A Summer's Tale
Author: Gil Feir
Rating: K+ (as of yet)
Summary: After recovering from the frightening experiences of spring, Legolas and Aragorn enjoy their relationship and the acceptance of the young man's family. Until something tragic threatens to shatter their happiness.
Warning: Just in case you stumbled across this story and have not read the prequels:
THIS IS SLASH!
Disclaimer: I actually have no right to use the characters or anything that Tolkien has written. And I do not pretend to. But I have no money so suing me would be useless.
1. A Winter's Tale
(A Winter's Tale is posted under •Imaginigma•'s account)
2. A Spring's Tale
3. A Summer's Tale
(guess what the sequel will be called…•g•)
A/N: So, I am back! Here we are with another story about our two lovers. Join them in this adventure that will show them darkness and despair, fear and worry, but also love and life at the fullest. And...something small, black, scary, with wings...
I will try to update once a week, but you never know what real life has in story for you. Rest assured that chapter two is finished and chapter 3 almost. So there will be a chapter next week. And as always, my muse and I would love to know what you think. Review, please! It really makes me write faster, because I have a strange sense of duty. Could be the addiction to fanfiction, too, but who cares? lol Now, enough ramblig, read and enjoy.
Chapter 1: Summer
"You will never catch me!" Aragorn yelled happily, running across the grassy meadow. His bare feet almost flew over the flowers and the clover, and more than once he had to spread his arms wide to not stumble and land flat on his face. The fact that he was laughing loudly was not helping his situation any, but right there and then he did not care in the slightest.
"You just wait Estel!" Another voice called across the meadow, sounding equally worriless. "You cheated!" This elicited a bark of laughter from Aragorn, who neither stopped his mad dash across the field nor turned around to his pursuer.
"I never cheat, Legolas. I merely even the odds." No answer came, but soon Aragorn could hear the sound of running feet behind him, causing him to double his attempts to cross the meadow and reach the dark shelter of the small group of trees at the other side.
But he never got even close to the shadows of the high pine trees that lined one of the rivers that meandered through the valley of Rivendell, for a moment later he was grabbed from behind by two strong arms and lifted into the air in mid run, causing him to almost squeal in surprise. His yell turned into laughter when Legolas whirled him around, making his dark locks fly around his face. With a peal of laughter of his own, Legolas let them both tumble to the ground, where they nearly vanished in the high grass. Landing on top of Aragorn, Legolas pressed the man's arms to the ground gently and schooled his features into a mask of seriousness.
Trying to stop grinning and failing miserably, Estel lifted his chin a fraction. "And what if I did?"
Legolas raised an elegant eyebrow and a line of thought appeared between his eyes. He thought for a moment, then nodded his head once. "You will have to be punished for your actions, young man."
"Oh, is that so?" Sweet innocence radiated off the young ranger's body, and his eyes gleamed merrily. Any other would have run from the serious look on the elf's face, but Estel, being not only his best friend but his lover as well, knew Legolas good enough to see the waggishness behind Legolas's eyes.
"Aye, indeed." And before Estel could react in any way, Legolas had taken a hold of him, got to his feet and thrown him across his shoulder like a sack of flour. Laughing, Estel slapped the elf on his back and moved his legs, demanding to be let down.
"No, you will have to be punished for cheating in our race, Estel." Legolas said, a smile obvious in his voice. With quick strides he moved across the meadow and then passed into the shadows of the trees. The forest floor was spread with dry needles and leaves which crunched under his bare feet, and even Estel could hear the lapping of water against rocks.
"Legolas! Let me down." The man laughed, pounding his hands against Legolas's back softly. When the elf merely shook his head and laughed lightly, Aragorn sighed in defeat. A moment later, he tilted his head to the side and narrowed his eyes, a huge grin spreading over his features. "Actually, you could carry me like this all the time, Legolas."
"And why would that be?" The elf in question asked, making his way through some bushes and advancing on the stream that wound its way through the forest.
"Because," Aragorn said, pronouncing the word very slowly, "I have a wonderful view on your lovely behind this way, my friend."
"What?!" Legolas said and turned around, forgetting for one moment that Aragorn was not walking behind him but was lying across his shoulder. With a mock annoyed huff, Legolas turned around again, before he gave Estel's behind a gentle slap. "My view is equally entertaining, you know."
