A QUIET PASSION, Elrohir/Legolas, Rating PG-13
Title: A Quiet Passion
Author: Dapper Scavenger
Written for: Tripledogdare challenge prompt: Hair
Disclaimer: Tolkein's. Not mine.
Author's notes: This is the toned down version, with a large section removed. For those with more more carnal appetites, there is an NC-17 version at OEAM, LoM and on my LJ.
Summary: Elladan wishes his brother was a little less reserved.
"I can not wait until tomorrow, 'Roh."
Elladan was bubbling over with excitement. In the last hour he had worked his way around every available seat in Elrohir's rooms, from the ornamental canapé in the entrance hall, to the chair at his desk, to the edge of his bed. If Elrohir had actually been watching, he would probably have been made quite dizzy by Elladan's restless pacing.
"It's been nearly seventy years since he last visited!" Elladan rambled on in animated fashion. "Aren't you even a little eager to see him again?"
Elrohir sighed. "Aye, I suppose."
"You suppose?" Elladan rolled his eyes as he followed his younger brother from the lounge out to the balcony, where Elrohir's latest creation awaited him. There were times, Elladan thought as he perched himself on the stone balustrade, when he wondered if he might get more attention if he were a palette knife. "You could at least try to sound enthusiastic. It is not every day that we receive such an attractive visitor."
"Attractive?" Elrohir snorted, sparing a sceptical glance before turning back to add a few delicate strokes of watery grey to the stormy blues already gracing the canvas.
"You are joking, 'Roh? Tell me you are joking. You must have noticed."
"Aye, well," Elrohir waved absentmindedly in Elladan's direction, sending a spattering of colour through the air, "if you're interested in that sort of thing."
"Only you, toren, would not be interested in the Prince of Mirkwood." Elladan nimbly dodged the splash of paint that hit the marbled floor. Elrohir had the most colourful balcony in Imladris.
"I just don't see what the fuss is about." Elrohir shrugged, straightening up and regarding his progress with a frown.
"That is because you never look! Honestly, 'Roh, if you spent half as much time in the Hall of Fire in the evening as you do here, you would find your eyes opened to a whole world of sensory delights."
Elrohir raised a fine eyebrow at his brother but made no comment. They had argued this same point so many times he had long ago ceased caring what his brother thought. Elladan just didn't understand the joy and satisfaction his art brought him. It took skill to bring the images in his mind to life. Any talentless idiot could indulge in Elladan's twisted idea of a hobby, jumping from partner to partner in less time than it took for his signature to dry.
"Just give it a try," Elladan urged. "One day, that's all I'm asking. Spend one day in the Prince's company and I guarantee you'll see what I mean."
"As if I have a choice. Ada would have my head if I didn't play the perfect host to our Mirkwood guests."
"Oh no. You are not doing what you did last time. You are not hiding in here, only coming out for official functions, during which your body may be present but your mind most certainly is not. This time you are going to spend a whole day, including your leisure time, with us and you are going to actually participate!"
"And why would I want to do that?"
"Because if you do, dear Elrohir, I promise never to question your painting again. If the exquisite Legolas Thranduilion cannot get through to you, nothing will."
Elrohir sighed. "Very well. If that's what it takes to get you to leave me be, then I shall spend the day with your paragon of beauty."
"And you'll give him your full attention?"
"As you wish, toren. For one day I shall give the Prince my undivided attention. But only one day, mind you. Our bargain goes no further than that."
Elladan's grin could not have been more triumphant.
To say that Legolas was surprised when both twins offered to escort him around Imladris would have been an understatement. Certainly he had expected them both to greet him upon his arrival – decorum demanded it, after all – but his prior visits had revealed the younger twin to be a cool, aloof character who had little desire for socializing.
It was almost impossible to reconcile that image with the charming, if softly spoken, company he was currently enjoying. Elrohir was exceptionally attentive. Under the younger twin's care, he had felt neither hunger nor thirst, nor had the urge to rest made itself known. With ostensible ease, Elrohir smoothly steered the conversation towards topics the Prince found pleasing. The younger peredhel catered to his needs before he even had a chance to voice them.
Despite being more than used to elves fawning over him, Legolas could not help but find this solicitous regard flattering. There was a refreshing honesty in Elrohir's courteous manner. There was no underlying motive to his actions; hard won experience had taught Legolas to recognise when one was attempting to win his favour. Indeed, it almost seemed as though Elrohir was doing this for his own gratification. Legolas was delighted.
