whispered, lifting his brother's face to meet his eyes. 'I didn't mean to hurt you.'

'I truly understand that Haldir is gone,' Legolas whispered. 'But my heart still trying to convince me that he will be back someday…and I have to stay faithful to him until then.'

Mallorn sighed deeply. 'Haldir would not have wanted you to live in grief and pain all your life, Legolas. He would have wanted you to love and live in happiness again.'

'But Aragorn is my friend.'

'He's also your husband, Legolas,' Mallorn said. 'Besides, the man does have some needs to be fulfilled, you know!'

'What do you mean?' Legolas looked at his brother, confused.

Mallorn smiled slyly. 'Come on, Legolas. You know that sometimes a man cannot fight his desires for long…'

'Are you saying that Aragorn lusts after me?' Legolas asked angrily. 'Does he see me as his desire-release now?'

'I didn't say that,' Mallorn said calmly. 'I was saying that the bond that you two share might be affecting his emotions, making him desire you. Besides you must not exclude the possibility that Aragorn may not see you only as a friend, Greenleaf.' With that, Mallorn stood and walked away, leaving his brother to think in peace.

'Not only as a friend?' Legolas whispered softly.

One week later, the couple and their friends reached the lands of Rohan. Legolas rode silently next to Aragorn all the way to Edoras.

After that night, Legolas acted as if nothing had happened. He kept his thoughts to himself and spoke only when he needed to. He tried to avoid being alone with the man as much as possible and keep a reasonable distance between them. Other than this, Legolas acted normally around Aragorn and they were acting like good friends once more.

Aragorn didn't mention that night again either. He talked and jested with Legolas as usual, trying to lift the elf's spirit as they drew nearer to Rohan.

"Welcome, my friends." King Éomer greeted them with a warm smile at the gates of the city. "It has been so long since we last met…"

Aragorn dismounted his horse and walked to his friend. "Well met, Éomer. Aye, it has been so long."

The two friends hugged each other tightly. Legolas dismounted from his horse and went to the two.

"Well met, King Éomer." he greeted the King with a nod.

King Éomer pulled away and looked at Legolas, smiling. "Legolas," he smiled. "It's nice to see you, my Elven friend." His eyes then traveled to the twins behind Legolas. "I see that Elladan and Elrohir are also present. How are you, my two good friends? It's an honor to have you as Edoras' guests."

"We are fine, good Éomer," Elladan bowed slightly. "The honor is ours."

Éomer's eyes then spotted a blond elf standing next to the twins and another dark-haired one behind them.

Aragorn followed Éomer's eyes and smiled.

"King Éomer," he said, gesturing to the two elves. "Let me introduce you to Prince Mallorn, Legolas' second eldest brother." Mallorn nodded his head. "And our healer from Rivendell, Dior of Daerleon." The healer bowed to the King.

King Éomer smiled at them. "Welcome, my friends. Please, follow me inside." With that, the King walked to the palace, followed by his men and guests.

"So, my friend," King Éomer said as they walked back. "To what do I owe your joyous visit to my lands? I remember the last time I asked you to visit, you excused yourself with your duties in Gondor."

Aragorn smiled warmly. "Actually, I am on my way to Gondor from Rivendell, carrying some joyous news with me."

"Indeed," King Éomer raised an eyebrow. "And what is this joyous news, my friend, if I'm allowed to know."

"Of course, you are." Aragorn put a hand on Éomer's shoulder. "In fact, I was going to invite you to visit Gondor and celebrate with us this happy occasion."

"You have provoked my curiosity, Elessar." Éomer said. "I would like to hear your happy news. However, first you and your company must have some rest. We will continue our conversation over dinner." With that, Éomer ordered some servants to escort the guests to the guest chambers when they reached the castle.

King Éomer raised an eyebrow as Aragorn and Legolas entered the dinning hall together, holding hands. He watched suspiciously, as Aragorn helped Legolas to his seat and then sat next to him. Éomer glanced at Mallorn to see his reaction but Legolas' brother seemed to not notice. His eyes then went to the twins, who were smirking slyly at the pair. Éomer stared back at Aragorn with thoughtful eyes. He knew that Aragorn was in love with Legolas; even he still couldn't quite understand how a male could love another male. However, since it was known among elves and Aragorn was raised by them, he didn't question his friend's preference. However, he also knew that Legolas was, and maybe still, in love with Haldir, who had died in Helm's Deep, a fact that kept Aragorn from confess his true feelings to the Mirkwood Prince. So why would the two acts as if they were a couple?