Now it was Aragorn's time to huff in mock annoyance, but he had not much time to play the hurt. A few moments later Legolas stopped in his tracks, and when Estel peered through the crook between Legolas's arm and his back, he could make out the glittering surface of the river.
"And now, Estel, it is time for young rangers to learn what will happen to them when they cheat their friends." Without another warning, Legolas turned his back to the river, lifted his arms and therewith threw Aragorn into the water. There was a huge splash and droplets of water flying everywhere. A moment later, Estel's dark haired head appeared at the surface, the locks plastered to the face. Spitting out water, the young man wiped his hair out of his face.
"That was totally uncalled for, Legolas."
"No it was not and you know it." The elf laughed, gazing fondly at the man. Water was running down the young, unmarred face, dripping from the wet hair and clinging to the dark eyelashes. For a moment Legolas stood transfixed, his heart beating faster in his chest. It was Aragorn who broke the spell. Cupping water into his hands, the young ranger splashed it at Legolas, smiling.
"Come in, Legolas. The water is wonderfully refreshing." Saying that, Aragorn pulled his now thoroughly soaked shirt over his head and tossed it at the bank of the river, before he drew up his legs and floated on his back in the water. The river was as wide as two elf's were tall and deep enough that a grown man could stand comfortably with the water reaching up to his shoulders. The current was not strong, and the trees that lined the stream at this place provided shade from the harsh summer sun.
Closing his eyes, Estel enjoyed the cool water on his warm body and the absolute silence when the water covered his ears. Suddenly, slender hands grabbed him gently by the shoulders, and fine strands of hair tickled his face. He smiled without opening his eyes, and when warm lips were pressed on his own, he answered the kiss willingly, inwardly sighing with bliss. The kiss lingered, and when their lips parted, Aragorn finally opened his eyes, "I love you, Legolas."
Smiling fondly at the young ranger, Legolas let his forefinger caress the man's cheek, "Not as much as I love you, Estel."
Summer had reached the valley of Imladris, and with the heat of the sun the hearts of the inhabitants had gotten wings. Or at least so it seemed. During the hot, often sultry days the elves of Imladris went about their business, unaffected by the sun's often harsh rays. But at night, when the silver stars twinkled in the sky, happy couplets strolled through the gardens, arm in arm, enjoying the warm summer breeze and the smell of jasmine in the air. And not seldom a pair of laughing lovers could be seen bathing in the rivers and lakes, or diving under the pearly waterfalls to the hidden grottos behind.
The midsummer's day came and went and still the sun shone brightly from the sky. It had not rained in weeks, and while the valley seemed less affected by it, the plains surrounding the valley were brown and the earth cracked. The tide in the rivers became lower almost daily, but the elves living in the valley had every trust in the Valar (and their Lord) that this continuing drought would not last forever.
With the coming of the summer, not only nature had changed. It had been but a few short weeks that Legolas and Aragorn had opened up to the young ranger's family, telling them that they were not only friends and brothers in arms, but lovers in heart as well. Their telling of their relationship had been under rather tragic circumstances, though.
Seeing that Legolas had stayed most of the winter in Eriador, King Thranduil, his father, had sent a messenger to Rivendell to make sure that his son was faring well. This messenger, Lithdal his name, had not only attacked Aragorn, trying to take from him more than he was willing to give, but he had also attacked the Prince and tried to kill him. This treason alone would have sentenced him to exile or even death, but his attack had gone awry and the knife that had been meant for Legolas had injured Aragorn instead, wounding the young man badly.
Lithdal had fled into the woods surrounding the valley and not even Elladan and Elrohir, the twin sons of Lord Elrond, had been able to find him. While he had not been forgotten, the memory of him had dimmed in the weeks after the attack. When Aragorn had been restored to full health, Lithdal had become nothing more than a bad aftertaste, and his memory stored in the farthest back of everyone's mind.
Well, not everyone's, as Legolas knew only too well. Sometimes as night, when all was quiet and only the sad hoot of an owl could be heard, he was often woken from his elven dreams by his restless companion. Aragorn suffered from frequent nightmares, obviously unable to come to terms with what had almost happened to him. The words that Lithdal had spoken to him haunted him in his sleep, if not in his waking hours, and sometimes, when he thought himself unobserved, a darkness seemed to enter his eyes. But, he never talked about it, and Legolas would not push him.
