Here's hoping everyone had a Merry Christmas. I'm still trying to fix the next chapters of Second Chances. Hopefully, in the meantime, this lighter story will suffice.
Title: To Charm an Elf
Warnings: first love, first time, AU, fluff
Disclaimer: LOTR belongs to Tolkien's heirs; no harm is intended by using his characters and settings in this fic.
Beta: Ireth and Getty; thanks, ladies!
Summary: Aragorn tries to win Legolas' affection, but help from the Twins and a series of blunders nearly have the opposite effect.
Author's Notes: This was written for Zee 113 for the 2009 Legolas/Aragorn Slash Ficathon.
Request: Young love where either or both of them is inexperienced and fumbling. Fumbling sex is good, too. Add some obstacles please (like a misunderstanding or the twins plotting), so that it wouldn't be too painful to see them embarrass themselves.
- scenarios/genres I absolutely do NOT want: No Arwen. Please. No evil Aragorn or Legolas, either. No extreme kink, rape or character death. No bugs, thank you. :) Oh, and I prefer Aragorn topping but the Elf can have some fun, too, of course.
Optional Prompt Words: sail, symbelmine, shallow, stairs, sword
Aragorn walked quickly through the corridors, glancing now and then at the faces of those moving past him. The one he hoped to see, the one who had occupied his thoughts all day, was nowhere to be found. Aragorn bowed his head as disappointment washed over him. The tournament started tomorrow and perhaps the Mirkwood prince had decided not to attend the festivities this evening. Aragorn turned and began to head back in the direction of his private chambers, only to collide immediately with the one he had been seeking.
Aragorn's breath caught in his throat and heat rose up his neck and into his face. That very Elf now held him steady by his forearms, an expression of concern marring his fair features. Warm blue eyes stared into his own before moving quickly away. The feeling of being struck by lightning seared through Aragorn as fiercely as it had when they had been introduced earlier. It was the first time that had ever happened to him, and it left him as flustered now as it had then. Aragorn's high-collared formal tunic seemed suddenly tighter than usual.
"Forgive me," Aragorn stammered, "I was not paying attention."
" 'Tis quite all right. I was distracted myself. I am trying to find the Hall of Fire. I asked a servant, but. . . ."
Aragorn's face lit with eagerness. "I am going that way myself, Your Highness. I would be happy to show you."
"Please, call me Legolas," he replied.
"Yes," came the soft reply. "And I am Aragorn."
Legolas' own voice was just as quiet. "Yes, I recall."
He was not likely to forget actually. The young human had intrigued him from the moment he had been introduced earlier that day and Legolas had first laid eyes on him. He was familiar with men, but the young man standing before him possessed physical charms he had not seen in others of that race. That combined with his scent and the sparkle of life in his eyes had Legolas' heart hammering and his stomach fluttering as it did before an encounter with spiders. It was a thrilling feeling, though quite disconcerting, to be sure. He was not certain what to make of it.
After a moment they began to walk. They were silent again at first as they moved slowly through the corridor, hands clasped behind their backs, eyeing each other with quick glances now and then.
"Will you be taking part in the tournament?" Legolas asked after a moment.
"Yes," Aragorn answered, happy that Legolas had brought up a topic that he could respond to without embarrassing himself.
"And what is your weapon?"
"The sword, though I am not as skilled as my brothers, of course."
"I am sure you are better than you think you are," Legolas offered. "I myself look upon this as an opportunity to learn even should I not acquit myself well in the archery competition."
Aragorn chanced another look out of the corner of his eye at the Elf walking beside him. Like all of the Firstborn Legolas moved gracefully, and Aragorn could picture him effortlessly stringing a bow and finding all of his targets.
"I look forward to watching you," Aragorn blurted.
"Thank you," Legolas turned his head to smile at him. "I look forward to your competition as well."
Aragorn's face heated again, this time with pleasure. "Well, we are here," he said quietly, wishing that they had not reached their destination so soon.
Legolas' gaze drifted into the chamber filled with Elves before he turned his attention to Aragorn. "So we are."
"I should join my family," Aragorn voiced reluctantly.
"And I should find my people," Legolas replied. He bowed slightly. "Thank you for your kindness in showing me here."
"It was my pleasure," Aragorn murmured.
They went their separate ways, Aragorn moving to stand on one side of the hall near his mother and Lord Elrond, Legolas to the other to join the Mirkwood Elves. Aragorn, still reeling from actually having a chance to be alone with Legolas, spoke quietly to his family, before falling silent and stealing a glance across the way. Legolas was deep in conversation with one of his men, and Aragorn studied him eagerly.