Was it possible that Aragorn had told Legolas his feelings and the elf accepted them?

Éomer looked at Legolas and frowned. The elf was so quiet and his features spoke only of deep pain and sadness. What was going on between the two?

Checking on his sister, Éomer sighed in defeat. The Lady of Rohan seemed not to notice anything except the mere presence of King Elessar.

Realizing that everyone was waiting for him to start dinner, Éomer clapped his hands, allowing the servants to serve dinner.

Once the plates were uncovered and the strong smell of the cooked meat filled his nose, Legolas felt nauseated. He tried to block the strong aroma but failed miserably; it was a horrible smell to his nose. Quickly, he pushed his seat back and stood.

"Legolas?" Aragorn looked at him with concern.

"I'm sorry but I don't feel well." Legolas said quietly. "I think I need some more rest. Please, enjoy your meal." With a small bow, he left the room. Aragorn looked at Mallorn, who stood from his seat, as well.

"I'll ask Dior to check on him. if you excuse me." With that, Mallorn left after his brother. A few moments later, he came back smirking.

"How is Legolas, Prince Mallorn?" Éomer asked.

"He is fine," Mallorn said in amusement. "Nothing to worry about…and please call me Mallorn."

"But he has to eat, Mallorn!" Aragorn said worriedly. "And where was Dior?"

"I have asked for some fruits to be taken to his room," Mallorn said. "And we still have some Lembas in our bags…he said that he couldn't stand the smell of the meat, that's why he left the room. When I summoned Dior from healing wing and informed him, he said that this is normal considering his condition…"

"His condition?" Éomer asked puzzled. "What condition?" He looked at Aragorn questionly. "I thought elves don't get ill!"

"They don't, my friend." Aragorn smiled softly. "I'll tell you about Legolas later. In the meantime, a celebration will be held soon in Minas Tirith and I'd be honored if you and your sister, Lady Éowyn, would attend."

"What the occasion, my Lord?" Lady Éowyn asked, smiling sweetly at Aragorn.

Aragorn smiled warmly at her. "My marriage, my lady," he said quietly.

CLACK

The fork in Lady Éowyn's hand dropped soundly on the ground. Everyone in the hall stared back at her.

"I'm sorry," she said, looking downwards.

"So," Éomer cleared his throat. "You are going to marry, my friend?"

"No, Éomer." Aragorn said as he looked at his friend, smiling. "I am married already…I had gotten married before the final battle, though I haven't announced it yet. Many reasons prevented me from announcing my marriage when it actually happened but now I have much stronger reasons to announce my marriage to my people."

"And may I ask to whom you are married, Elessar?" Éomer asked, though his mind had formed a guess.

"Prince Legolas of Mirkwood." Aragorn said with a dreamy smile.

Éomer frowned. "You two have been married for four months but you haven't told anyone! Even your friends?!" he said, hurt was clear in his voice. Aragorn bit his lip, knowing that he had to come up with a lie. He hated lying to his friends but it was necessary.

"It's not like that, Éomer," he said calmly. "Everything happened very fast, actually. You are aware of the circumstances after Helm's Deep battle. There was a big chance that we would lose Legolas to grief. So, Elrond suggested that I bound to Legolas in order to save his soul. Also, the elven lords thought that a marriage between men and elves would strengthen the relation between all the free peoples and unite them under my flag in the battle, but since Arwen had decided to follow her kin to the grey heavens, Legolas was a perfect choice. We had joined the night prior to our march. No one knew except Lord Elrond, Gandalf and some Elven Lords. After my coronation, we feared that people would reject my rule if I was married to another male, so we decided to keep our marriage secret until I restored Gondor and proved myself to its people."

Éomer looked at Aragorn suspiciously; there was something in that story that didn't fit, however, he didn't press on the subject. Mallorn and the twins stared at Aragorn in disbelief.

/When and how did Aragorn come up with that story?/ the three elves wondered.

"Which reason was your true motive, Elessar?" Éomer asked. "To save his life from fading or politics?"

"Both of them, Éomer." Aragorn replied. "I didn't want Legolas to fade from grief but a large part of our marriage happened out of policy more than love." The King of Gondor sighed.

