Just a few steps. It had been three years and now all that separated the elf from the man he so desperately loved was a few steps and a door. Aragorn lay, still asleep his caretakers told the elf, just through his chamber door. As Legolas touched his fingers to the door handle, his mind was inadvertently flooded with memories. Stumbling down the corridor to this door, slightly drunk on wine, Aragorn's arms around him, breathless whispers and laughter the only sounds between them. Another time after an argument over something long forgotten, still angry with each other though still desperate for one another; Aragorn kissing him roughly, pressing him up against this door…
Legolas shook his head, stopping the vivid memories and taking a deep breath. Without another thought, he pushed open the door and went inside. The sight that met his eyes kept him still and had him leaning back against the door, his breath caught in his throat. It wasn't just the shock of seeing Aragorn again after so long, but the shock of seeing him so vulnerable and helpless. As his lover, Legolas had glimpsed Aragorn's vulnerable side before…but this was so different.
Unconsciously, he stepped closer to the king, drawn by his heart, until he was at his bedside. The tears he had been holding back since Arwen had told him what had happened finally fell and he sank down onto the bed next to his love. "I'm sorry," he sobbed, curling his slender body around his lover and brushing his fingers through the soft, brown hair. "Please wake up Aragorn," he whispered, pressing his lips to the man's cheeks and forehead. "It's me love…I'm here," he murmured in elvish, his voice still trembling with tears. "I love you Aragorn…please wake up. Come back to me…"
Already exhausted physically from his trip and now emotionally as well, Legolas soon fell asleep, his body clinging to Aragorn's, his heart finding a peace it hadn't felt in a very long time.
That was how Arwen found them the next morning when she returned to the city. Aragorn was awake, his arms around Legolas, his legs tangled with the elf's. His gaze never moved from the face of the sleeping elf, not even when Arwen called his name. She came to stand next to the bed and tenderly ran her fingers over Aragorn's cheek, her heart beyond happy at seeing them together again.
"When did he come back?" Aragorn asked softly, his eyes never leaving Legolas' face, his fingers slowly moving through the soft, blonde hair. "I woke up a few hours ago…it was still dark outside…and he was here, his arms around me." His voice had dropped to a whisper now, lest it tremble and his tears begin to fall.
The darkness he had been shrouded in for the past several days had suddenly lifted. Earlier, he had been able to hear first Faramir's voice and then Arwen's tearful one, both calling his name and pleading with him to wake up. He had tried briefly, but the darkness was so peaceful and it numbed the pain in his heart. The pain of missing Legolas. And so he hadn't fought to open his eyes, lingering instead in sleep where his heart wasn't constantly broken.
But today he had heard another voice…a voice he'd missed so terribly for too long. Warmth had pervaded his being; the sweet scent of a body he recognized so well stirred his silent thoughts. Then suddenly the peaceful darkness was gone and he was once again awake.
And Legolas was there.
At first he hadn't been able to let himself believe that the elf's presence was real. Tentatively he'd touched him, sliding his fingers over his hair, his face, his arms, chest and back afraid if he moved too quickly or touched him too hard he'd vanish. He'd buried his face in the neck of the sleeping elf, breathing him in and slipping his arms tightly around the slender frame, terrified now to stop touching him, also because he was afraid he'd disappear.
Those first few moments had been so hazy and dreamlike, but soon Aragorn's emotions had hit him hard and once his tears started to fall there was no stopping them. He had held his elf tightly, his body shuddering with sobs against him. After a while his tears had subsided and his eyelids had started to close, but he was careful not to fall asleep, fearful that the elf would no longer be there when he woke up.
He had so many questions for Legolas; chiefly among them was why he had stayed away as long as he had. But he didn't make any attempts to wake him, needing first, the time to himself, reveling in the long-missed feel of the elf in his arms, and collecting his thoughts and feelings.
"I imagine he arrived late last night some time. I just arrived a few minutes ago and came straight to check on you…" Arwen whispered, not wanting to waken Legolas before Aragorn was ready. For the first time since she had entered the room, Aragorn turned his eyes away from Legolas and looked at his wife.
"You just arrived? Where were you? How long have I been…?"
