Disclaimer:

Basically, I own nothing!!! No copyright infringement intended in any way.

Rating:

R for later chapters.


A/N: Here is the repost of the first chapter! The rest are on the way! Many thanks again to reviewers for their enduring patience! Much love, Silver Thorne x.x.x


CHAPTER ONE

Darkness brought with it a strange comfort as it settled upon the world. Perhaps this was because the stars shone through at such a late hour. Even so, the Elven Prince dared not look upon the sparkling jewels – to glance skyward would kindle thoughts of the Valar…and his faith in their existence was but a wavering thing now.

Gazing across the campfire, which cast a flicker of shadow and light upon the ranger's face, Aragorn watched the Elf quietly. He no longer trusted himself to say the right thing. Legolas had reacted coldly when he had asked what ailed the Elven Prince, since then, the man had thought it wise to keep his thoughts to himself.

Legolas stared intensely into the flames, watching them devour the wood as it crackled and sparked. A sense of regret turned sour in his heart. He would rather not have left Mirkwood, yet his father had bid him so to send news to Elrond. He had conceded at the chance to see not only the beautiful Vale but also old friends. He could not hold to such thoughts, even now. Twas to be a fleeting visit, yet he had left his home many, many moons ago.

He was indeed surprised that his father had not sent another envoy to search for him, but then, perhaps the King of Mirkwood knew his son's adventurous spirit and assumed he would wish to enjoy his freedom. It would explain Thranduil's remissness it caring for his son's whereabouts.

Even so, not so long ago, encountering Aragorn along the way would have once greatly lifted his spirits.

Once. His mind chanted and he fought the urge to wince. You cannot escape it, not here. Nay, never here…and what do you expect of the wise eyes of the Lord of Rivendell?

"Legolas?"

The gentle voice tore the elf from his thoughts and he shifted slightly, lifting his eyes to gaze into the depths of Aragorn's.

"There was a time when you would have confided in me." The man murmured, stoking the fire with a large branch, all the while maintaining eye contact, "Might I ask what has changed?"

Legolas dropped his eyes to the sparks that danced as the ranger poked at the flames.

"Changed?" the elf replied, feigning innocence, "You concern yourself in things which are not at all amiss."

Aragorn laughed slightly at that and shook his head.

"Your elusive wiles do not fool me, my friend."

Anger sparked within the elf and Legolas's jaw tensed visibly in the firelight.

"I know not of what you speak."

"I think you do."

"Think what you wish." Legolas snapped irritably, and quite uncharacteristically.

Blinking in unpleasant surprise, the ranger leaned closer, gazing at his friend across the fire.

"There is no need to be so defensive."

"You give me cause to be." Legolas corrected, rising to his feet, his veil of golden hair shimmering.

"I would have you explain that." Aragorn pressed, deciding to play this one out.

Shooting a fierce glance at the man, the elf's eyes narrowed. What was Aragorn trying to achieve? Do you not know already? Did you think it would go away and you could keep it from him?

"Do not test me, Aragorn."

The laced tone of warning went unheeded and the man tilted his head back, observing the angry creature before him.

"Seldom are you in such a foul mood." The man replied, also rising to his full height.

"Seldom am I interrogated by the likes of you." The elf muttered, moving away from the fire.

"I am merely concerned."

"Aye, over nothing."

"I do not believe you." The man rounded the flames and followed his friend, "why will you not speak to me?"

Legolas paused, his back to the man as he gathered his composure. Silently he dared to pray that the man would speak no more.

Ai Aragorn, do not pursue such matters, please.

The hand to his shoulder convinced him that his human companion was not about to submit to his silent wishes.

"I want to help you."

Twisting away from the touch Legolas turned around to face the man.

"You offer help for no cause!" the golden-haired immortal hissed, "I am merely tired from the long journey from Mirkwood and you relate it to some disaster that you believe befell me!"

"Would I be wrong in my assumptions?" the ranger pressed, his gaze boring into Legolas.

The elf's momentary pause was enough to convince the ranger that his allegations were indeed, correct. Legolas immediately recognised the spark of determination within the mortal's eyes and cursed inwardly before shaking his head.

"You would indeed be wrong. You have a vivid imagination…my friend."

The last two words seemed incredibly forced. Aragorn merely arched an eyebrow. Unable to stand the slight look of hurt in those eyes, Legolas turned away.

When he had encountered Aragorn on the way to Rivendell, he had barely been able to haul his tattered self together in order to maintain his false pretence of light heartedness. A pretence that was swiftly crumbling.

However, it seemed to have worked, as the ranger sighed and set about laying out the bedrolls. They still had a good two days ahead of them before they reached Rivendell.

Laying down to rest, the man observed as the elf quietly took his seat beside the fire once again, his once bright eyes seemingly pale and distant.

As the man finally drifted into the realm of dreams, Legolas spared a glance at the ranger before rising. He carefully stepped over the man and crouched down, gently moving his fingers across the man's lips to test his breathing. Asleep.

Releasing a sigh, which he had withheld for most of the evening, the elf rose gracefully and stepped back toward the fire, taking a seat. Lowering his eyes to the flames, he absently allowed his fingers to trail to the back of his neck, where they brushed against sore flesh.

Legolas withheld a wince and instead, allowed his eyes to drift shut as his fingers came into contact with the bite mark. A shiver ran down the immortal's spine as words drifted back into his mind, laced with memory of the foul touches.

"Now, you'll scream."

That night, the elf found no sleep and took no comfort in the warm glow of the fire, or the presence of his friend.