Disclaimer: None of these delightfully pretty men or elves are mine. A good part of the storyline belongs to both Tolkien and Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philipa Boyens as it is based on The Lord the Rings, bookwise and movewise.

Rating: R just to be sure. It is slash, though I'm not sure up to which extent it actually is.

Warning: This is slash. This is death. This is based both on book and movie and surely it is part AU also. In italics will mostly be quotes of flashbacks, perhaps half in Elvish. I do not assert in wording these quotes in Sindarin that I am an expert in that area. As for what it means, or is supposed to mean, look at the end for translations.

Pairing: Aragorn and Legolas.

Summary: Today is a day of grave mourning in Middle-Earth. Today the greatest King of Men has passed away. An Elf stands, stoic, frozen, as Minas Tirith weeps the love of his life.

Notes: This came up as I was watching Rotk extended edition: I was literally mesmerised. Scenes between Aragorn and Legolas just screamed at me, dying to be re-arranged into some slash material. And so, of course, who was I to deny them? As much as I am fascinated by Sindarin and Quenya, I am sad to say that I am an utter arse at it, though I truly think I am coming along good. So I kinda recycled the quotes from the movies, arranged them to "somewhat" fit the context and characters.

"Of ghosts and love."

PART ONE

The White Tree stands proud before him as horns resonate mournfully through the whole of the White City.

« Ada, it's alright to let go. Nobody here cares much for the etiquette. Not today, at least.»

He knows this voice. Can he remember to whom it belongs now?

Cerulean eyes are laid upon him. A hand clasps his. His hands are shaking now as he feels the familiar steel around it. He knows this ring, does he not? Yes, he does. It is so familiar after all. It brings his heart so many memories of its former bearer. Memories that make his heart weep and other memories that make his heart smile dwell around his spirit and mind. He should be sad, should he not? Yes. Somehow, only the fine memories reach his heart.

Somehow, almost only hopes and dreams speak to him. It is a wonder, and perhaps a sin, that only Death has been able to rob him of him. He can perfectly remember each of the dozens of opportunities Fate had put in their paths. He can perfectly remember each time he had been at a thread's width to losing him. He can perfectly remember each time his heart had broken for this Man. And he can perfectly remember each time this Man had uttered "Hannon le" to him.

He remembers the day they first had met. It had been in Imladris, a very long time ago. Perhaps some would even say it had been a lifetime ago. Yes, it had been this long. He was still Estel at the time. Yes, he remembers clearly. A young, playful and impetuous Estel had crossed his path then. He, himself, had been not more than a child in Eldar Years. He remembers the very first time he had set eyes upon his smile.

A smile, which, unbeknownst to him at the time, would be the reason he would wake every morning. A smile to which he would soon lay to bed every night. A smile to which he would walk the aisle the day they had bonded their souls together, through death and life, through love and hate, through sickness and health, through lavishness and misery and through years after years. A smile which he would not see anymore, save in his dreams, would he?

It had been a Man paying his respects to the Sword That Was Broken whom had first crossed his path. A Man whom he had deemed of being more than a mere orphan without titles and great ancestors. There had been something in his eyes that had given him away though he was not quite sure of, even today. Perhaps it had been Fate. The Valar only knew but fact remained, from the first day, he was sure this Man was not only Estel but someone of great importance too.

He remembers the slight cough he had used as introduction. He remembers the surprise he had read in those piercing eyes. He remembers how this stranger had taken his hands in his own to greet him. He remembers the most beautiful voice slipping from his lips. He remembers the tingle mustering in his heart at the feeling of this Mortal flesh. Still, again, something had whispered to him that it had not been as much of the matter of a Mortal as the matter of this Mortal.

He remembers the first days of their blooming friendship as well as the last days of his stay in Imladris. These times had then been the greatest of his life of many Mortal Years. A young Elf, he had not known many Elves whom he could have called his friends. In fact, perhaps there had been none. It was a wonder, but perhaps a sin, his first true friend would turn out to be a Man known by the name of Estel. Never mind he was under Elven care, he remained a Man. Those bonds were then highly looked down upon.