"Shh…Aragorn," she murmured, smiling and pressing her fingers to his lips. "You haven't been out too long…about five days. Legolas can tell you why I was away from Minas Tirith." She glanced briefly at the sleeping elf and sighed. "He's very broken Estel," she murmured, her eyes once again on Aragorn. "You both are…" she added in a whisper, seeing plainly the heartbreak that still lingered in his eyes. "I'll make sure you're not disturbed today," she said as she stood up and made her way to the door.
"Thank you Arwen," he called after her, having a feeling he was thanking her for much more than just keeping everyone away from his door today. Smiling, she nodded at him and left the room.
It was another half hour before Legolas woke up, during which time Aragorn did nothing but hold him and watch him sleep. As anxious as he was for Legolas to wake up so that they could talk, he was equally nervous. They'd been apart for so long…things were different now. But the love he felt for the elf hadn't changed, nor had it faded. Though his heart argued with him, his head couldn't help wonder if Legolas' love remained as strong. After all…why had he stayed away for three years?
His heart constricted in his chest and he took a deep breath as he watched Legolas begin to stir. His eyes, though already open, came back into focus and he blinked, looking around the room before he quickly realized where he was.
"Aragorn…" Legolas whispered, his eyes wide, his body suddenly very still. It didn't seem real. He could feel Aragorn's arms around him, his warm body pressed against him…and yet, it had been so long since they'd been together. Nothing seemed real. His fingers trembling, the elf reached out and touched his lover's face, the familiar feel of his skin and hair bringing tears to Legolas' eyes.
"Legolas…" Aragorn's voice was a tortured whisper, his heart in his throat. All of his questions, his thoughts fled from his mind and all he could see was the elf. He was here now…that was what mattered.
Chills ran through the elf's body at the sound of his name on Aragorn's lips. It was at that moment he finally realized just how much he'd missed him, how close his heart had come to breaking. A soft cry escaping his lips, Legolas pressed his mouth to Aragorn's, wrapping his arms tightly around him.
Aragorn, just as affected by this reunion as the elf, pulled him even closer and slowly took control of the kiss. They couldn't get close enough. Aragorn reveled in the feel of the elf's soft lips, the taste of his mouth so long missed. He buried his hands in Legolas' hair as he made the kisses deeper, unable to get as close as he needed. He needed to feel his soul and his heart and know that they still belonged to him.
"I love you," Legolas whimpered tearfully, his lips brushing Aragorn's, as they broke apart to breathe. Any anger Aragorn might have felt at being abandoned by Legolas vanished in that moment, the sad look in the elf's eyes making his heart ache instead. Still holding him close, Aragorn pulled back slightly and looked into his blue eyes. He smiled very softly at the elf's disheveled appearance. His normally flawless and very put-together look was a mess, hair awry, face stained with tears, lips red and swollen from their kisses. Beautiful.
"I love you too Legolas," he murmured, gently wiping the tears off his face.
Legolas pulled him close again, pressing his forehead against the man's, still looking into his eyes. "I'm sorry," he whispered, his eyes so full of sadness they burned into Aragorn's soul. He had so much he needed to tell his lover, so much to explain. It was almost unbearable. "For everything," he added.
"Just tell me what happened Legolas. Tell me why you stayed away for so long…and why you've come back now," he said softly, running his fingers slowly through his pale hair, wanting to soothe him. He could feel the elf trembling slightly in his arms and he knew his emotions were overwhelming him. It was a rare event for Legolas to ever let his emotions get the best of him, and Aragorn knew that he was probably the only one to ever witness him this way. But it always unnerved the king and made him want to do anything he could to make the elf feel better. "Shh…Legolas calm down love," he murmured, kissing him softly, his fingers tugging gently on his braids.
Legolas took a deep breath, trying to compose himself; he hated feeling so undone. But, as always, he felt safe in Aragorn's arms and he knew his tears were never frowned upon. He could always lay his heart bare in front of his lover and know that it would be safe. "I was going to come back sooner," he began. "A year had passed when I finally grew tired of the trees and started to miss you more than I could bear, so I left Mirkwood and headed home."
Aragorn didn't say anything but smiled inwardly because Legolas had, probably unknowingly, referred to Gondor as his home. "What stopped you?" The king asked softly, brushing a wayward strand of blonde hair behind the elf's ear. Legolas said nothing for a few moments, gathering his strength. He was full of nerves at the prospect of telling Aragorn the truth. He'd doubted his love. How could he tell him that? Especially now with him so close, holding him so tenderly, looking at him with so much love in his eyes.
