Hey, everyone! Sorry again for having a late one, but here it is! Enjoy!
She understood that they had to be quiet in case of any enemies that may be lurking about in the darkness, but there could have at least been hushed conversation. Anything was better than the thick suffocating quietude, insects chirping eerily, the gentle crackling of the fire and the occasional shuffle in the grass from a small animal. Hell, most of the company weren't even looking at each other. All the men had their heads bowed as they stared at their plates and ate, including the king and his nephew. Aragorn was off to the side, picking away at his food with a distracted look, Gandalf was smoking his pipe not so far from him, Gimli was stuffing his face and glancing up occasionally around the fire, and Legolas had his one hand entwined with Kail's as they both balanced their plates on their laps and ate with their free hands.
Yes, definitely an awkward dinner. Kail would have thought that the king, Éomer, Gandalf and Aragorn would be strategizing or planning the route ahead or something, but apparently not. Apparently they had gotten all their chatting done during the day and now it was all left to silence.
Kail finished her meal then set her plate off to the side as quietly as she could, not wanting to be the first to disturb the silence, then angled her body towards the Elf at her side. When her free hand came to join her first around his hand as she leant her head on his shoulder, he turned his head slightly to give her a smile. She returned the gesture before he leaned over to place a kiss on the crown of her head then returned to his dinner.
Kail jumped when suddenly the silence was shattered. Gimli, who had been sitting on the other side of her, belched. Had there been conversation, the burp hardly would have gone noticed, but due to the silence of the camp it seemed to echo around them. All eyes simultaneously zeroed in on the Dwarf mid-chew and swallow, but Gimli didn't seem to care as he rubbed his rotund belly in satisfaction while emitting several smaller burps.
"Master Dwarf," Théoden's voice called; he didn't sound too impressed. "May I remind you there is a lady present? What if-?"
But Kail was already giggling. At first it had started as a quiet chuckle, but then it gradually grew into a full body convulsion. Everyone stared at her as she continued to laugh, her face scrunched up like she had just eaten something sour and her shoulders shaking. She was laughing so hard at one point that she actually snorted a little on her inhale which made her laugh even more.
The belch itself wasn't what was funny really. Firstly, it was because it made her jump so much, secondly it was because it had broken the perfect silence so effectively, and thirdly because Théoden had gotten angry at Gimli for doing it when a lady was present. She just couldn't hold it in anymore after that and had started laughing out loud. Now she had tears rolling down her cheeks and even had Legolas helping her stay upright with an arm around her shoulders.
When she had finally calmed down enough, she wiped the tears away with a few small giggles escaping. When she was able to see again, she looked at Gimli who had been grinning like a Cheshire cat then to her friends who only looked on with hidden smiles. Théoden and his men looked rather confused, but no one said anything more until her breathing had returned to normal and Legolas no longer had to hold her up.
After she wiped the remaining tears from her face and took a few calming breaths, she looked to Gimli with a wide smile. "Thank you, Gimli. I needed that," she said as she clasped hands with Legolas once again. "The silence was killing me."
"You are a strange Elf, Lady Kail," Éomer suddenly spoke up from across the fire. Kail looked over at him to find him giving a small friendly smile. She smiled back, knowing that whatever tension that had remained after their first encounter was now gone.
"Thank you," she replied chirpily with a wide grin.
"And what does your husband think of such behavior?" he asked then as his eyes switched over to Legolas. Kail's cheeks heated up and she was thankful for the darkness as she glanced up at the Elf next to her.
"Oh, uh, we're not married," she said sheepishly and Éomer's brow rose curiously.
"Betrothed to be married, actually," Legolas added with a gentle squeeze to her hand as he placed another kiss to the side of her head. Her cheeks flushed a deeper red and she was now sure the others around the fire could see it the moment she saw all their smiles.
"Congratulations," Théoden interrupted the conversation with a nod in their direction. Both Elves nodded back and smiled gratefully before he stood. "I think it is time we rest for the night. Tomorrow we rise early and cross into Fangorn. We will arrive at Isengard by midday. Who would like to take first watch?"
Kail glanced at Legolas and with a simple nod from him she turned back to the king. "Legolas and I will take the night's watch, my lord," she volunteered, sounding a tad awkward with the title at the end. The Man turned to look at the two Elves curiously.
"The whole night?"
Legolas nodded as he stood and pulled Kail up with him. "We are Elves, we do not need as much sleep and we have slept this past night," he said. "We will not tire. We will rouse you just before dawn."
"Very well," Théoden agreed then bid everyone goodnight before moving over to his bedroll. His men followed suit, their plates being wiped off and put away in the proper saddlebags. Legolas and Kail remained by the fire after releasing each other's hands and made sure all their weapons were in order on their person.
Not long after the company of men spread out on their bed roll Gandalf, Aragorn and Gimli approached their two Elvin friends with warm smiles.
Gandalf immediately stepped in front of Kail and gave her a bow of his white head. "Congratulations on your engagement, my dear," he said and when he straightened Kail could see the proud gleam in his eye.