This had been the first of many times they could have been separated, though, oddly, they had not. He had often wondered why. Estel remained a Man, even if he was bestowed the Throne of Men. Old Alliances were forgotten, new hatreds had been born. Elves deemed Man not worthy enough of them, deemed them too weak, too impulsive, too greedy. And he had too, before he had come to meet Estel. Now, indeed, how could he consider Men as such when this Man was this much charming, this much courageous, this much powerful? He simply could not anymore.

He remembers the day Estel had come clean about his true heritage. He had not been surprised, only pleased. Aye, he was indeed pleased the Man had faith in him so much he would go past Lord Elrond's interdiction and tell him nonetheless. No, honestly, he had not been very much surprised. Despite the fact that he was an Elf and Elves did very seldom show any rash emotion, everything about Estel had pointed to him being someone else and something more he had led him to believe in the first place.

He remembers the morning he had received a letter from the Man, telling him about this wonderful Elf he had met just recently. Her name was Arwen Undomiel, Evenstar and daughter to Lord Elrond's. Oh, he knew her alright for they had spent a summer of some sort together in Lothlorien a long time ago. It had been ages since he had last heard of her. Now, it seemed this Man had again trespassed the Rules and befriended another Elf. However, this time, he might have actually fallen in love with her.

He remembers the violent and bitter nip he had felt in his heart. He remembers confusedly pinning it as something akin to jealousy. Yet, Elves were not jealous, were they? No, they could not be. They were the Wise Race, the Shrewd People; they were calm, composed, and aloof. He remembers how, that night, for the first time he could ever remember, he could not sleep. He remembers how frustrated he had felt. He also remembers the sudden urge he had had to rest his gaze upon Estel again.

He remembers the day he had come across Rangers and realized one of them was Estel, who had now become Strider, Longshanks and Ranger of the North. He remembers the shock and yet, the delight he had felt. A delight he had not felt in years. He remembers journeying with him a bit through the years. He clearly remembers how he could not set up to call him anything else but Estel. Strider and Aragorn felt too distant to him for Estel would always remain, in his heart, his childhood and great friend. Estel would remain to him and him only.

He remembers counting each year passing by, recording each of the Man's birthdays, praying for him to the Valar in his heart. He remembers realizing that though he was a Man, he did not quite age as they did. It had been after well while he had come to notice this. Perhaps had he been too wrapped in Elven Ages to note? Too wrapped up in something else? But he remembers the Ranger laughing at him when he had shared his findings. Of course, had he said, I have the blood of Númenor flowing through my veins. Well, yes, of course.

He remembers thinking Death would soon take him away from him but never had, at least not before a lifetime or two had passed. He remembers days when Estel would break down and cry on his shoulder. He remembers days when he would lull him to sleep, singing tunes of love and life and faith to him as a mother would to her child. He remembers the name escaping the Man's lips each time. He remembers feeling saddened it was not his own but Lady Arwen's.

He remembers the very day Mithrandir had told them about a great menace and of the One Ring and Sauron, Lord of Shadows. He remembers the very day Estel had learned he would have to step into Imladris again for Lord Elrond summoned a Council. He can still hear the fears, the pleas, and the worries as now a smaller hand slides in his other hand. He can still hear that dreaded name he had come to hate. He can remember everything though he cannot quite remember how and when exactly he had fallen in love with the beautiful Man.

« Ada. What will it take for you to shed a tear? »

It is a silly question to ask.

« Do you not mourn him? Do you not miss him? Do you not wish him alive? »

They know, do they not? Why do they keep torturing him? Why do they keep pestering him?

He knows them. There is at least a boy and little girl. Yes, they seem so familiar. Why? Why can he hear his voice amongst theirs?

He remembers the very first time they kissed. It was on the eve of Estel's return to Imladris and Arwen. "Despair must not linger here yet. Ú or le a ú or nîn." They never knew what had pushed this but it had happened nonetheless. He remembers how soft his lips had felt, how pliant his mouth had been. He remembers the tenderness, the delicateness of their kisses. He remembers swearing that as this night had been a blessing, he would never ask for anything else of Estel's, save for his friendship.