That was not to say he did not also enjoy spending time with Elladan. The elder brother was cheerful and energetic, and it had been easy to develop the beginnings of a friendship with the gregarious quipster. After his first visit to Imladris, he had idly debated building upon that foundation. Who could fault him for entertaining such thoughts? Elladan was undeniably handsome!
He had not pursued the notion, however. He rather felt that, to the light-hearted, playful Elladan, he would be just another way to pass the time. Legolas had long since tired of such meaningless dalliances. He wanted more. He wanted a lover who would be his completely, whose only thoughts were for him. He wanted someone who would look upon him as if he were the last living creature in all of creation. In short, he wanted a lover who treated him much the way Elrohir was treating him now.
This, Legolas decided, most definitely had potential.
He suppressed a mischievous smirk at the indecent path his thoughts were taking and brought his drifting mind back to the conversation.
"You could do worse than Nólaquen's 'Eyewitness to Edhellond.'" Legolas said in response to the question Elrohir had posed. "I find it to be the most insightful account of the period."
"I have heard of Nólaquen but, regrettably, we have none of his works in our library," Elrohir said.
"I could have it copied for you, if you wish?" the Prince offered, and was warmed by Elrohir's grateful smile.
In truth he was gratified by the query. All too often, the Noldor thought they boasted the only academics of note. What would a Noldo know of Edhellond, compared to the esteemed Nólaquen, a Sinda who had lived through those times?
"Ai, do not give him another book to read, Legolas! He will only ensconce himself in his room until he has finished it!"
Legolas smiled as his peripheral vision caught Elladan rolling his eyes in exasperation. They had been discussing the founding of Edhellond for some time; poor Elladan was probably bored witless.
Elrohir, he'd discovered, was remarkably learned; well versed in literature and history. Elladan could be no less knowledgeable, he supposed. Both had been tutored by the inestimable Erestor, a renowned scholar, but it was obvious the elder twin preferred more physical pursuits. Elladan was much more comfortable on horseback or sparring on the training grounds than he was in the council chambers.
He wondered the reverse held true.
"All the more reason to enjoy the glorious sunshine we have been blessed with." Legolas swiftly stood, grinning at the identical expressions of curious enquiry that followed the movement. "I have not tested your skills with the blade for some time, Elladan, and today is the perfect day for it."
Elladan immediately perked up. "Now that is a fine suggestion!"
"And you, Elrohir? I have never had the pleasure of sparring with you. Will you join us as well?"
Elrohir acceded gracefully. "It would be an honour, of course."
Legolas smiled. Soon he would be sparring with the twins on a hot, sunny afternoon - a very hot afternoon that would likely have their shirts off the backs faster than he could draw his bow.
This day was getting better and better.
Legolas quickly realised that he could not rely on his knowledge of Elladan's technique to aid him against Elrohir. Elladan was relentless, his attacks bold and his blows punishing. He was like the earth: firm and certain.
Fighting Elrohir, on the other hand, reminded Legolas of swimming upstream. Elrohir's fluid movements were as cool and analytical as his accompanying expression. The younger twin's blade did not so much cut through the air as glide. It skimmed against his own twin knives so frequently that the sound of scraping metal became a constant.
It was so unlike Elladan's unwavering zeal that he was finding it difficult to anticipate Elrohir's attacks. Not once did the younger twin counter his fierce blows directly, instead blending himself with that energy and redirecting it. By investing very little of his own strength, he was steadily wearing Legolas down.
It was the perfect foil to the Prince's style: all quick, fiery passion. He knew he had better find an opportunity soon, before Elrohir's patient attrition lost him the match.
He let loose a flurry of ferocious blows that looked nothing short of reckless to the watching Elladan. His opponent fell back under the vicious assault. Legolas almost growled in triumph as he twisted his knives around Elrohir's defences and saw the peredhel's grey eyes widen with surprise.
The sun flared brightly against their singing steel. He felt the flat of one of his blades touch padded flesh; heard Elladan's startled gasp. He saw the flicker of gold slide along Elrohir's sword, slither from its edge and drift to the ground.
Elrohir's sword was frozen in place mere inches from his throat, having neatly severed one of his hard-earned braids.