Kail smiled brightly in return and without warning stepped forward and wrapped her arms around the old Wizard's neck. He seemed surprised at the gesture at first, but soon he was chuckling fondly into her ear and returned the hug with one arm around her back with a light squeeze. "Thank you," she replied then pulled back to place a kiss on his cheek before releasing him completely. His smile was even wider now and he winked at her before looking at Legolas and giving him a bow of his head which the Prince returned.
He then stepped away to allow Aragorn to clasp shoulders with the blonde in their traditional brotherly embrace. Both smiled brightly at one another and a few Elvish words were exchanged before they released one another to allow Kail to give Aragorn a hug and a kiss just as she had done for Gandalf.
When they parted he nodded to her as well. "I wish you both the happiest of marriages," he said and Kail's smiled widened more if that were possible. He then looked between the two of them, his smile turning slightly sad and reverent –he was no doubt thinking of Arwen. "Congratulations."
"Hannon le," Kail replied with a sympathetic smile. Aragorn nodded once more to them before backing away. Gimli took his place, shuffling awkwardly on his feet and avoiding their gazes. Both Elves grinned down at him, amused at his nervousness.
Finally he coughed and grunted and lifted his head to give Legolas a warning glare. "You take care of the Lass," he ordered gruffly. "Or my axe will be the least of your problems."
Legolas' smile simply widened and he nodded in agreement as Kail laughed. "I assure you, Master Dwarf, you have nothing to worry about," he retorted with a nod. Gimli huffed then turned to Kail, his frown melting to a smile.
"Congratulations, Lass. If the Princeling puts a toe out of line, you let me know, aye?"
Kail laughed again and stooped to her knees and embraced him in a hug. He seemed just as surprised as Gandalf had been, but didn't hesitate to hug her back. Just as she had done with their other friends, she placed a kiss on his scruffy cheek before pulling away completely. Her smile widened when she saw the tint of red invading his cheeks behind his red beard.
"Thank you, Gimli. I will keep that in mind," she grinned with a wink. Still as red as a tomato, Gimli nodded quickly and coughed as he straightened himself while Kail stood once more. It was adorable really; big, strong Gimli blushing like a teenager.
"Right then," he grunted finally. "Goodnight, Lass."
"Good night, Gimli," she chuckled.
Then their other two companions, who had been standing not far behind the Dwarf, bid them good night as well and soon Legolas and Kail were left in the silence once more. Gently, Legolas took her hand again and smiled when their eyes met. Without a word, he gestured his head to the side while tugging on her hand; a sign for them to move away from the camp and into the darkness. She agreed wordlessly by following his lead when he stepped away from the fire and the company that lay near it.
They silently patrolled the darkness surrounding the camp hand in hand for nearly two hours. Neither said a word –neither had to –their pace leisurely even as their keen eyes scanned the darkness, which was more like looking into shadows for them. They were far enough away from the camp that the snoring was still heard and the dwindling fire was but a warm glow in the center that illuminated the several bed rolls around it.
By the time they had made several rounds it was well into the night and all was calm and serene. Kail felt a contentedness she hadn't felt since Lothlórien. The war was hardly over and there were still many battles to be fought and enemies to be slain, but for now everything felt perfect. There wasn't a cloud in the sky if she looked anywhere but east so the stars and moon above glowed almost as brightly as the sun in her eyes. She was surrounded by the calm of nature and had the man she loved at her side so in her mind everything was indeed perfect.
The silence, as it tended to, eventually ended and Legolas, who had been just as silent, decided to speak.
"Kail," he beseeched gently. The dark haired Elf responded with a soft hum. "You promised me an explanation for this morning."
Kail blinked, brought out of the trance she had unknowingly put herself in, his words causing her to balk. "Oh…" she said after a moment. "Right."
But she didn't continue and Legolas waited patiently for a few beats before tugging her hand as he stopped. She stopped as well and turned to face him when he pulled gently at her hand again. He didn't even have to say anything; she could read in his eyes all that he could say out loud.
Sighing, her shoulders slumped. "Really, Legolas, it's nothing," she attempted to dissuade him with a small smile and laugh. She internally flinched at her lack of persuasiveness even before she read the disbelief in his stare.
"Anything that causes you pain is not nothing," he assured her, his free hand lifting to brush a strand of hair away from her face before he gently cupped her cheek. "Tell me what ails you, meleth nin."
Sighing again, Kail finally gave in. "Earlier I…" she paused, not sure how to explain what had happened. "When we were passing through the city and seeing all the dead I…" Her gaze left his and she took a deep breath, the thoughts from earlier returning with full force. "… I could see all the women mourning their loved ones and I thought…" Another pause. "I thought what if that was me? What if I lose you?" She looked back up at him, locking her eyes with his as he stared at her. "What if you were to die in battle and I had no power to save you? What if I had to live the rest of my immortal life here without you? What if –"
Her grip on his hand had steadily increased as she spoke and building tears burned her eyes as he voice became rough and choked. Legolas, bless his heart, did not wince or twist his features in disgust. In fact, he didn't say a word as he embraced her with a gentle hush and petted her hair as her head tucked under his chin. Tears leaked slowly from her eyes and down her cheeks as she clung to his tunic.