He remembers holding his hand as they had slowly stepped together, side by side, into the Elven grounds of Lord Elrond's Imladris. He remembers the lovely smile of gratitude it had earned him. He remembers the warmth in his heart. He remembers the sorrow in his eyes as Boromir of Gondor had spoken about his homeland and kin. He remembers the anger he had felt himself as he remembers how swift he had been to defend his friend. "He is no mere Ranger; he is Aragorn, son of Arathorn and Heir to the throne of Gondor. You owe him your allegiance."

He remembers how prompt he had been to lay his bow next to Anduril and pledge protection and support to the Hobbits. "And you have my bow." He remembers the bluntness that had come over him, haste he had not often felt. For he knew this Quest, was he not to participate, would do them part when Death could not. He was in few ways concerned by the War though he was for the fate of Gondor's King. This care had been greater than anything else such as petty matters as dealings had with Men by Elves. The oath he had made was secretly more to Estel than to Frodo and Sam.

He remembers how lovely Estel had looked on the bridge of Imladris. He remembers how close he had been to break his promise had had made to himself only days ago. He remembers how strong the urge to join him had been. He remembers how relieved yet frustrated he had been to see Lady Arwen beat him to it. "Renich i lú ir erui govannem?" He remembers how grand the two of them had looked, how perfect to his heart the sight of them embraced had felt. He remembers that night as the few, as of then, he had allowed himself to cry. "Gwenwin in enninath."

He remembers how sullen he had looked as they had set out for Mount Doom. "Ú-ethelithon. Ú-bedin o gurth ne dagor." He knew the Ranger only saw one Elf in his thoughts, and he knew it was not he. He knew he should not have hoped for otherwise. But more than all, he knew how his friend needed his help. He remembers the long talks they had had when the others had fallen asleep. He remembers feeling and noticing how Estel and Strider diminished and Aragorn grew as they advanced toward the Shadow Land of Mordor. He remembers the pride he felt every time the Fellowship looked up to him, asked him advice, showed him faith. "Estelio han, estelio ammen."

He remembers the second kiss they had shared, in the very forests of Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn. He had seen Estel waking up at night and walking away to a small stream. He remembers following him, deciding to watch him before doing anything else. He faintly remembers seeing Frodo following himself the Lady of the Forest and of Light. He remembers how quickly he had been pushed against bark and trees and thoroughly molested, not that he had not greatly enjoyed it, mind you. He remembers the bliss he had felt and the joy spreading in his old, frozen heart.

He remembers the words of promise the Man had uttered. "Si han bâd nîn. This is my path now. Tides have turned." He remembers the third, fourth, and fifth kiss they had shared in the Holy Ground. He remembers the future the Man had talked to him about, a future that, surprisingly, did include him. He remembers the way Estel had cast aside Arwen so carelessly to make him space in his life, his heart and his arms. He remembers the way they had ended up falling asleep, cuddled together as if it was the end of Arda and nothing else mattered.

He remembers the long nights they had spent in the arms of each other, content by just that. He remembers the first time Estel had spoken the words to him. It was the night before they had reached the Hall of Edoras. He remembers how easily his had slipped off his lips. He remembers the way he had picked up him and had danced around merrily, uncaring and unbeknownst to the Dwarf slumbering away just mere inches beside.

He remembers the might Elendil's Heir had shown when the guards had asked them to leave their weapons at the entrance. He remembers how both Anduril and her bearer had shone. And he remembers the first time they had met Lady Eowyn in Edoras of Theoden King. He remembers how much she made him think of himself in times when Estel's world revolved around the Evenstar. He remembers the look Eowyn had given him, a look of strange understanding and sorrow and envy. He remembers his own jealousy every time he would so much as gaze upon her.

He remembers the grief he had suffered when he had thought his lover had died in the fields of Rohan. At first he had not wanted to believe in Death but every other one's belief had gotten the better of him. He remembers the awful words uttered by Theoden King. "Mount the wounded on horses, leave the dead." He remembers the pointed look the Rohan King had then given him; a look of pained knowledge and repressed weariness. He remembers the scare both cliff and river which had ghosted over him. He remembers the faint scent of Death.

