Gathering Flame Title: Gathering Flame

Author: Amy Fortuna (peacefulpassion@aldar.net)

Fandom: Lord of the Rings

Pairing: Aragorn/Halbarad

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Aragorn's musings on Halbarad.

Feedback: Of course! All kinds welcome!

Notes: I'll just say that this was not what I was expecting to write, but
here we have the tale of Aragorn and Halbarad, and a first time. :-)

I would like to have it known that I am being a complete and utter tease
with this story...but...I like it that way!

Written for Pythoness, whose Legolas/Gimli story is in the process of blowing
us away! ;-)

****

My desire for you is like the small fires that we build in the evenings.
It begins with a single spark, wood catching as though eager to burn. And
then it grows, like red flame licking up small pieces of bark. Sparks begin
to fly, and soon the fire is roaring, unable to be denied.

And I look over at you, eyes smoky in the dimness, and smile. Tonight. I will wait
no longer to sound you out, to know your mind. Often I have seen you glance
at me, something wondrous flying dim through your eyes. And too often you
looked away when I caught you, veiling your eyes behind dark lashes.

No more, my Halbarad. I will know if what you propose to me inside your eyes
is indeed your desire, or a mere idle thought to wear away the hours on
this journey.

****

Evening. I call a halt.

"Make the fire, Halbarad," I say, my voice low. "I will tend to the horses."

When I return, you are busy about the fire. Small sticks are burning steadily
now. You place a larger log on, and turn to greet me.

"Is all well?" you ask.

"Yes," I say. We keep our voices low in the wilderness, for sounds carry
over many miles. "There is a stream just down the hill."

"We need fear no intrusion tonight, then," you say, almost a question, but not quite.

I shake my head. "We need not."

Stars are shining bright in the sky before we hear the first wolf howl.
Distant and faint, it is merely a lonely sound in the dim night. The corners
of your lips turn up as I watch you across the fire.

"Many nights I listened for that sound in dread," you say. "It is a wonder
that I do not need to any longer, that you are here with me and I am not
alone."

I glance at you sharply, sudden thought borne on the wind. "Loneliness makes
the howl of a wolf, whether beast of evil, or mere fellow creature, a thing
of terror, I know that well," I say.

You nod your head, silently. The wolf howls again, faintly, and then is answered, still more faintly.

"They are not alone either now," you say.

"Come, let's to sleep," I say suddenly, standing. You also rise, stalking toward me.

"Sleep - is that what is on your mind?" you ask. "I had something different
planned."

And then your hands are gripping my upper arms fiercely, and your mouth
is on mine in a bruising kiss. I am instantly, utterly, aroused.

"Still tired?" you mutter against my lips, and I shake my head no.

Somehow we stumble away from the fire, lips locked together. You'd apparently
laid our cloaks down somewhere earlier in the evening, and you drag me there.

We fall together, gracelessly, but it doesn't matter now, and somehow you
end up above me, staring down at me with eyes wide.

"By the Valar, Aragorn,
so beautiful," you say, breathing hard, and I would swear the words go straight
to my soul.

"I am betrothed, Halbarad," I say.

"Arwen is not here," you retort, and then continue, softer, "and I love you as well."

How can I resist that? I lean up to kiss you, and the world becomes a clear
bright place. Distance is not a measure of devotion, but you are here tonight.

A few paces away, the fire dies down as the stars shine brighter. And your
kisses are like gathering flame in the dusk.

Starlit Halbarad, help me to be worthy of you.

****

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