Legolas quickly blinked back a fresh set of tears and unconsciously gripped his lover's body more tightly, drawing comfort from his embrace. "I stopped one night at an inn. I overheard some of the men talking about you…" He paused for a moment, noticing Aragorn's skeptical look, his lips twitching into a smile he was trying to hide. Legolas too started to smile, knowing exactly what his lover was thinking. "Aragorn…"
"I'm sorry Legolas," he interrupted, his smile wide now. "I just…it's very hard to picture you sitting in a tavern with men drinking, eating, being just grossly human and--"
"Stop it," Legolas quipped, tugging on the man's hair. Aragorn smiled brightly at him again and kissed him, his fingers skimming the elf's cheeks, ears and neck. Legolas sighed softly as the kiss broke and once again laid his forehead against Aragorn's, staying silent for a few moments and reveling in their closeness.
"One of the men was bragging about how he'd recently been to Minas Tirith," he eventually continued, his voice soft again, the laughter of the past few moments leaving his eyes. "When his friends asked him why, he said it was for…for the celebration of the birth of the king's son…" He trailed off to a whisper, nervously lowering his eyes.
Aragorn went very still, stopping the slow movement of his hands on the elf's back. He watched Legolas closely, suddenly beginning to understand his lover's absence. "Legolas…"
"Please just let me tell you everything first," he asked, his eyes wide. Aragorn nodded, gently brushing his fingers over the elf's cheek before wrapping his arm around him again. "I knew that it was something we'd discussed and it shouldn't have upset me but…it hurt," he whispered, tears clearly visible in his eyes again. "I went back to my room at that inn and I cried. I felt so…so left out. I never intended to prevent you from having children," he went on earnestly. "But I…I wanted to be a part of the decision. I…I've never been insecure or needy, you know that," he said, needing Aragorn to understand. The king nodded in agreement, his heart aching for Legolas' pain. "But…I was then."
He stopped again and looked deeply into the man's eyes, his own full of sadness and heartache. "Aragorn, I tried to come back the next day, I really did," he went on, his voice trembling slightly. "But I was so mixed up and lonely…and the worst thought in my mind was that…" He stopped, the tears shining in his blue eyes slipping down his cheeks. Aragorn brushed them away as they fell, waiting patiently for the elf's next words. "It was that…what if I came back and…you no longer wanted me," he whispered.
Aragorn froze, his eyes darkening slightly. "How could you think that?" He asked softly after several moments of silence. There was no anger in his voice, just pain.
"I'm sorry," Legolas cried, pressing his palm to Aragorn's cheek. "I was alone and missing you so much. I let my insecurities get the better of me…it was a weak moment, I…please, Aragorn, please forgive me…" he begged, his voice trembling, his face wet with tears.
"What made you come back now?" Aragorn asked softly, avoiding, for the moment, Legolas' pleas for forgiveness. He wanted to know the rest of the story first. Not that he had any intention of letting Legolas go again… The elf had hurt him by his admission, yes, but they could work through it. They would work through it. Now that he had him back, Aragorn intended to keep him for as long as he could.
Legolas could see the pain that was lingering in his lover's eyes, but when Aragorn softly began brushing his tears away and then slipping his fingers into his blonde hair, he knew he'd be forgiven. He took a few deep breaths, trying to calm himself before he began speaking again.
"I…I went back to Mirkwood that day and just let myself get completely lost. I listened to the trees, to the wind, to the creatures of the forest, and blocked everything else out of my mind. But I never forgot you. You were always in my dreams, haunting me with what I'd given up, making my soul ache…but I managed to hide from those feelings while I was awake." He stopped then, watching the effects his words were having play themselves out on Aragorn's features. He was hurting…and nothing else Legolas said would change that. "Elladan and Elrohir found me almost six days ago in Mirkwood. They told me--"
"Wait…they found you? Why were they looking for you?" Aragorn interrupted, a confused look on his face.