She sniffled once or twice before continuing. "And then it just happened," she choked out. "If felt this pain in my chest like my heart was being torn to shreds inside my ribcage. It was the worst pain I had ever felt and I have no idea what it was."
Legolas' gentle ministrations continued without pause. "You experienced what you may feel were your heart to ever break," he explained gently. "An Elf is immortal, but their light can be extinguished either in battle or from a broken heart. Your emotions were so effected by the thought of my death that you experienced a part of what it would feel like to have your heart broken."
By now, Kail's tears had slowed to a halt and she was no longer clutching at him for dear life. Now it was replaced by some confusion as she pulled away enough to look up at him. "So, what you're saying is that my life is now dependent on yours?"
The Elf Prince nodded. "And mine on yours. If one of us is to perish then the other would follow soon after."
Kail blinked, floored by this new discovery. "That's… That's kind of shitty, actually," she finally commented and Legolas chuckled.
"It is the price an Elf must pay for love. It is why an Elf can love only one other in their lifetime," he explained.
"It's still shitty," she frowned. "What if they have kids? They're just going to have to grow up without any parents?"
"In some cases, yes," Legolas nodded. "But usually, the love for a child is just as strong as the love for a spouse. The Elf may live, but they will forever feel an ache in their heart for the one they have lost."
"Oh…" Kail deadpanned. It made sense, but her scientific mind struggled to fully accept it even after all the things she had seen over the past few months. But she didn't question it, as she tended to with most things nowadays.
Legolas chuckled then and leaned in to plant a kiss on her lips and lingered for a few moments, both just drinking in the moment. When they parted, they smiled at each other.
Then Kail suddenly got an idea and in her excitement, she jerked away from a thoroughly confused Legolas to dig through her pockets and pouches on her belt. Legolas watched on in confusion as her fingers fumbled clumsily.
"Aha! There you are you little bugger," she finally exclaimed in triumph while producing something from one of the pouches. Legolas watched with a questioning gaze as she held a small something between them. That small something, once he realized what it was, caused him to grin brightly and look back at her with the same excitement that showed on her own face.
Between them was the gift that Lady Galadriel had bestowed upon her when departing from Lothlórien, the small vial shimmering a gentle blue in the darkness, the same blue that the moon bore. The moon lilies wrapping around the vial still perfectly intact and petals closed, waiting to bloom.
"I want to share it with you," she said, still smiling. "Galadriel told me that when two lovers take hold of the stems they will bloom and stay in bloom until the bond between them is broken."
"I would be honored, meleth nin," Legolas replied in a whisper, but his grin never faltered. If it were at all possible, Kail's own smile grew and a blush dusted over her cheeks. They held each other's gaze for another long moment before they simultaneously reached out and gently grasped the stems that lie in wait.
As soon as their fingers made contact the stems began to unwind themselves from around the vial. Once free, Kail lowered the vial while both of them watched in awe as the flowers they held aloft in the space between them began to glow that silvery blue. The petals seemed to gain a life of their own and began to part and bloom, the glow becoming brighter for a moment before dimming. In the night, the flowers maintained a healthy blue glow that reflected off of their hands and faces and created a shine in their eyes that twinkled like stars.
And then the urge to kiss him was unbearable. It started in her chest as a yearning for his touch and then it turned into a need. She needed him. She needed his lips on hers.
In the next moment he was ravishing her in a bruising kiss and she welcomed it without hesitation. They skipped the chaste kisses that they usually started with and went right into a hungry dance of lips and tongue. As soon as their lips touched heat enveloped the hands that held the moon lilies simultaneously as their lips burned a passionate fire. The searing warmth spread from their lips and downwards while the heat from their hands blazed a trail up their arms. Eventually they collided in the center of their chests, hearts pounding wildly and sending a rush of heat and tingles throughout their bodies.
All the while, their lips never parted as they mashed, nibbled and moaned into one another. Kail had never felt something so raw and pure in her entire life and it was intoxicating. Never before had she felt so completely whole as she did now, wrapped in her lover's arms and kissing him as if it were the first and last kiss they'd ever share.
Time passed slowly yet when they parted it seemed too soon. Kail wanted nothing more than to ravish him, tear the clothing from his body and scream to the stars how much she loved him, but she refrained and instead opened her eyes to look at him. He was much in the same state as she; cheeks flushed, lips plump from their kiss and eyes as hungry as she was sure her own looked. The heat that had consumed them slowly reseeded to a comfortable warmth and she smiled at him shyly.
Legolas chuckled and leaned forward to plant another lingering kiss on her lips before tilting his head to rest their foreheads together. "I love you, meleth nin."
"And I love you, mi amor."