When summer brought the first hot days and warm nights, the nightmares slowly became fewer, and Legolas hoped that one day they would vanish completely. Maybe time could heal what even his love for the young ranger could not. And so Legolas and Aragorn simply enjoyed their days - and nights - together, happy that Aragorn's family had accepted their relationship so easily. Although, they were not yet ready to show their love too openly, and so they were never intimate when in the company of others.
Just like this afternoon, when they had decided to take a stroll down to one of the smaller streams that meandered through the valley. No cloud could be seen at the azure blue sky, and even the butterflies seemed to be too lazy to fly around. After the refreshing swim in the river, Aragorn and Legolas stretched out at the bank of the river, letting their bodies dry in the warm summer air.
Crossing his legs at his ankles and bedding his head on his equally crossed arms, Legolas stared up at the blue sky, a small smile on his face. Swimming had not been all they had done in the river, and he could still feel the lingering heat of Aragorn's kisses. His smile widened, causing his companion to poke him gently with his elbow.
"What are you thinking about?" Aragorn asked, squinting a little against the sunny rays that shown through the trees. His skin had taken on the hue of honey in the last few weeks, having drunken in the sun eagerly.
"Nothing in particular." Legolas answered, breathing in deeply. "You know, I think I cannot even remember when I have felt this good. Imladris is so different from Mirkwood."
As always when Legolas spoke of his home, sadness and pride warred with equal strength within him, but it seemed that today the pride of his homeland won the battle. Rolling over to face the young ranger, Legolas continued.
"You have never been to Mirkwood, have you Estel?"
Aragorn shook his head, tucking a strand of already almost dried hair behind his ear, "My family thought it to be too dangerous, considering my youth and inexperience."
"Mirkwood is not that dangerous, if you know which paths to tread and which to evite." Legolas said, tilting his head slightly to the side. "And if you know when to duck and when to run, you could even make it out of the forest alive."
Aragorn gave him a look that clearly said what he thought about that answer, causing Legolas to laugh clearly and slap the man gently. "No, really Estel. Mirkwood is not as dangerous as people might think."
"Is that so?" Aragorn asked, sitting up and starting to count off his fingers, ticking them off with his other hand. "First, there are the giant spiders that first paralyze you before they slowly turn your insides into a slimy mess so that they can suck you out."
Legolas grimaced slightly, ready to answer something, but Aragorn would not let him, already ticking off his second finger.
"Then, there would be the orcs that want nothing more than to torture you within the inch of your life before they hack you into pieces." He frowned slightly, then added, "Well, maybe not in that order."
Legolas was hard pressed not to interrupted Aragorn, but the sight of the young man counting off the dangers of his homeland with such a mock serious face was simply too adorable.
"Thirdly, there would be the Enchanted River. Sweet dream and goodbye to every carless wanderer. Fourthly, the black squirrels that are as big as dogs and can chew your ears off." Aragorn shuddered slightly, eliciting a small laugh from Legolas. Then, in quick progress, Aragorn counted off all the other dangers that loomed in Mirkwood that he had heard off.
"Giant moths, poisonous snakes, flesh eating plants, wolves, wargs, trolls, bats and oh, don't forget your common wood elf." Aragorn smirked at Legolas, "Rumor has it that they lure unsuspecting humans into their homes and place them under a spell. Turn them into will-less slaves."
Quirking an eyebrow, Legolas leaned closer towards the human, "The same could be said of the Dunedain, it seems." And then he kissed Aragorn, sweet and tender, but with a definitively smug twist.
Leaning back, both of them gazed at the sky for a moment, before Legolas continued their conversation, "You know, if your duties with the rangers allow it, you could come with me to Mirkwood when I return home."
Aragorn's head turned into his direction so quickly that Legolas thought to hear the man's spine crack. "Do you mean that?"
"Of course." Smiling, Legolas let his hand caress down the young ranger's cheek, "I cannot stay here forever, but I shall terribly miss you when I leave." His voice turned softer and his eyes showed his deep feelings, "I have waited for you for so long, melethron. I cannot let you leave my life so soon again."