"Arwen sent them," he replied softly, feeling guilty once again for ever being jealous of her. She was the reason he was here now. "They told me that you missed me so much that you were falling apart," he went on, swallowing hard over the lump in his throat. "I decided to come back as soon as they told me…I think even before they told me. Just seeing them made me miss you all the more. It was a relief to have them there because I knew they'd make sure I came back to Gondor…that I wouldn't turn back. Aragorn…" He paused for a moment and framed the man's face in his hands. "I wanted to come back to you…more than anything by that point. But I'd been away so long. I knew as soon as they told me how hurt you were that it had been my mistake…a horrible mistake at that. My mistrust lost us so much time…and then the longer I waited, the more I began to believe I was too late." He said all of this earnestly, his eyes full of regret, sadness and love.
Wanting to ease the elf's torment, Aragorn kissed him, his arms wrapping tightly around the slender body and shifting them slightly so that he lay partially on top of him. When their kiss broke, Aragorn tenderly ran his fingers over Legolas' cheek and into his hair. "It's all right love," he murmured softly. "I forgive you."
Legolas' eyes widened first with surprise and then quickly, joy. He reached up, wrapping his arms around his lover's neck and pulled him close for another kiss. "Thank you my love," he whispered against his lips. He felt a great burden lift from his heart, and here now, back in Aragorn's arms, he felt more at home and peaceful than he had for a long time.
"Tell me the rest," Aragorn murmured, quickly beginning to lose himself in the feel of the elf's body pressed so tightly to his. Now that explanations had been made, love declared to be just as strong and forgiveness granted; he wanted to forget everything for a while and simply lose himself in Legolas.
"A few nights into the journey, Arwen found us. She told me that you had been shot by orcs and that you hadn't awoken yet. So even though she had already sent her brothers to look for me, she had rode out too, needing to find me faster…in order to help you," he said, pausing for a few moments then and remembering his surprise and fear. "I was so afraid," he murmured, his voice trembling softly. He looked up into the man's pale blue eyes and once more lamented over all the time they'd been apart. He touched Aragorn's cheek lightly, wanting to apologize again though he knew he was already forgiven.
"Legolas," Aragorn said very softly, taking the elf's hand in his and kissing his fingertips. He wanted to tell the elf that it didn't matter, that he was forgiven, that he would always be forgiven and that they could put it all behind them. But instead he smiled tenderly at him and slid his hand across his cheek and jaw line. "I love you," he said softly, brushing his thumb over the elf's soft lips. Those three words conveyed everything he wanted to say better than any others and rewarded him with a tearful smile from Legolas. He kissed the elf softly at first, slipping one hand beneath his back and keeping the other on the side of his face. Legolas responded eagerly to the kiss, wrapping his arms around the man's back and pulling him closer. As their kiss deepened, Legolas opened his mouth for Aragorn's tongue, sighing at the taste of him, wanting more, wanting everything.
When their kiss broke, Aragorn moved slowly, wanting to savor him, kissing his way across Legolas' jaw line, nipping and tasting the milky white skin of his neck, to all the favorite spots of his delicately pointed ear. The elf moaned softly, slipping his fingers into Aragorn's hair as he turned his head to the side, allowing his lover better access.
It was so easy for him to get lost in Aragorn's touch; it always was. No matter how many times they'd made love, the elf never got used to the feelings the man's touch evoked in him. Legolas hadn't come to Aragorn the first time as an innocent, but after their first touch, their first kiss, he knew that he'd forever after belong only to Aragorn and that he'd really never known anyone before. Not like this.
Aragorn watched him closely as he began removing the elf's clothes, slowly brushing his fingers over more and more soft, smooth skin, loving the small sighs and moans his touch seemed to wring from Legolas' lips. Bodies soon met, skin to skin as they kissed again, deeper this time, more frantic, wanting to be as close as they could. So many times in the past three years Aragorn had lain awake at night missing Legolas' body against his, the feel of his soft skin as it grew hotter with arousal, the taste of his mouth and body. And so he couldn't get enough of him now, wanting to drown in him, his hands moving desperately over the elf's warm skin, kissing him fiercely, deeply, searching again for his soul.
Legolas too was needy with passion, with desire for Aragorn. He arched into his every touch, whimpering softly the further the man's hands skimmed over his flesh. For Legolas there was nothing that compared to being in Aragorn's arms. Every touch made his body sing with pleasure, every kiss drugged him; he loved being at his mercy.