"So you admit that you love him?" Éomer said with a smirk.

"I have never denied that, my friend. I love Legolas with all my heart."

Lady Éowyn looked up at Aragorn with hurt shining in her eyes. Éomer watched his sister with sympathy. He knew that his sister admired Aragorn; however, the King's heart was not his own anymore. He had given it to Legolas before even he had met his sister.

Éomer sighed as he looked at Aragorn. "Congratulation then, Aragorn. I am happy to hear such news about you two. You both deserve happiness."

"Thank you, Éomer," Aragorn smiled softly. "I knew that you would understand and accept our marriage."

Éomer laughed softly. "I am familiar of the ways of elves, my dear friend. And I also knew of your secret admiring of our Elven friend." At that, Lady Éowyn looked at her brother confusedly. She couldn't understand how a male would fall in love with another male, let alone marry one, but Aragorn and Éomer were talking about it as if it was a common issue.

"You talked about reasons that prevented you from announcing your marriage and reasons that made you change your mind," Éomer said. "Mind sharing with them with me?"

"Well," Aragorn took a deep breath, knowing that he had to twist the truth a little bit. "As I said I was waiting to rebuild Gondor in full before I announced my marriage. However, during my last visit to Rivendell, I met Legolas there and he told me that he's pregnant with my child."

"Pregnant?" Éomer asked in disbelieve.

"How could that be possible?" Lady Éowyn asked darkly. She was fed up with this nonsense. She may accept that a male could love and marry another male. But to hear that a male was pregnant! They really went too far with this!

"Prince Legolas is a male!" she hissed. "How could a male get pregnant?"

"By magic, Milady." Mallorn answered calmly. "My kin had created a spell that could make an Elven male fertile. It was created when the number of the Elven newborns started to lessen. And since some elves had taken mates of their same gender, some wise elven mages set that spell on them to ensure that our kind does not go extinct."

Lady Éowyn looked at Mallorn in awe, trying to digest the new information. Éomer also looked surprised; this was new to him as well.

"So Legolas is carrying your child then, Aragorn?" Éomer looked at his friend. "He's carrying your heir?"

Aragorn smiled and nodded.

"Well, I don't know whether I should congratulate you or feel sorry for you, my friend." Éomer said. "The people of Gondor may not receive this news with welcoming."

"I know." Aragorn sighed. "However, I will not forsake Legolas and the baby just to please my people. I'm ready to fight the whole world if I have to for them." he said determinedly.

Éomer smiled. "Don't worry yourself over this very much my friend; I'm sure that you and Legolas will find a way to gain Gondor's people's approval."

"Thank you, Éomer." Aragorn smiled warmly.

"Well, this news surely deserves a celebration," Éomer said, raising his glass of wine. "A toast to the newly couple and their unborn child…May all the Gods grant them happiness and peace."

"Cheers…" Everyone raised their glasses except Lady Éowyn, who was silent for the rest of the night.

Legolas looked at the sleeping figure and sighed. After Éomer had learned that Aragorn and Legolas were married, he insisted on moving them into the same chambers…much to Legolas' discomfort. He and Aragorn had only slept in one bed for a handful of times, but he wasn't used yet to the presence of another person other than Haldir next to him. It still felt so strange…and…wrong.

Legolas sighed again and got out of the bed slowly, not wishing to wake Aragorn. He walked to window and looked at the dark sky of the night. They had been staying in Rohan for two days now under the excuse of resting after the long journey from Rivendell.

/On a night similar to this,/ Legolas thought, caressing his belly. /above these lands, I shared my bed with Haldir for the last time./ He sighed deeply and continued to stare at the sky.

Aragorn sighed, rolling his body to the other side of the bed; his hand reached to Legolas' side of the bed. Finding nothing but the cold sheets, Aragorn opened one eye to check on the elf next to him.

Confirming that Legolas wasn't in the bed, Aragorn rose and searched the room with his eyes. He found the beautiful elf standing by window, staring at the sky.

"Legolas?" Aragorn said, rising from his bed. Legolas turned to see Aragorn approaching him.

"What are you doing up at this hour of the night?" Aragorn asked as he came near his husband. "You should be resting."

"I couldn't sleep. So many things were in my mind." Legolas whispered softly, looking back outside the window. "When we are going to Gondor?"