Smiling at Legolas, Aragorn shook his head slowly, "Now, and we can't have that now, can we? You know what? When nothing serious comes up ere you leave, I will accompany you to Mirkwood."
Beaming, Legolas gave a small whoop of joy, before he winked at the young ranger. "Does that mean you are no longer afraid of the orcs, wargs, wolves and spiders?"
"Afraid? Me?" Aragorn crossed his arms behind his head, trying to suppress his grin. "I am never afraid, and besides, you will be there to have a look at me."
Legolas only nodded, vowing silently that indeed, he would be there to protect Aragorn should something happen. After the happenings with Lithdal, the urge to protect the young man had become even stronger, and although he knew that Aragorn was old enough to look after himself, Legolas could not change his feelings. Arda was not as safe as it once had been, and the fact that someone who Legolas had known for hundreds of years had nearly killed Aragorn had shaken the elf, too.
As if Aragorn had felt his dark thoughts, a honey hued hand reached out and grasped Legolas's hand, entwining their fingers. Aragorn said nothing, having closed his eyes, but Legolas was very grateful for the contact. Sighing, the elf snuggled closer to the young ranger, trying to enjoy the sun and the warmth of summer. After but a few long moment, he had chased away his gloomy thoughts, imagining much nicer things instead.
That night, when Aragorn and Legolas lay side by side in bed and the slightly cooler nightly breeze brushed over their naked bodies, they discussed their plans for the coming days. Up until now they had simply enjoyed the summer and the sun, but they both felt that it was getting boring to only swim and play and do nothing. They were beings of action, after all, and lazing around was nothing they could enjoy for too long a time.
"We could go on a hunt." Aragorn suggested, lying spread eagled on the bed. Even the cooler temperatures at night were still high enough to make him sweat.
"All the game has left the woods to find food further to the North, where it is cooler." Legolas said, tracing little circles onto Aragorn's chest with his finger.
Thinking for a moment, the young ranger absently smiled at the sensation of the elf's finger on his skin. "What about an excursion to the caves to the East? I have heard that they are cool in summer, with white bats living in their depths."
"White bats?" Legolas quirked a skeptical eyebrow. "There are no things such as white bats, Estel. Surely your brothers told you so?"
"Actually," Aragorn raised his finger to emphasize his point, "it was Glorfindel who told me this."
"Really?" If Legolas had ever sounded more skeptical, than surely not now. He had never heard of white bats, and he lived in Mirkwood after all, where all eerie creatures seemed to have made their homes. On the other hand, Lord Glorfindel was no elf who was prone to jokes or pranks.
"Really." The young ranger agreed, bobbing his head. "And before you ask, I checked it in some of the books in my father's library. There are some, admittedly rather old, sightings of white bats reported in them. But I think, no one has been searching for them in the last three yeni or so."
"I wonder why not." Legolas said, stopping his ministrations on Aragorn's chest and wrapping his arm around the man's chest instead. "White bats….interesting."
Grinning, Aragorn placed his own arm above Legolas's and turned his head to lock his eyes with his friend's. "Why don't we find out if they really exist? It would surely be better than doing nothing all the day and the caves are not that far. If we leave at morn tomorrow we could reach them at nightfall."
"Aye, why not?" Giving Aragorn a sweet kiss, Legolas snuggled closer to the man, "Let's go bat hunting."
"And you have no problems with entering a cave?" Ever perceptive, Aragorn knew how much Legolas disliked caves of any sort, although the elf had never told him why exactly. True, the Eldar were not fond of caves as a general rule, but Legolas in particular seemed to be very uncomfortable in them.
To Aragorn's surprise, Legolas laughed softly, "Nay, Estel, I have no problems with that. After all, I actually live in a cave, just for the case you have forgotten." He was silent for a second, but then added quickly, "But never tell anybody that I said that. The twins would never let me live it down."
Laughing too, Aragorn turned to lie on his side, facing the window. "No, I will not, I promise. Tomorrow we will go bat hunting then."
"Aye, tomorrow at dawn." Legolas mumbled, before he pressed himself against Aragorn's back like he always did at night, with his arm draped across the young ranger's middle. "Goodnight, melethron."
"Sweet dreams, Legolas."
To be continued