He remembers the cry of joy released and the beat her heart skipped when she had finally seen Estel alive, despite all. Then, he remembers the sight of the White Lady stopping in her tracks, fighting back whatever bottled up emotion she suffered. He remembers the feel of urgency in her mind and the sight of ruin upon her features. He remembers the words, smiles, laughter and looks of utter gratitude of the Man. "Le ab-dollen. You look terrible." He remembers the touch of his callused hands lingering against his own fair ones as he had given him back the pendant of the Evenstar. "Hannon le."

Though he could probably not remember it as much as he could vividly recall the questioning, confused look Aragorn had given after he had delicately dismissed Eowyn of Rohan to the caves with the old, the women and the children. For the love of the Valar, she had simply confessed her feelings for him. "I can fight with you...Look at your friends: they do not need you to command them. They fight for you because they love you. I would also fight for you." He had grown angry with her and with himself. And at the Man he so dearly loved, for he had felt betrayed in some way, as her eyes had shone with love, care, and sorrow.

He remembers the War of Helm's Deep. He had never felt this gloomy, he had never seen this thick of a veil over his eyes. He remembers the awful argument they had had. He remembers how silent the Hall had fallen upon his words. "They're frightened, I see it in their eyes. Dan caer menigl. Natha daged dhaer." He remembers the hurt and fire in the Man's eyes. "And I shall die as one of them!" He had thought it folly and the Man he loved, a fool. Honestly, it only had been because he cared for him too much for his own good.

He remembers spying on Estel, as he would get ready for battle. He remembers how time had seemed to stop and war and evil had ceased to matter when he had handed the future king of Men Anduril, Flame of the West. "I was wrong to despair. You have not led us astray. Forgive me." He remembers the understanding in the Ranger's eyes and the kiss they had shared. "Ú-moe edhored, Legolas." He had not kept count of their kisses since a very long time, perhaps since he had first heard the lovely words from the Man's lips.

He remembers the horn of the Elves, their march and their familiar leader. He remembers Haldir, yes, and how glad he had been to see him in this hour of darkness. He remembers every single risk the Man had taken during the great battle and each time his heart skipped a beat. He remembers the last words Haldir ever heard, how pained it had been to look upon his lover and his friend as they lay, one deceased, one mourning. Haldir. And he remembers riding out with Aragorn and Theoden King, at the dawn of the fifth day since Gandalf's departure. He remembers the weight lifted upon his shoulders at the surrender of the Uruk-Hai.

He remembers the first time he had ever given the Man the cold shoulder, just after the great battle of Helm's had unfolded and had been won. "Nach gwannatha sin?" He remembers asking him this the Man cast his eyes on the ground. "Estelio guru nîn ne dagor". He remembers the scare this mere Mortal had given him when he had seen him, along with Master Dwarf, swinging right onto a narrow bridge swarming with Orcs. He remembers asking him if he had even thought about him, he remembers the impish still sheepish smile he had had in answer. "Estelio lîn. Esteliannen i erui govannem. Esteliach lîn i vethed." He can still feel the arms around his waist now as he looks at the White Tree.

It is still blossoming even if it is mourning its "greatest of all" King.

« Ada. Please. Say something. »

He cannot. I cannot. Not now. It is as if his tongue is frozen.

« You cannot stay like this. At least look upon us! »

« We are your…we love you. A ammen ú-erin veleth lîn?»

Yes, he recognizes their voices. They bring him so many memories of him.

Oh, Elessar, why did you have to let Death take you away?

He remembers the drinking game Gimli and he had competed in, the night of their return from Orthanc and Isengard. I feel a slight tingle in my fingers. He remembers the mirthful grin Aragorn had sent him from the watching lines. He remembers the silent invite in the Ranger's eyes and the playful and teasing sway of his hips. He remembers the flash of anger he felt when he had had seen Lady Eowyn approach his lover with a cup of wine, beckoning him to put his lips to it. Yet, he still could not hate her for they were too much alike. He hoped his fate would not match Arwen's.