"You're so beautiful," Aragorn murmured. He laid on top of Legolas, completely wrapped up in the elf's lithe limbs, their faces inches apart.
"Aragorn…" Legolas whispered, his fingers tracing the man's cheek and slipping into his hair.
"What is it love?" He asked, teasing slightly. His hand beneath the elf pulled him closer and he moved his hips against him, shooting pleasure through both of their bodies. He loved to watch Legolas as he touched him; the expressions and feelings that painted the elf's face as they made love were always so beautiful. Aragorn loved knowing that he was the one to cause it. Tenderly, he slid his hand between their chests and rested his palm over Legolas' heart. He could feel it fluttering beneath his fingertips and he knew his elf was desperate…and yet still so shy.
"Aragorn…please," he whimpered, arching up into him, running his hands up and down the man's back, kissing his chin…anything to be closer. He wanted Aragorn's hands on him, wanted to feel him moving inside him, to be lost in his arms.
"Tell me," Aragorn murmured, once again softly kissing the trembling elf. He slid his hand down Legolas' side, over his hip, around to the small of his back, pulling him up against him again.
Legolas moaned with pleasure into Aragorn's mouth. Their kiss broke and he looked deeply into the man's eyes. "Make love to me," Legolas pleaded softly. "Make us one again." They kissed again, lips parted, tongues searching each other's mouths, unable to get enough. Aragorn watched the elf as he coated his fingers with the salve he found, left probably by one of the healers who had been attending him, on the bedside table. Legolas moaned again, his hips pushing upwards instinctively as the man's fingers brushed briefly over his cock and then lower. The elf stiffened briefly as Aragorn slowly pushed his finger inside him.
"Shh…relax love," he whispered, watching Legolas intently. His cheeks were flushed, his eyes brimming with love. Slowly, he inserted another finger inside the elf, searching and quickly finding the spot that made him tremble with pleasure. Forgotten pleasure. Legolas hadn't felt this way in so long; he was quickly falling off a cliff.
"Aragorn please," he begged, his hands clutching desperately at the man's arms, reaching further for him and trying to pull him close. He needed to feel his body against him, needed him closer.
Desperate for more as well, Aragorn reached once more for the ointment he had used and spread it on himself. His heart was beating wildly in his chest as he looked down at the beautiful elf beneath him. Legolas' beauty never failed to take his breath away, especially when he was like this…trembling and flushed, lips parted, hair mussed, breathing rapid and shallow. He loved knowing that he was the only one to be able to make the elf look so undone, so unlike his normal pristine self. "I love you," he whispered, taking Legolas' hips in his hands and slowly pushing inside of him.
Legolas' fingers dug into the skin of Aragorn's arms, his eyes squeezing shut, as his body was briefly flooded with pain. But mere moments passed as the pain faded into a pleasure he had missed more than he'd known. Eagerly, he reached for his lover, pulling his body down against his own as he wrapped his legs around his waist. Their mouths met again in a tender, yet passionate kiss, as Aragorn paused for a moment, letting the elf get used to him. Legolas was quickly losing himself, wondering over and over how he could have stayed away for so long. He looked up into the eyes of his lover as they broke apart for air, his fingers lightly tracing his cheek, loving the feeling of being so connected to him. "Aragorn…" he breathed, his body shuddering with pleasure as the man began thrusting into him.
Aragorn took the elf's hands in his own and stretched them out over the elf's head, leaning down to kiss him. Heat and pleasure burned between them as they made love, each desperate for more, yet at the same time, wanting to make this last as long as they could. Releasing the elf's hands, Aragorn slipped his arms beneath his lover's back, pulling him even closer, as he pushed deeper into Legolas' tight heat. They were both nearing the edge; lost in each other, no longer able to determine where one of them stopped and the other began. "Legolas…look at me," he pleaded desperate between gasps for breath.
"Aragorn, I…" He gasped as their eyes met. They both froze for just one second before falling over the edge. It was then that Legolas truly found his peace and knew for sure that nothing could ever compare to this love. And Aragorn found what he'd been searching for…Legolas' heart and soul. They still belonged to him.