Legolas wetted his dry lips before attempting to find his voice.
"A draw, then?" he offered with a weak smile. That had been a little too close for comfort. Elrohir nodded and withdrew.
"It seems we are well matched." Elrohir looked down at the lock of hair resting forlornly in the dirt. He bent to pick it up. Legolas watched, bemused, as Elrohir ran the short strands between finger and thumb.
"What are you doing?"
Elrohir flashed him a guilty smile, reminding Legolas very much of an elfling caught with his hand in the honey-pot.
"I wanted to know if it was as soft as it looked," he answered quietly.
Legolas blinked again, sharing a glance with Elladan. The elder twin shrugged and shook his head. He had no idea what was going through Elrohir's head either!
"Well, you will not find out from that little scrap," Legolas finally answered. Caught by a sudden whim, he grasped hold of Elrohir's hand and brought it to the part of his hair that was unbound.
Elrohir started in surprise, his eyes automatically drawn to the silken waterfall slipping through his fingers. He took a step closer.
Legolas felt his breath quicken as Elrohir's startled confusion gave way to riveted fascination. Nimble fingers deftly wound themselves through his golden hair, brushing his cheek and neck and running dangerously close to the sensitive tips of ears. A strong scent of sage and woodsmoke and clean sweat assailed his senses. Legolas struggled to contain the shiver that ran down his spine.
"Well?" he managed to ask.
When Elrohir finally tore his gaze away from that mass of hair, Legolas was stunned by the sudden transformation. Elrohir stared at him as though seeing him for the very first time - and there was something deeply covetous in his hungry expression.
Legolas had been the recipient of such looks many times but never one as ardent or overt as this. The intensity in those eyes sent bolts of heat throughout his entire body.
"I have never felt anything quite like it," Elrohir murmured. "I wonder if it is as soft when wet."
Sweet, holy Eru and his blessed choir of Valar!
He had heard the peredhil were more forthright than their full-blooded kin but Legolas had never, in all of his days, ever received such a brazen proposition.
It must be his begetting day. They must have changed the date and neglected to tell him.
It took all of his willpower not to do something extremely unbefitting for one of his station. Then again… a wicked thought rose unbidden. Just what was the point of his station if he couldn't have a little fun once in a while?
"Let's find out," Legolas replied in a low, suggestive tone.
He had no idea who was more astonished when he suddenly took Elrohir's wrist and all but dragged him towards the bathhouse – Elrohir, the dumbfounded Elladan, or himself.
Elladan had come to the conclusion that forcing Elrohir into Legolas' company had been a terrible idea. Rather than seeing more of his reclusive twin, Elrohir had sequestered his new and all-too-eager lover into his rooms. Since that day at the training field, he had barely spoken two words to either of them.
As for any romantic notions he may have once had about the beautiful woodland elf, he may as well forget it. Legolas was quite clearly besotted with his brother; he was positively glowing under Elrohir's obvious adoration.
Elladan suppressed the childish urge to sulk and glanced over at the entwined pair. If they were sitting any closer, he observed with a critical frown, Legolas would be in Elrohir's lap! The Prince was comfortably nestled against the broad chest at his side, his head tilted to rest upon Elrohir's shoulder. Elrohir's hand was entangled in the long tresses, teasing them into a mass of dishevelled curls.
Legolas' hair had become a source of great entertainment to the residents of Imladris, constantly changing from one evening to the next. Whether it was woven into elaborate braids and accents, or left loose and rippling, it was always decorated with ribbons and clasps cleverly designed to draw the eye. The Prince had discovered a powerful weapon in his arsenal – and he was not afraid to use it!
Cerulean eyes flickered to catch his gaze. Legolas considered the silent watcher with a thoughtful expression on his fair features, before twisting his head to murmur something indiscernible to his ever attentive lover. Elrohir chuckled and bestowed a light kiss on the golden brow in reply.
Then blinked in surprise as the Prince rose and covered the distance between them.
"Care for some company?"
Elladan waved him away. "Far be it for me to take you from Elrohir's side," he muttered into his wine. Legolas ignored him, sliding into the seat adjacent.
"I'm sure he can survive a few minutes without me," Legolas grinned. "Besides, we haven't talked in days."
Elladan snorted. "You have been… otherwise engaged."