He remembers the quiet time they had that night on the balcony of Edoras, when everyone had finally gone to sleep. "Man cenich?" He remembers talking about Mordor and the War and the spilling of blood, orc, mortal, eternal. He remembers the ache in his heart, the longing he had felt for his beloved Woods. He remembers how Aragorn had said "Farn." and how he had then proceeded to kiss him thoroughly. "Man cenich?" And somehow the Man had grasped what he had really meant."The most beautiful Edhel Fate has ever set upon my path." He remembers the rapture swathing him, he remembers the arms encircling him, and he remembers how he had forgotten about everything else.

He remembers the cries of the Hobbits, he remembers cursing them for breaking their blissful moment. He remembers how Aragorn had sprung into the room, boldly, if not foolishly, taking the Palantír into his hands. He remembers how he had writhed and rolled around upon the cots and mantles, unable to let go of the dreaded stone. He remembers the pain in his heart each time the Man would groan and whimper. He remembers the fear washing over him.

He remembers how angry he had been with Aragorn then. He remembers how he had pointedly ignored him for the few days, which had followed. He remembered the strong longing to hold him and make sure everything was alright and the anger he had felt. Aragorn should not be foolish or reckless; he should be wise and composed. He would be King one day, after all. But how could he blame him for risking his life for his friends, for Men, Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits he cared deeply about? He could not. He would do the same himself, should he be faced with such peril.

He remembers this night, in the stables, where he had taken refuge to calm his fury and brighten his gloom. He knew the greatest of wars had yet to come. He feared it. He remembers the Man's footsteps approaching him slowly. It had been a light pace, not as light of those of the Eldar but not as heavy as a Dwarf's foot or even your Common Man. It could not have been anything else than a Ranger's foot or perhaps a kingly foot. He could not help himself and had smiled despite himself.

He remembers the Man had not uttered a single word but had simply laid beside him, wrapping his arms around his lithe form in silent understanding. For though his anger could be seen as towards his foolishness, the Man knew it was the War weighing on him. He knew the Elf could hear and see many things more than his own mortal eyes, perhaps had he also the Gift of the Foresight, perhaps had he had a glimpse of their grim future? "I would protect you with my life, meleth nîn. I would not let Shadow nor Evil harm you for they would rob me of you, for I would not be able to lay my eyes upon your beautiful self anymore."

He remembers the cry of relief escaping the Man's lips as he had beheld the lit beacons. He remembers him entering the Hall of Edoras and the unspoken challenge floating between him and the Rohan King. He remembers his own sigh of relief as Theoden declared they would honour the Old Alliances. He remembers the days they rode out to the Rohirrim camp where others would meet them, from where they would, on the third day, set forth to Minas Tirith. He remembers the gaze he would cast upon the Path of the Dead.

He remembers the night of the second day when Aragorn had left his tent, dressed, armed and readied. He remembers Gimli sporting the same impish glint in his eyes as himself. He remembers the Eowyn of Rohan speaking with him. He remembers the despair in her voice and the pain in his. "It is but a shadow and a thought that you love. I cannot give you what you seek." He did not know when but, somewhere along those lines, he had felt a pang in his heart. Perhaps it was also his fate. Perhaps the Man could not give him what he truly longed for.

He remembers the swiftness in her pace as he she left his side. He remembers Gimli nodding to him. "You go first, lad." He would always smile at this name; the Dwarf might have seen many winters but he, himself, had passed a few millenniums already. Yet soon this irony left him as he took the defeated shadow of Estel. "Ma nathach hi gwannathach or minuial archened? " There was no malice in his words, only a slight playfulness. He remembers rejoicing in the warmth of the Ranger's smile.

He remembers entering the Lair of the Dead, he remembers the stench and the fear dwelling in the Dwarf's heart. "Andelu i ven. Ammen aphadar aen." He remembers how grand and proud Estel had stood before them and led them deep into the Shadows. He remembers the might he had shown when he had proposed freedom to the King of the Dead. He remembers the shine of Anduril in his eyes. He remembers the urge to bow down to this King of Living Men, here of all times and places of Eternity.