"In three days at most. Why?" Aragorn frowned. There was something in Legolas' tone he didn't like.

"I want to visit Helm's Deep, Aragorn," Legolas said determinedly, looking straight into Aragorn's eyes.

Aragorn watched Legolas in disbelief. "What?" he asked abstractedly.

"I said I want to visit Helm's Deep, please," Legolas repeated quietly.

Aragorn frowned deeply. He hated when Legolas was in such depressing mood. The elf talked with cold and composed tone that didn't suit his carefree nature.

"May I know why?" Aragorn asked, in the same cold tone.

"I want to visit Haldir's memorial," Legolas whispered softly, looking down. "I want to face his death once and for all, before we reach Gondor."

Aragorn sighed deeply. He moved closer to his husband and put his hands on the elf's shoulders.

"Legolas, you don't have to do this," he whispered softly.

Legolas looked up at Aragorn; his tears were already flowing down his cheeks. "I want to do this, Aragorn. I need to do this," he lowered his gaze again. "Mallorn said that I have to face and accept Haldir's death. I need to go to Helm's Deep in order to prove to myself that I'm able to do it. Aragorn, I don't want to be hurt again. If I'm about to start a new life, I want it to be empty from any sorrows. I want to do it for my child's sake." At that point, Legolas threw himself into Aragorn's arms, sobbing. He cried until there were no more tears to shed.

Aragorn waited patiently until Legolas' crying ceased before pushing the elf gently away and lifting his chin with his finger.

"It's alright, Legolas," he whispered gently. "If that will make you feel better, then I won't object. I'll ask Éomer if we could go to Helm's Deep first thing in the morning, alright?" Legolas nodded. "However," Aragorn continued. "You must promise me that you won't stress yourself very much. Not only would you risk your baby's life with grief but also your own life. You must promise me that you'll try and get hold of your emotions, Alright?" Again, Legolas just nodded, not trusting his voice. Aragorn smiled warmly at his husband. "Come Legolas," he said softly, guiding the elf to the bed and tucking him in. "You need to rest."

Aragorn watched as Legolas slowly closed his eyes and derived to sleep before he closed his as well.

Everyone was surprised when at breakfast the next morning Aragorn asked Éomer about visiting Helm's Deep.

"Are you sure you want to do that, Legolas?" Mallorn asked his brother after Aragorn had explained to them that it was Legolas' request.

"Yes, Mallorn, I'm sure." Legolas said quietly. "I will be fine. Besides, I was hoping that you would accompany me." He forced a smile to his face. "I would like for you and the twins to see where we fought in that great battle."

"Of course; we would love to come with you to Helm's Deep, Legolas." Elladan said cheerfully. "I was hoping that we would be visiting that place. Helm's Deep has become a very famous place after the battle…I wish I was among the Elven army and didn't miss all the fun that night." At the last sentence, three pairs of eyes glared at Elladan while Legolas lowered his head, not wanting his pain to show in his eyes.

"There was no fun that night, Elladan." Aragorn hissed, glaring at his foster brother. "Many had died that night and many had suffered from their losses…so try and show some respect to those who bravely lost their lives that night." He placed a comfort hand on Legolas' shoulder.

Elladan looked apologetically at Legolas. "I'm sorry Legolas," he whispered. "I didn't mean to hu-"

"It's fine, Elladan," Legolas said as he looked at his friend with small smile. "I know you didn't."

"Well," Éomer said, clearing his throat. "I don't see why we shouldn't visit Helm's Deep. We can go there after we finish breakfast."

Éomer and his friends rode to Helm's Deep after breakfast. Through the road, Aragorn was explaining to Mallorn and the twins what happened during their journey while Legolas remained silent during the whole time.

"And Gimli kept explaining to Lady Éowyn about dwarf women all the way," Aragorn said. "I was having a hard time preventing myself from laughing. Then the funniest part arrived when Gimli fell from his horse and stood again saying It's all right, it's all right. Nobody panic. That was deliberate! It was deliberate!" Everyone laughed.

Legolas sighed, smiling slightly. "That stubborn dwarf." He whispered softly. "I really miss him and the time we spent together."

"We can invite him and the little hobbits once we reach Gondor, Legolas," Aragorn suggested. "Though I'm sure that lord Elrond has already sent messages to them informing them about our marriage."