His hair, down this evening, hung past his shoulders, and Aragorn wondered if it felt as silky as it looked. He seemed quite somber of mien, but Aragorn could detect the whisper of a smile about his lips every now and then as he spoke. And though he was slim, Aragorn knew that his body was firmly-honed. At least it had felt so when Aragorn had crashed into him. He was perfect. Comely beyond words.
And Aragorn was smitten.
He had no idea that across the way, Legolas was thinking and feeling the very same things.
The tournament began the following morning. Archery was first, which meant that Aragorn could watch Legolas with no one being the wiser regarding his feelings. Clad once again in the browns and greens he had been wearing upon his arrival, he stood out from the other archers. Of course he would stand out if he wore nothing at all, Aragorn decided, and then blushed even more profusely than he had so far managed to do, while other parts of his body reacted in a most unbecoming and inconvenient way.
"Are you well, Aragorn?" his mother asked in concern when Aragorn had fidgeted for several moments in silence.
"Yes, Mother," Aragorn replied. "I am well."
"He is no doubt excited about the tournament beginning," Lord Elrond helpfully offered, though he too, was eyeing Aragorn thoughtfully.
"Yes, that is it," Aragorn agreed eagerly.
Twenty archers lined up and took aim. Twenty arrows hit twenty targets. They fired again and again, until at last all their arrows were spent and their targets judged. Out of the first set only Haldir, Gildor, and Legolas remained. After another round of firing Gildor was eliminated, and then at last the final shots between Legolas and Haldir were being marked and counted. Aragorn held his breath as the judges eyed the targets. The contest was declared a draw.
Aragorn clapped enthusiastically, his heart bursting with pride, although he was certain that Legolas' arrows were all a little closer to the mark than Haldir's. Not that he could see them, of course. But how could one so capable looking do otherwise?
"You seem out of sorts, Aragorn," Gilraen asked her son later that evening. "Are you still coming to terms with your true identity?"
They were walking toward the banquet hall. Aragorn slowed his steps, and then halted altogether. Glancing about, he pulled his mother aside into an alcove.
Aragorn shook his head. "No, I understand why it was done."
"What is it, then?"
"It is only that, well . . . how does it feel when you're in love?"
"Ah," she exclaimed softly. That explained the blushing and the distracted manner her son had been displaying all day. "Well, it is difficult to describe, actually. How do you feel?"
"As if butterflies have taken up residence in my stomach and Dwarves are mining in my heart."
Gilraen nodded and smiled knowingly. "I've not heard it stated quite like that before, but I suppose that is as good a way to put it as any."
"I want to court him but I have no idea how, or even if he would welcome it."
"Legolas of Mirkwood."
"Ah. He is most charming," Gilraen nodded. "But are you certain you wish to pursue him?"
Aragorn glanced at her sharply. "What is wrong with him?"
"Nothing that I can see. Only, he is another male, Aragorn, and such relations can be difficult, for not all understand or accept them."
"Would you deny me the chance to pursue him, to win his love if I can?"
Gilraen hesitated before replying. The world was dark and happiness was so fleeting; she herself had known so little of it. If loving Legolas made Aragorn happy, she could not withhold her blessing, for who knew how long any of them had. "No, I would not. If that is where your heart lies, then you must follow it."
"Thank you, Mother." Aragorn bent to kiss her cheek.
"Hmm, now then, perhaps you had better ask Elladan and Elrohir for advice on how to woo someone, for I have no experience, and I'm certain they have some idea how to go about such things," Gilraen smiled reassuringly and tugged Aragorn back toward the dining hall. "But come now, you cannot court on an empty stomach."
"You want to court Legolas?"
The twins had stopped laughing only long enough for Elrohir to ask that. Aragorn glared at them, wishing that he had not taken his mother's advice. Erestor would be a better person to ask, of that he was certain.
"Never mind," he huffed and turned to storm out.
"Wait, Aragorn," Elladan called, "it is only that we always think of you as being so young that–."
"Obviously not too young to ride in errantry with you," Aragorn retorted.
"We did not mean to laugh, truly. We will help you all we can," Elrohir offered contritely.
"What do I do?"
Elladan thought for a moment. "Well, he is an Elf, so poems and songs are in order."
"Gifts too. Something simple. A brooch for his cloak or some such," Elrohir added.