He remembers how weary he had grown of fights and battles. Truthfully, sometimes he simply wanted to go home, to go back to his trees and forests, to his kin in Mirkwood. He often wondered how his father Thranduil fared in the time of Shadow. He often pondered on whether the Elf Lord had travelled to the Undying Lands with the most of his kin. He remembers recalling his promise to Aragorn. "Beriatha lîn. Ned gurth a ned aglar." He would, he had. He had kept fighting for the sake of the Man he loved, his people and the fate of the whole of Middle-Earth.

He remembers Elessar. Yes, Elessar, for as he had now set foot into the kingdom, which was rightfully his, neither the tough Ranger nor the innocent boy, remained. The King of all Kings had been born, Elessar had immerged. He remembers his pride, watching the work and art of the Healing Hands of Elfstone. He remembers how tall he stood into the White Hall, amongst every of his ancestors. He remembers yet another bold move he had made, revealing himself once and for all, challenging him at the same time, to Sauron, Lord of Doom. He remembers the clash of the Evenstar against the hard floor.

He remembers Aragorn never did tell him what the Palantír had shown him. "I would not cause you grief, meleth nîn. I never have and never will. I promise you this: you will never hear words of that foul vision.»

He remembers the valour the Man had shown to Rohan and Gondor, he remembers his words. He remembers light, hope and life pouring from them. He remembers the fatality and the graveness of his voice. He remembers the frightening sight of the Mouth of Sauron and the gloom his riddles had brought him. He remembers how ghastly their few flocks of Men looked confronted against the whole of Mordor unleashed upon them. He remembers the cage of Orcs enclosing them. "Ammen dagor ú-erir ortheri."

He remembers Aragorn seemingly fighting his last fight. The Troll had him on the ground; he simply had him. He remembers crying his name, fighting his way to him. Time had stopped. Perhaps the end had even come at last though he could not bear to imagine life without his beloved. He remembers Orcs in his paths, more and more each time he would slay one."I forbid you to die. Aragorn! You cannot leave me. I will haunt you down to your grave if you dare to give up. Estel. There is still hope left. Estelio ammen. Estelio meleth vîn. Aragorn!" These were his last spoken words of the Third Age of Middle-Earth...

« I miss him too, Ada. »

Why do they keep hassling him? Will they not let the mourning in peace?

« Show him you will honour his memory, show him you have not forsaken him and will not either. »

Honour? There is no such thing as honour now. Memories? There are too many.

« Show him you will be faithful to your promise. You must be strong. For him, for us, for our people but mostly, for yourself.»

Strong? He was not sure he still knew the meaning of this word.

Hannon le. Thank you.

Ú or le a ú or nîn. Not over you and not over me.

Renich i lú i erui govannem? Do you remember when we first met?

Gwenwin in enninath. Long years have passed.

Ú-ethelithon. Ú-bedin o gurth ne dagor. I will not return. It is not of death in battle that I speak.

Estelio han, estelio ammen. Trust this. Trust us.

Si han bâd nîn. Now, this is my path.

Le ab-dollen. You are late.

Hannon le. Thank you.

Dan caer menigl. Natha daged dhaer. Three hundred against ten thousand. They are all going to die.

Ú-moe edhored. There is nothing to forgive.

Nach gwannatha sin? Is this how you would take your leave?

Estelio guru nîn ne dagor. You underestimate my skill in battle.

Estelio lîn. Esteliannen i erui govannem. Esteliach lîn i vethed. I trust you. I trusted you when we first met. I will trust you to the end.

A ammen ú-erin veleth lîn? Do we not also have your love?

Man cenich? What do you see?

Farn. Enough.

Edhel. An Elf

Ma nathach hi gwannathach or minuial archened? Did you think you could slip away at first light, unnoticed?

Andelu i ven. Ammen aphadar aen. The road is dangerous. We are being followed.

Beriatha lîn. Ned gurth a ned aglar. I will protect you. In death and in glory.

Meleth nîn. My love.

Ammen dagor ú-erir ortheri. We cannot win this fight.

Estelio ammen. Estelio meleth vîn. Trust us. Trust our love.