Legolas nodded solemnly, thinking of his absent friends.

"Look, there is the cliff where I had fallen." Aragorn exclaimed, pointing to a near cliff. The twins and Mallorn dismounted and ran to it, looking down.

"Elbereth, Estel!" Elrohir exclaimed. "You sure are lucky to have survived such fall!"

Aragorn smiled at his brother, dismounting his horse and walking to the cliff. "I don't say that I'm not, Elrohir. Gimli made sure to remind me how lucky I was after that. What were his words again?" he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Oh, yes! Well lad, whatever luck you live by, let us hope it lasts the night." He said, mimicking the dwarf's voice. Everyone laughed in amusement.

"Come, we must reach Helm's Deep before sunset," Éomer said, nudging his horse forwards.

Near sunset, the five friends arrived at the gates of Helm's Deep.

Legolas stood in front of the gate, staring at it sadly. He took a deep breath before forcing his legs to move. Aragorn sensed Legolas' inner battle; the place held so many sad memories for the young elf. He walked to his husband's side and took his slender hand into his.

"Legolas, are you sure you can handle this?" he whispered softly.

Legolas looked at Aragorn and smiled at his friend's worried tone. "Aye, Aragorn. I'm fine."

The group walked through the damaged gates and walls, looking everywhere. Legolas released himself from Aragorn's grip and walked slowly to part of the fort, Aragorn and Mallorn at his feet.

Legolas walked until he reached a clear area where many stone memorials stood. He walked through the memorials, reading the names of the men and elves who had fought bravely that night and paid with their lives the price of Middle-Earth's freedom. Then, he reached a stone memorial that stood on its own, away from the rest. He knelt in front of it and ran his hand softly over the cold stone.

'Haldir o Lòrien (Haldir of Lòrien),' he read softly, tears falling down his cheeks. 'Cormlle naa tanya tel'raa. Namárie. (Your heart is that of the lion. Farewell.)'

Legolas closed his eyes, memorizing the words in his heart. Aragorn and Mallorn watched him from a distance, giving him some privacy and keeping an eye on him at the same time. Legolas opened his eyes once again and looked at the memorial, smiling softly despite his tears.

'Mae govannen, A'maelamin (Well met, my beloved),' he whispered softly. 'I have come to tell you joyous news. Your love has proven to be stronger than the death that has taken you away from me.' His hand rested on his belly. 'The seed of our love is growing inside of my body…a proof of the love that we had shared between those walls. You will live forever with me, Haldir, in the image of our child. I'll never forget you, Melamin (My love). Namárie, Haldir.' With that, Legolas stood and walked back to Aragorn and Mallorn.

"Are you fine, Legolas?" Aragorn asked worriedly, as soon as Legolas neared them.

Legolas smiled and nodded his head. "We must go and join Éomer and the twins," he said softly, wiping the trace of his tears. "Are we going to spend the night here?" he asked as the trio walked back to join Éomer and the twins.

"I suppose so," Aragorn shrugged. "It's too dark to return to Edoras now."

"But where we are going to spend the night?" Mallorn asked. "The place is completely destroyed."

"Not the entire fortress is destroyed," Aragorn said. "The inner part of the fort is still intact. I'm sure that are some rooms suitable for spending the night. I'll ask Éomer about it, just to make sure."

Mallorn sighed as he stared at the night sky of Helm's Deep from the balcony of the bedchamber he shared with the twins. Even though he was very tired from today's trip, he still couldn't sleep. Since his conversation with Legolas, he had been thinking deeply about his feelings for Elrohir. They were very close friends, but his feelings, unlike Elrohir's, had never crossed the line of friendship.

What was he supposed to do?

How would he react if Elrohir confessed his feelings to him?

Mallorn sighed again, running one hand through his long blonde hair. Having a male lover had never crossed his mind before and now, knowing his kin's secret had increased his doubt about even considering it. His father would not be as forgivable with him as he was with Legolas if anything like Legolas' situation happened to them. However, he and Elrohir and could not stay like this forever, acting as if there was nothing between them. At some point, they had to talk about it and solve the matters between them.

It was a complicated situation.

'Mallorn,' Mallorn's musing was interrupted by Elrohir's voice. Looking behind, Mallorn saw his friend standing at the entrance of the balcony. 'Why aren't you sleeping?'

