Aragorn lay still as he keened his ears to the silence of the night outside the tent walls in which he was confined. The soft pitter patter of woodland creatures hardly passed his concentration on the being outside, the being still and tall, strong where he stood, silent and ears keened just as greatly as those of Aragorn.

Sitting up, Aragorn pushed the thick wool blanket off of his body and stood, stretching his arms above his head before pulling on his cloak and boots and sheathing his sword, stepping out of the tent flaps carefully and standing behind the man outside of his tent. Pale blond hair all but glittered in the moonlight shining down on them, equally pale skin just the same as delicate fingers wrapped around the handle of the bow in their grasp, another holding an arrow tightly, drawn and ready to aim when the need arose.

Aragorn smiled to himself as he stepped closer to the man, and the man neither flinched nor seemed to have blinked as Aragorn wrapped his arms around a delicate waist. The blond simply loosened his grip on the bow and arrow he held, turning his face into Aragorn's hair, breathing deep and strong the scent of his companion.

"Dawn draws near," the blond uttered softly, nuzzling his nose into Aragorn's ear.

"And still you worry yourself unnecessarily. You require rest."

"Eyes should be kept open at all times."

Aragorn smiled, turning his face to lay a kiss upon the blond's cheek. "Then let those eyes be mine."

The blond assumed a stoic expression and Aragorn's eyes fell to the lips on the man in front of him, straight and hard.

"You are certain?" the blond inquired, and Aragorn nodded sorrowfully.

"I need rest no longer. Go, I will accompany you again at dawn."

The blond nodded and pulled out of Aragorn's grasp, placing his arrow back in the quiver upon his back, turning and entering the tent. Aragorn listened to the rustling of fabric, the clatter of arrows and a bow touching the ground below.

Aragorn sighed and turned his eyes to the heavens, grasping the hilt of his sword upon his hip. The moon above him shown bright against the darkness of the sky, speckled by the many stars that could hold not a candle to the brilliance of the moon it accompanied. The silence behind Aragorn eased the tension in his muscles and he turned his eyes to the forest around him, letting them wander through the darkness, seeking.

A kiss upon his cheek surprised him, and he turned quickly, but only saw the flicking of the tent fabric and a glint of pale blonde hair, and he smiled at the stealth of his companion, turning his eyes back to the forest in front of him, his mind otherwise occupied.

--------

Rest had not found Legolas in the dark hours nor in those of dawn and he lay in the tent, staring at the deep green fabric above him, his mind elsewhere, everywhere but where he lie. His mind was home, where the air was pure and the water crystal clear, where a smile was on every perfect face framed by long, curling locks of hair adorned with white gold bands resting magnificently upon foreheads of clear, gleaming skin. And then, his mind was on Aragorn, the dark flowing hair that rested upon his shoulders, the coarse hair that adorned his face, dirty and aged with war and worry.

And yet, Legolas' heart lurched in his chest at the thought of such a man, such an imperfection to the world, such a mortal. To Legolas, it seemed, there was nothing else. Just home, and Aragorn.

The morning song of birds carried on outside the tent in which Legolas lay, and he sighed as he sat up, stretching his delicate arms out and running his fingers through his pale blond hair. His body ached from the hard ground upon which he lay, and his head numb with unease.

Dressing and drawing his quiver and bow upon his back, Legolas pushed himself through the flaps of the tent, walking silently up to Aragorn, who's hand still rested upon the hilt of the sword mounted upon his hip, knuckles white. Wordlessly, Legolas stepped beside Aragorn and allowed for his eyes to grow accustomed to the brightness of the sun, gazing around them at the surrounding lush forest, to the river by which they camped, and to the face of the man standing next to him, pale blue eyes staring back.

Legolas smiled.

"You did not wake me," he stated simply, cocking his brow and shaking his head at his companion, who returned his smile.

"You looked peaceful. I did not wish to disturb your slumber."

"Somehow, I believe I would have survived."

Aragorn's eyes softened and Legolas watched as they looked over his face, into his eyes, and down to his lips. The brunette removed his hand from the hilt of his sword and wrapped pleasantly dirty fingers over the bone of Legolas' jaw, a coarse thumb running over the skin passionately. Aragorn stepped nearer, until their noses just touched, and Legolas lifted his hands to Aragorn's waist, grasping lightly before a pair of lips connected with his own, drawing in Legolas' taste, and Legolas could feel a pull, a desperate want for such a connection in Aragorn's lips.

He did not want to break the kiss, and did so reluctantly when Aragorn finally pulled away, pressing their foreheads together. Legolas' eyes fluttered open, and he gazed longingly into those of Aragorn, shadowed beneath dark eyebrows. Legolas sighed.

"I will miss you," whispered Aragorn softly, and Legolas could feel tears forming behind his eyes. He placed his hand upon Aragorn's cheek and caressed the skin softly, forcing a smile.

"Do not. For you will see me once again very soon."

"Soon shall not come soon enough when I am not near you."

"Perhaps it is better to have that time," Legolas spoke quietly, "to mend a sore heart."

"And perhaps this heart would not be sore if you were to stay," Aragorn offered, smiling at the blond.

Legolas' expression became stoic and his eyes averted to the ground beneath them, and he felt Aragorn sigh.

"Why do you insist upon doing this?"

"You know I must," Legolas answered gently.

"I do not mean your journey home." Aragorn retorted, and his fingers slipped beneath Legolas' chin, pulling his face up so their eyes met. "I mean turning your eyes when I show you my compassion."

Legolas shook his head softly, frowning. "It is complicated."

"Indeed."

Legolas sighed and looked at Aragorn with hard eyes, tears threatening to spill over. "Won't you journey next to me?"

At this, Aragorn's face fell further into sadness and his eyes became distant, glazed over. Legolas groped for the silent answer in his companion's eyes with no luck and he shook his head, biting his lip.

"That is what this is about, Legolas?" Aragorn inquired with a whisper, and Legolas nodded gently. He knew it was wrong to even question Aragorn's accompanying him on his journey back home, but he wished so strongly for Aragorn to push the rules aside and willingly sacrifice his freedom for Legolas; Legolas hoped that Aragorn loved him enough to do so.

But in Aragorn's eyes, Legolas saw a growing wariness and thick brown eyebrows knitted together above orbs of blue and Legolas could feel his heart drop in his chest. And even as the doubt swamped his heart of any hope that may have existed for him to wrap his fingers around, he smiled through it warily and blinked back the tears that started to fall.

"Just one last time, for the sake of old memories," he pleaded, wrapping delicate fingers around Aragorn's neck and gazing deep within the crystal eyes of the man he loved. "For me."

Aragorn sighed and connected his lips to those of Legolas in a fury of emotions that swarmed within his blood, propelling his actions to hasten, to attack in the only way he knew how when it came to something as delicate as the man in front of him, engulfed in his arms – with love. For that was all Aragorn felt for the elf, that was what drove his being, what caused the very heart in his chest to beat and allow his blood to flow, thus allowing his existence. And for that, he was grateful, and owed anything and everything he could give – including a journey home, even if it was a home that he didn't belong to.

Releasing his lips from Legolas', Aragorn gazed into the stunningly beautiful eyes of the man in front of him, watching as the chest of the elf rose and fell with the short, choppy breaths of exasperation. Aragorn smiled.

"For you, I would do anything, my Prince."