"A poem?" Aragorn asked, somewhat alarmed. There was more to courting than he had anticipated. "I know some wonderful poems of battles."
"Perhaps you should write him a note then," Elrohir decided.
"Wouldn't want him to think you just want to talk about weaponry," Elladan chortled.
"Well, spears and swords, perhaps," Elrohir winked. "Those might come up in the discussion."
Aragorn blushed again and prayed that the floor would open beneath his feet.
Elladan laughed again but grabbed his youngest brother by an arm and dragged him over to his desk. "Sit. We'll give you ideas. You write. Then we'll send your note to the charming prince and you'll win his heart."
"Nothing to worry about," Elrohir smiled, and began drawing upon his vast experience to give Aragorn lines guaranteed to never fail.
The following morning Legolas made his way to the lists deep in thought. He wondered if he would have a chance to be alone with Aragorn so that they might talk and get to know one another better. He was just passing by a group from Lothlorien when he overheard his opponent from the day before speaking. Thinking to congratulate him once again on a fine match, Legolas retraced his steps.
"I received a strange note this morning," Haldir was saying to one of his brothers.
"What was so strange about it?" Rumil wondered.
"It was a love note."
Legolas smiled. Love must be in the air.
"Well?" Rumil prodded. "Who sent it?"
"That's what is so strange," Haldir replied. "When I asked the servant, he said that it was sent by the lord Aragorn."
Legolas's smile froze, and then slid away altogether. He felt suddenly as if someone had grabbed his heart and begun to squeeze. He turned away and headed toward the lists, his mind awhirl with questions. He had thought . . . hoped. . . .
Aragorn's voice stopped him, and Legolas reluctantly turned to face him.
"Good . . . good morrow," Aragorn stammered, the fierce expression on Legolas' face giving him pause. "Are you well?"
"I am quite well, thank you," Legolas murmured politely.
"Are you . . . ? Did you . . . ?" Aragorn could not finish his questions. He had no idea what to make of Legolas' behavior. Surely the note had not angered him? Aragorn swallowed his disappointment and said instead, "I am competing this morning with the sword."
"Yes, I know," Legolas replied. "I wish you luck."
He spun around and walked away to join the others of his party, leaving Aragorn to wonder what it was he had done that had so offended Legolas, and wishing that whatever it was he could fix. There was no time for that however, as he was called to prepare for his duel.
He was paired off against an Elf who had just come of age as well, named Elhadron. They had trained together with Glorfindel as their instructor, so there would be few surprises. Each had patrolled as well, so they were nearly matched in experience, although Aragorn had been further afield with the twins.
The signal was given and the clash of steel rang through the air as the combatants tested each other's new strengths. Aragorn tried to recall everything he had been taught throughout the years of his training: keep your footing, don't over reach, and never, ever, take your eyes off your opponent. All of this was easier to remember than do, especially at the moment, when Aragorn knew he was being watched by a crowd, and that crowd included Legolas. A glance out of the corner of his eye showed the prince watching him earnestly. At least Aragorn dared to hope he was.
The next moment he was knocked to his back and only just had time to deflect the "killing" blow to his arm, where Elhadron's sword cut into his skin. Aragorn rolled to the side and countered with a sweep of his own weapon, sending Elhadron's flying into the dirt some distance to his left. At a shout from Glorfindel the match ended, Aragorn and Elhadron bowing to each other.
Aragorn was sent to the Healing Wing for stitches. He did not mind; he had gained a victory and, he hoped, respect from Legolas as well. Thoughts must have conjured him, for the Elf in question peered somewhat sheepishly around the screen to where the healer was sewing him up.
He smiled tentatively. "Might I have a word?"
"Hold still," the healer muttered when Aragorn raised his arm to beckon Legolas inside.
"Sorry," Aragorn whispered.
"There, done." The healer packed some herbs over the wound before wrapping a clean piece of linen around his handiwork. "I'll leave you alone then."
"Are you all right?" Legolas asked quietly.
Aragorn pulled his tunic back over his head. "I'm fine."
"When you . . ." Legolas shook his head and began again. "I wanted to apologize for earlier. I had just heard something rather distressing when you came upon me."
"I understand," Aragorn replied. He did not, of course.
"That was a fine match . . . I . . . congratulations on your victory." Legolas turned to leave.