'I couldn't.' Mallorn replied with a deep sigh. 'There are lots of things that are occupying my mind.'

'What things?' Elrohir asked as he approached.

'Legolas' matter and other things.'

'I see.' Elrohir said. The two stayed in silence for awhile. Suddenly, Elrohir spoke.

'Mallorn,' he began. 'There is something I want to tell you.'

Mallorn felt his body tensed at this but then shook it away. 'What is it, Elrohir?' he asked softly.

'Mallorn,' Elrohir began nervously. 'We have been friends for a long time. I have always enjoyed your company and always looked forward to the day that I would visit you or you visit Rivendell…' Elrohir paused for a moment, gathering his courage before he continued. 'But as the years passed, that feeling of friendship turned to something more, something deeper than a simple friendship. It turned into love, Mallorn. I love you, not as a friend, but more. I'm deeply in love with you, Mallorn.'

Mallorn closed his eyes, not knowing what to say. He ran Elrohir's words through his mind, asking himself again how he felt about them.

Mistaking Mallorn's silence for rejection, Elrohir lowered his gaze. 'I'm sorry, Mallorn,' he said softly. 'I'm sorry I brought this up. I will never speak of this again. I will understand if you don't wish to talk to me again.' He strode to the entrance when he heard Mallorn's soft voice calling.

'Elrohir wait.'

He looked back and saw Mallorn walking to him. The two stood in front of each other, staring at one another in silence until blond elf spoke again.

'I'm greatly honored to have your love, Elrohir,' he said softly. 'I can't really describe how honored I am to know that you have given me such a precious gift as your heart…'

'But?' Elrohir continued softly.

'But I really don't know how I feel about it.' Mallorn sighed. 'I have never thought of taking a male lover before much less being your lover. Ummm…I don't love you that way. Besides, I think I'm starting to like Lady Éowyn.'

'Lady Éowyn?' Elrohir felt his heart twists in pain.

'Yes,' Mallorn looked away. 'She seems to be an extraordinary lady and in the few moments that we talked, she managed to have my attention.'

'I see.' Elrohir said softly.

'I'm sorry, Elrohir.' Mallorn whispered. 'I don't want to lose you as a friend, Elrohir. Your friendship is more precious to me than anything in this world.'

'Don't worry, Mallorn.' Elrohir whispered. 'Your friendship is precious to me too. I don't want to lose it either.' With that, he turned around and left.

Legolas was standing in small clearing, golden trees with sliver leaves sang softly to the winds around him.

Hearing a soft rustle behind him, he turned around and saw Haldir walking towards him. Legolas stood silently as the Marchwarden approached him and took him into his strong arms. Legolas felt Haldir's lips brushing softly against his and he closed his eyes as Haldir deepened the kiss.

They pulled away and Legolas' stared into Haldir's jade eyes.

'I'm dreaming…' Legolas whispered softly.

Haldir smiled warmly. 'Then you must wake up, Legolas,' he replied, caressing Legolas' cheek.

Legolas closed his eyes and crushed his lips into Haldir's, pouring all his love into the kiss. He pulled away and looked at Haldir.

'I don't want to wake up,' he said. 'I want to stay here forever…with you.' He took Haldir's hand and placed it on his belly. 'With you and our child.'

Haldir smiled and held Legolas' hands and raised them to his lips.

'You must wake up, Legolas,' he whispered. 'You cannot live in the past forever.'

'No!' Legolas said, tearing falling down his cheeks. 'I don't want to. I want to stay with you!'

'No, Legolas. You must wake up.' Haldir said, pulling away. 'You must move on with your life, Legolas.'

'NO!' Legolas cried, as Haldir's image started to fade slowly into the darkness. 'No, Haldir, please don't leave me!' He ran after the fading image but with no success. Haldir was fading and so were their surroundings, leaving Legolas in total darkness.

'No, Haldir, please.'

"Legolas!"

Legolas' eyes snapped open and saw a worried Aragorn looking over him. He pushed himself off the bed into a sitting a position.

"Aragorn?" he whispered softly. "What happened?"

"You were dreaming, Legolas," Aragorn said, brushing Legolas' tears away.

"I was dreaming??" Legolas whispered softly. He stared at Aragorn strangely before looking away. "Aye, I was dreaming," he whispered again. "And I have just waked up…"

To Be Continued…