They lay still for a very long time after that, Aragorn on top of Legolas, his head nestled against his chest, still inside the elf, Legolas' arms and legs wrapped around him. "I love you," Aragorn murmured many moments later, after finally catching his breath. Legolas smiled to himself and tenderly stroked the man's hair, whispering I love you in response. "Promise me…" the man continued very softly, tilting his head upwards so that his eyes met with Legolas'. "I…I can't make you promise to never leave me again…just promise me you'll never doubt my love again."
Legolas looked down into his eyes, tears forming once more in his own, and nodded. "I promise," he whispered, kissing the man's forehead.
For Aragorn, the toll of his injury and his emotional reunion with his lover had exhausted him. The feel of Legolas stroking his hair combined with the elf's soft humming quickly lulled him to sleep. Legolas made a vow then, that if it were at all possible, he'd never leave him again. The peacefulness that Mirkwood offered was nothing compared to the joy and security he felt now, wrapped in Aragorn's arms. And he never wanted to hurt his lover again.
"Shh…stay sleeping love," Aragorn whispered as he slipped out of Legolas' embrace. The elf had stirred the moment Aragorn had risen to leave the bed. His sapphire eyes blinked several times, sleepily striving for focus and he reached for the man without a word. Aragorn smiled and kissed him lovingly, slipping his fingers through silken hair. "I need to attend to a few pressing matters…but it is still early. Stay asleep and I'll return before noon. I love you Legolas," he murmured. The elf protested weakly but was still exhausted and quickly slipped back into sleep. Aragorn gazed lovingly at him as he reached the door, reluctant to leave, even for an hour or two, but he trusted Legolas, implicitly he discovered somewhat surprisingly, to be there when he returned.
As he had hoped, he found Arwen in her chambers, already awake with their son. "Legolas told me that you're responsible for his coming home," Aragorn said softly, smiling at his queen and taking Eldarion from her arms.
Arwen smiled softly at the pair and took a seat near the window, mildly surprised to see him. "I couldn't stand to watch you suffering any longer…" she replied. "I'm quite surprised to see you here now. Shouldn't you be with him?"
He smiled warmly at his son, kissed the child's forehead and set him in his crib. He crossed the room and sat next to Arwen, his smile shining brightly. "He's sleeping. Arwen…thank you," he said, his voice softer now, his eyes sincere. He took her hand in his own and squeezed it tightly. "Thank you so much."
She smiled and waved his words away. "Did he tell you why he didn't come back?" She asked, already knowing the partial reason, as her brothers had told her.
He nodded, glancing in the direction of their son. "He found out we'd had a child. He felt as if I'd…forgotten him and he started to wonder if his return to Gondor would be a welcome one. He was miserable without me, without us, but he let himself succumb to his insecurities and he ran away," he explained softly, a brief look of pain crossing his face. "Arwen…he needs to see Eldarion. He needs to know that our child isn't a threat to him," he said, his brow creased in thought. She waited patiently, knowing he had more to say. "I know he trusts my love for him, but I know him too well to know that he's still somewhat worried."
Arwen smiled brightly and squeezed his hand again. "It'll be fine Estel, you'll see," she said, laughing lightly when he turned a curious look on her. "Don't be so skeptical and trust that I know what I'm talking about," she said, standing and releasing his hand. "Now, go back to your lover…bring him here this evening after supper, when Eldarion is sleeping. Then he can see him."
She shook her head and laughed again. "Trust me…now go!"
Aragorn watched Legolas unseen for the moment. It was dusk and the setting sun's rays fell beautifully upon the elf's golden hair. The garden that had long been Aragorn's nighttime refuge of memories while Legolas was gone was once again full of light. The elf turned and smiled at his lover, sensing his presence.
"I came here every night while you were away…thinking of you and replaying all of our memories," Aragorn whispered, taking the elf in his arms and kissing him tenderly. Sighing, he drew him closer and breathed in Legolas' soft scent, shivering slightly at the feelings it invoked. Legolas held him tightly in return and pressed his lips to the man's neck, wishing again that he could undo the past three years. If anything it had made them closer now, and the elf knew it would be almost impossible for him to leave his lover again, but he still regretted the pain they had both suffered on his account.
"Hmm?" Unwilling to break their embrace, Legolas lay his head upon Aragorn's shoulder, keeping one arm around his waist, letting the other play lazily in the man's hair.