"I know." Legolas' grin grew broader. Elladan hid his deepening scowl with his glass, knocking back the last of its contents while simultaneously beckoning for another.
"You did not come over here to talk about that, surely."
"Actually, I did."
Elladan choked on his drink. "What?"
"You know Elrohir best. Who else would I approach?"
"Well… what did you want to know?" Despite himself, Elladan was curious.
"Elrohir was not what I expected. I thought he would be…" Legolas hesitated briefly, "…more experienced."
"Oh?" Legolas frowned at his companion. What was 'oh' supposed to mean?
Elladan smirked. "Our Elrohir is something of a lost cause. At least he was until you came along. We were all, quite frankly, astonished by the two of you."
Legolas blinked. That certainly explained all the peculiar, if indulgent, looks he had been getting. "Surely he would not have lacked for offers?"
"It was not a lack of offers that was the problem. It was a lack of interest. Elrohir has only ever had room in his heart for his painting." Until now, Elladan added silently.
"But there must have been someone," Legolas persisted.
"Aye, he and Lindir were partners once. At the time we all thought they were the perfect couple. They spent all their time together: Elrohir painted, Lindir sang…"
"And that was it. As far as anyone could tell they never actually did anything! They were both too absorbed with other things. I suppose, after a while, they reached the same conclusion."
"Aye, I cannot imagine them together. There would be no spark." Legolas grinned. "Quiet elves like Lindir and Elrohir need someone more outgoing to force them out of their shells. Someone like us."
"Like us?" Elladan made a face. "I would rather pursue a dead fish than that lifeless minstrel. For all that he can sing of it, I doubt he would know passion if it walked up to him and slapped him in the face."
"Don't be so judgemental, Elladan. Was it not so long ago you thought the same of your brother? Yet he knows well the power of lust, I can assure you."
"Ai! I did not want to know that! Really, Legolas, there are some things that should be kept behind closed doors." Legolas laughed at the eldest twin's expression.
"Then I should return there if I am to have any fun tonight." He returned with a wink. "But you should think about what I said, mellon-nin. You are missing out on a wealth of possibilities."
Elladan huffed, unconvinced, as the wood elf made his way back to Elrohir's welcoming embrace. Legolas grinned at him from across the room. The wood elf did not miss the fact that when Elladan next spotted the minstrel, he gazed upon him with a speculative gleam in his eyes.
Legolas rolled over and heaved a dejected sigh, finding solace in Elrohir's protective embrace. The last few weeks had been marvellous. Elrohir was everything he had ever wanted: intelligent, capable and, above all, unreservedly attentive. He had never felt so cherished.
The younger twin snuggled into him, one arm lazily draped over his waist and the other bent to muss his tousled mane. Legolas had always liked his hair. It was a beautiful shade of golden yellow, like the sun reflecting on ripened grain. Now, however, he was growing to love it. It had brought him Elrohir's devotion and perhaps, he dared to hope, his love.
He did not truly understand it. He had once asked what it was about his hair that attracted him so. Elrohir had smiled shyly and answered: "I like the way it feels."
What could he say to that?
He sighed again. It was a miserable sound.
"Are you alright, melethron?" Legolas smiled faintly; Elrohir was ever thinking of him.
"Aye, I am well. I was just thinking that it will be time for me to leave soon." Elrohir's fingers tightened their hold on his hair, as if he could prevent his leaving by that simple action. Would that it were so!
"I will miss this… miss you."
"And I, you," Legolas replied, his smile sad. Then the corner of his lips quirked upwards. "But you, at least, will be able to paint my likeness to tide you over 'til next we meet!"
Elrohir did not laugh as Legolas had hoped, and the Prince felt his smile falter. Had he presumed too much? Then Elrohir drew a length of gold into their line of sight and regarded it wistfully.
"I could never capture this texture," he said softly, and the wood elf's body hummed with renewed joy.
"You do not need to. You need only convey it."
"You flatter me." Elrohir laughed. "I am not that great an artist."
"I am biased, of course, but I think you're talented beyond that which you yet know. Perhaps it is only practise you lack." Legolas had seen Elrohir's work. It was truly beautiful.
"And how can I practise when you will not be here? There is nothing on Arda that feels quite like you."
