Through the Dark
by SkyFire

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, wish I did... though me LotRMuses already wish that I had even less
access than I do... I wonder why... *g*

A/N: 1)It's 1:15 in the morning. This is the best title I could come up with. It doesn't fit
what the story *will* be like at all, so it's subject to change. *g*
2)This is mainly in the bookverse, which is why the movie-only folks out there might not agree
with some of the descriptions of Moria. This is one of the things that the movie chopped a *lot.*
3)Thoughts, as always, are in / /.

Please review! *g*

Through the Dark
by SkyFire

Well, that settled *that* question.

The echoes of the West-gate being blocked from without by the Watcher in the Water answered it
more clearly than anyone's words could have, and with a numbing finality. There was no longer
even the option of going back. There was only forward.

Forward, into the darkness that weighed him down even then.

The last echoes faded at last, but once they had, he wished they hadn't. The endless stifling
silence was broken only by the Fellowship's harsh though quickly-calming breathing.

Smothering under the weight of the darkness and the knowledge of the great mountain that sat
above them, deafened by the unnatural quiet of the place, Legolas did not hear the others' short
conversation as to the inability to go back and the choosing of Gandalf to lead them through the
dark dwarven halls to the other side and out.

The Elf started with surprise at a small nudge from Aragorn, managed to shove down the
claustrophobic fear that rose in him enough to move legs like lead weights and follow the others
up a broad stairway.

Two hundred steps passed beneath his leaden feet. Two hundred steps that led them upward until
they came at last to a level passage that would take them even further into the mountain. Two
hundred steps in which the fear inside him could do nothing but grow, no matter how hard he
struggled with it.

The Fellowship stopped at the landing at the top of the stairs. There they ate, though Legolas
had not much appetite and ate barely enough to feed even the smallest of birds. The sip of
Elrond's wondrous *miruvor* helped lighten his spirits a little, enough to allow him to smile
reassuringly in the face of Aragorn's concerned look, and to shrug off his earlier hesetation as
nothing. His facade nearly cracked, however, upon hearing Gandalf estimate that it would take
them perhaps three or four days to reach the way out.

How could he survive four days of this oppressive, stifling darkness? How could he bear it? To
see not the sun or the moon or the stars, nor hear the wind plau through the trees, or the song
of birds? He felt the stone all around him, solid as a tomb. He breathed still air that tasted
of death and despair.

Then Aragorn was there, nudging him once again.

He looked up and saw that the others had already begun to continue on their way, following
Gandalf and his glowing staff.

The pale glow made the already deep shadows seem endlessly deeper, and Legolas was of no mind to
be left alone in the dark. Quickly, he rose and followed the others.

Aragorn came last, ever-watchful for dangers, continually casting concerned glances at the Elf.
Despite Legolas' reassurances that all was well, he could tell that *something* was amiss,
troubling the Elf.

For hours upon hours Gandalf led them through the maze of roads and passages that wound through
the mountain, until they came to a wide arch opening into three passages. Here they stopped, for
Gandalf could not remember the correct path.

Weary and also hoping that rest might help restore the old wizard's memory, they decided to pass
what remained of the night in a guardroom beside the archway.

Pippin got the first watch as punishment for dropping a piece of stone down a well that stood
open in the floor of the room, and awakening ominous noises from the levels below.

Legolas lay awake in his blankets, unable to find peace enough to sleep. As ever, the darkness
weighed heavily on him. Despite his companions' nearness, he felt so utterly alone, cut off from
everything living. He breathed in the faint stench of old death with every breath, heard the
cold stone shout deafeningly, echoing years-gone death-cries into the endless silence.

Then he looked over to see both Aragorn and Gandalf lying awake as well. After a short while, an
eternity in stone, the wizard got up and went to take up the watch, sending Pippin to his rest
with the others.

That left Aragorn.

Aragorn, who chose that moment to turn his eyes to Legolas, saw the naked fear and despair the
Elf felt revealed in unguarded freen eyes. Elven eyes blinked, shocked at having been caught
watching, then the veil fell once more over them, keeping the emotions behind them carefully

But it was too late for that, and Legolas knew it.

In a way, he was embarrassed at having been seen being something other than the strong, capable
Elven warrior that he was. But another part of him, a larger part of him, was relieved. He knew
that Aragorn would not reveal what he had seen, knew he could perhaps lean on the Dunadan for the
aid he needed to take his troubled mind off the spirit-numbing darkness that closed in all around

A hand fell to his shoulder, startling him once again. He looked up to see Aragorn there,
crouched beside him, concern on his face.

/Not a bad face,/ Legolas found himself thinking as he stared wordlessly up at the other. /Not a
bad-looking face at all. The rest of him is equally good-looking. Perhaps he *can* help me
drive away this inner darkness..../

"Legolas?" came the hushed query. The strong hand tightened briefly on the Elf's shoulder.

"Aragorn," Legolas said simply, need obvious in both voice and face. He reached up, one hand
sliding over one of the Ranger's shoulders, the other rising to the face, stubble scratching his
palm. "Please?" he asked as he pulled Aragorn down to lie on him. He feathered kisses over the
strong face. "Aragorn, please. Will you...?"

"Yes," came the reply.

Then lips met lips for the first time and their heated passions drove away the darkness within
until they both succumbed to sleep in each other's arms, sleeping an exhausted, dreamless sleep.


So, what did you think? Click the button and let me know! *g* I *do* have a bit of a surprise
planned for this fic... I'll have to get the Fellowship through Moria and out to Lothlorien
before you'll find out what it is, though! *g* My plotbunnies want to eat at least 10 reviews
before they let me post the next part... Why not oblige? *g*