Aragorn paused for a moment, turning his head to look down at the elf and wondering, as he had so many times before, how such a beautiful creature could exist. Warmly, he kissed the elf's forehead and ran his fingers through silken hair. Sighing softly, he cupped Legolas' cheek in his hand and looked into his eyes. "I want you to see my son."
Unable to stop himself, Legolas stiffened and instantly looked away from Aragorn's loving eyes. He felt foolish…nervous to see a two year old child. But it wasn't so much the child as what he represented to Legolas. And he knew somewhere deep in his heart that his fear was irrational, but he couldn't help his outward reaction.
"Legolas…Eldarion is not a threat to you," Aragorn said softly, slipping his hand beneath his chin and tilting his face up.
"I know that," he replied, sighing and slipping out of Aragorn's arms. He turned from him and walked a few steps away, collecting his thoughts.
"What is it love?" Aragorn asked, watching him carefully. "Is it Arwen? Because he's our child?"
Legolas shook his head quickly, his back still facing Aragorn. "No," he answered softly. "I know you and she share a bond because of the child and well, just because of your history…and you care for each other. I'm not jealous," he stated forcefully, turning around finally to face Aragorn again. "I have no reason to be. It's just that…" he trailed off, lifting his arms in a helpless gesture, wishing he could find the right words to explain what he felt.
Aragorn, unnerved by the sadness he saw written on the elf's face, moved closer and reached out to take one of his hands in his own. He said nothing, waiting patiently for Legolas to continue. His blue eyes were now bright with emotion, his heart beating anxiously. "He's your son…yours and hers and it's just that…he's the only thing she can give you that I can't."
Aragorn swallowed hard over the lump in his throat, his eyes stinging with tears. He was quite sure he'd never heard the elf sound so sad, not even when he'd been in tears apologizing for not returning to him. His heart ached for his lover and he wanted nothing more than to ease his pain. He pulled Legolas into his arms and held him tightly, smoothing his hands over the blonde hair and up and down his back. Legolas let himself be enfolded in the warmth of his lover's embrace, seeking comfort. "Aragorn, I would…if I could give you a child, I would," he whispered, shutting his eyes and pushing himself closer.
Aragorn felt his heart ache in his chest, Legolas' words painful to his soul. There was nothing he could think of to say that would convey how moved he was. He pulled back and took the elf's face in his hands. Smiling softly, he brushed his thumbs over his cheeks, leaned forward and pressed his forehead to Legolas'. "I love you," he said softly, looking deep into blue eyes. Legolas pulled him closer and kissed him, seeking comfort. He knew Aragorn loved him…loved only him. The reassurance the man gave him now with his words and his touch only reinforced that knowledge, but he knew it without having to ask. And still he felt irrationally nervous, but he had to admit a certain curiosity. He had to see the child sometime after all.
When their kiss broke, Legolas stayed where he was, wrapped in Aragorn's arms, his eyes closed. But after a few moments of silence he took a deep breath, opened his eyes and smiled tentatively at his lover. "Let's go," he whispered. "I want to see your son." Aragorn smiled lovingly at him and kissed him once more. He took the elf's hand in his own and let him slowly away from the garden and inside.
Despite Legolas' determination to see the child, he found himself growing more and more nervous with every step closer to Arwen's chamber. By the time they stepped inside Aragorn could feel him trembling. Turning to face him, he brought Legolas' hand to his lips and smiled warmly. "Don't be so nervous love…it'll be all right," he murmured, brushing a strand of blonde hair behind the tip of a pointed ear with his other hand. Legolas could only nod in response, swallowing hard and now gripping tightly to his lover's hand.
"Good evening Legolas," Arwen said, greeting him warmly. She smiled and embraced him tenderly; careful not to come between the grip he still had on Aragorn's hand. "Don't worry," she whispered into his ear, her fingers pressing lightly against his arm. "He's asleep now," she said, pulling away and glancing briefly at her husband. From the moment they had come into her room she had been able to sense Legolas' rather obvious nerves. His eyes were darting all over the room and he was careful to stay as close to Aragorn as he could. "Legolas…" she murmured, reaching out for his free hand, knowing that the sooner she brought him to Eldarion, the sooner his fears would cease.