"Keep talking like that, Elrohir-nin, and I shall give you such a memory that you will still be able to feel me this time next year!" Legolas promised with a growl. A faint blush rose on the younger twin's cheeks and Legolas smiled; he adored his lover's constant innocence. And then he made another of his famously indomitable decisions.
Elrohir blinked as Legolas suddenly disentangled himself from their embrace and rose from the bed.
"Wait there," Legolas commanded. Elrohir frowned but did as he was bid, watching the Prince slip from the room. He returned a moment later, knife in hand.
"What…?" Elrohir began, only to be shushed by gentle fingers on his lips. Legolas knelt on the bed.
"This will last longer than a year," he said, shearing a not inconsiderable lock from his head. Elrohir's eyes grew wide.
"You would give this to me?" Elrohir whispered, running reverent fingers over the proffered treasure.
"I would give you so much more, Elrohir-nin, but, knowing you, you would consider this to be the greater gift." His supposition was confirmed an instant later, when Elrohir launched himself at his golden lover with an inarticulate cry.
Elladan wasn't sure what he thought Elrohir would do after Legolas left. He'd expected Elrohir to be depressed; perhaps need his brother to give him some bolstering comfort. What he had not expected, however, was for Elrohir to go back to his rooms and pick up a paintbrush as if nothing had ever happened.
Elladan frowned. Everyone always assumed that he and his brother shared a special bond. It was true they loved each other dearly but, in reality, sometimes Elladan understood his twin no better than anyone else.
He shook his head in mystification as he watched Elrohir putter about, mixing a little chalk into his solution of paint.
"You're getting better," he offered, breaking the silence. Elrohir paused and gave him a peculiar look.
"Yes, your painting. What did you think I meant?"
"Well, it's just that you never want to talk about it, unless it's to complain."
Elladan shrugged. "I made a promise, didn't I? Besides, you spent considerably longer with Legolas than the one day we bargained."
"I did, didn't I?" Elrohir grinned. "You were right, though. Legolas is every hedonist's wet dream. I believe I found that whole new world of sensory delights you were talking about."
"We noticed," Elladan returned, wrinkling his nose in mock revulsion. "You could not keep your hands off him! Just what was it about his hair that so engrossed you?"
"Ah, his hair… I have never felt any so soft before."
"You've felt a lot of hair, have you?"
Elladan stared. "Sometimes you worry me, 'Roh."
Elrohir chuckled. It was not often Elladan tried to reach out to him on this level. Elladan did not talk; he did. Perhaps he ought to take advantage of this rare opportunity.
"Here." Elrohir pushed one of his brushes into Elladan's hands, much to the elder twin's bewilderment. "This is a flat brush, made from horse hair. Tell me how it feels."
"It is coarse. The bristles are stiff." Elladan frowned as it was whisked away and another put in its place.
"Exactly. It's good for covering large areas of the canvas; it does not need to leave a perfect finish. Now try the sable. It's a kind of weasel-hair. Do you feel the difference?"
"Aye, it is much softer. What is this one for?"
"Sable is excellent for more delicate work. It has a greater flexibility and holds the paint better. For very fine detail, however, I have this." The tapered, round-headed brush was discarded in favour of a long, thin rigger. Elladan had to admit he was impressed.
"Extraordinary. It feels like silk. What animal is this?"
Elladan nearly dropped the brush. "You made it into a paintbrush?"
Elladan was aghast. "He severed the very hair from his head for you and you made it into a paintbrush? Do you have any idea how important those braids are to him?"
Elrohir gnawed on his lower lip. "You're upset."
"Upset? Not as much as Legolas will be if he ever finds out what you've done."
"Will you tell him?" Elrohir asked. Elladan flung up his hands in despair.
"Don't be daft. I happen to like you with your head still attached to your body. Just… don't tell anyone else. I'm sure we can come up with a believable story if Legolas ever asks about it." Elrohir flashed him an easy grin, visibly relaxing.
"I can always count on you, toren."
"Aye, I just hope I can count on you, too," Elladan grimaced.
"Of course you can. You know that."
"Good. You see, I'm meeting Lindir tonight and suddenly I'm a little concerned he might try to skin me to make himself a new drum. Who knew you quiet, artistic types were so scary?"
Elrohir flicked paint at him.
Ada – Dad/Father
Nólaquen – wise one
Toren – brother
Melethron – lover (male)
Mellon-nin – my friend