Legolas swallowed hard and looked at Aragorn. The man smiled at him and nodded, squeezing his hand briefly before letting it go. He took a deep breath and then reached for Arwen's hand. She smiled again at him and pulled him close to her side. Aragorn stayed where he was and watched them, smiling as he listened to Arwen speaking elvish to Legolas about Eldarion. She seemed to be able to put him at ease more than he could. He was still wondering how Arwen was so sure everything would work out.
Legolas felt himself begin to relax as Arwen continued to talk about the child and his various quirks. Her voice itself was soothing enough and she kept him close to her side as they walked into her room towards the cradle where the child lay sleeping. He trembled slightly when Arwen picked up the sleeping child and carefully placed him in his arms, telling him in that same soft voice not to worry. "Eldarion sleeps through anything." She stepped back and watched her son settle comfortable against Legolas' body.
The elf's terrified expression slowly faded as he looked down at the child he now held. He swallowed hard, staring at the baby who was now curled against his chest, a warm weight in his arms. He was beautiful. Legolas couldn't stop staring at him, entranced by the way he felt in his arms. Gently he laid his hand on Eldarion's stomach, his heart fluttering in his chest as the child sighed softly in his sleep and loosely gripped the elf's fingers. He looked up in surprise, turning as his eyes searched for Aragorn.
The king stood nearby, Arwen at his side now, and smiled warmly at his lover. His chest was tight with emotion as he felt his already limitless love for Legolas grow even more. The elf was spellbound by Eldarion. He smiled at Aragorn, his eyes full of wonder, before looking back down at the child.
"He's falling in love with him," Arwen whispered softly, taking Aragorn's hand in her own and squeezing it. She felt tears begin to pool in her own eyes and knew her husband must be feeling just as moved as she, if not more. Aragorn could only nod in response and hold tightly to her hand. He swallowed hard over the lump in his throat and continued to watch Legolas with his son.
Apprehension gone now, Legolas didn't even flinch when the child began to fuss. He rocked him gently and began singing softly, an elvish lullaby he remembered from long ago. He couldn't believe how easy this was; holding Eldarion, watching him sleep…it was all so natural. The fear he had felt so strongly only a few minutes before seemed ridiculous now.
"How did you know?" Aragorn asked softly, speaking to Arwen, though he was unable to tear his eyes away from Legolas. "How did you know that it would work out…that he'd love him?"
Arwen reached up and touched her husband's cheek, turning him to face her. "Eldarion is your son. He's part of you and Legolas loves you completely…it's only natural he love your child," she said simply, smiling at him. They walked over to where Legolas stood, still humming softly to the sleeping child. Arwen stood at his side and smiled lovingly at her son. Almost reluctantly, Legolas placed Eldarion back in his mother's arms. She laid the child in his crib and kissed his forehead before looking up at Legolas and Aragorn. They stood next to one another now, Aragorn's arm securely around the elf's waist, Legolas leaning comfortably against him, a content smile on his face.
Wanting to chase away any last lingering fears he might have, Arwen smiled at them both and took Legolas' hand in her own. "It'll be good for him," she said softly, nodding towards the child. "Having three people watching out for him and raising him instead of just two," she said, looking into Legolas' eyes. His soft, content look quickly changed into one of surprise as he took in her words. "Legolas, from now on I want you to be just as much a part of his life as myself or Aragorn. It only makes sense."
Aragorn nodded and ran his hand up and down his lover's back. "She's right. I want that too," he added, smiling warmly at the elf when he turned to look at him.
Legolas quickly blinked back tears, took a deep breath and nodded in response. "I'll always look after him. I'll…I'll love him," he whispered, his eyes darting back and forth between Aragorn, Arwen and the sleeping child. It was true, he thought to himself. He did love the child. It had all happened so quickly, but from the moment Arwen had placed him in his arms, he had felt a connection with Eldarion. It was natural and easy, and he realized that it was most likely because of the fact that Eldarion was Aragorn's son, part of the man he loved so much.
And so for the second time in his long life, he had fallen in love quickly, deeply and without a chance of survival. But he had finally found his peace. And as he left Arwen's chamber and walked hand in hand with Aragorn to their favorite garden, he knew his heart was home.