"Legolas, wait," Aragorn begged quickly. He jumped from the table and moved toward him. "Would you join me in the stands to watch the rest of the morning's events? Perhaps we could go for a ride afterwards? I could show you about, a little, before dinner?"
"I would be glad to," Legolas smiled, his heart leaping with joy at the invitation.
There were no events scheduled for the afternoons so that the warriors of the various realms could socialize if they liked, or practice if they preferred. Aragorn had taken advantage of that by showing Legolas the falls and the spectacular view of the valley the height afforded. At the moment he was unabashedly admiring Legolas, who stood atop a rock, his head tilted back and his arms raised toward the sky.
" 'Tis so beautiful here," Legolas breathed, lowering his arms at last. "There is so little sun in my home."
It was on the tip of Aragorn's tongue to tell Legolas what he thought was beautiful. Or rather whom. But when Legolas turned to face him, Aragorn caught the thread of the last part of his comment and when he spoke it was to ask, "Is it true, about the spiders?"
"Yes, unfortunately. Ungoliant's children breed faster than we can kill them. Big ones too, larger than you and me and vicious as well."
"Have you ever been bitten?" Aragorn asked.
"Yes. Would you like to see?"
At Aragorn's nod, Legolas stripped off his tunic and turned, somewhat shyly. There on his right pectoral, close to his shoulder, was a pair of silver fang marks.
"It looks painful," Aragorn breathed, trying to keep his gaze trained on the scars. It was, of course, a hopeless battle with so much bare, pale, smooth skin on display, and Aragorn noted with appreciation Legolas' lithe musculature.
"It was," Legolas answered, slipping his shirt back on and settling himself on the ground near Aragorn. "Since then I have learned the value of other skills in battle."
"I've learned hand to hand combat," Aragorn replied.
"A fine thing to know," Legolas approved, "for these are dangerous times."
He turned to find Aragorn gazing at him. "But enough of gloom. Tell me what it was like growing up here."
Aragorn did, and then begged Legolas to tell him more of Mirkwood, and the two exchanged stories until the hour grew late, and it was time to return to the house. They walked back to where they had tethered their horses, still deep in conversation. Aragorn moved away to untie his mare, leaving Legolas with his own steed. He fumbled with the reins as the questions he had pushed aside for the past hours now came flooding back. Why had Aragorn asked him up here and not Haldir? For that matter, why had Aragorn sent Haldir a message of love? The two had not spent any time together that Legolas knew of. He shook his head, jealousy ripping through his heart again. Perhaps he should simply ask Aragorn. Intending to do so, he turned swiftly and blinked as his forehead came into contact with bone.
"Ow!" Aragorn backed away, reeling, a hand to his own forehead.
"Aragorn!" Legolas gasped. "Are you all right? Let me see." Legolas reached for Aragorn's hand to move it away from the wounded area. He frowned at the knot forming and ran gentle fingers over it, wishing that he could heal it with his touch. "It will bruise, I'm afraid, but the skin is not broken. I'm sorry."
"My fault," Aragorn mumbled. "I was trying to get a closer look at your braids."
"Oh." Legolas smiled a little and let his gaze sweep down to find Aragorn watching him. Legolas started to speak but found he could not. Nor could he look away as Aragorn tilted his head down and toward him, lips pursed. His eyes widened as understanding shot through him, and he raised his face toward Aragorn, his tongue darting out to moisten his own suddenly dry lips.
Carefully they inched closer, eyes making contact before darting back to one another's mouths. Quick half smiles attempted to hide their nervousness as each tried to figure out the best angle to approach. They were so near now they could feel the rush of each other's breaths, causing them both to tremble with anticipation. There was another awkward moment as they bent their heads first one way then the other, each the same way at the same time, until Aragorn raised a hand and gently caught and held Legolas' chin. He covered the remaining distance with much more confidence than he felt.
Both gasped softly as their lips at last made contact. A thrill shot through Aragorn, and Legolas felt sharp pinpricks of delight all over. They drew apart a little before pressing their mouths together again, this time experimentally easing their lips back and forth against one another's in a tentative caress. Sparks of pleasure flew between them until the need for breath made itself known.
Smiling shyly, they moved slightly away from each other. Aragorn felt slightly dazed. Legolas did not think his legs could support him. But at last, they mounted their horses and headed toward the house.
"Well?" Elrohir pounced for information as soon as Aragorn opened his bedroom door to find the twins standing there.
"I had a pleasant day," Aragorn responded, trying to hide a grin.
"Pleasant?" Elladan smirked, following Elrohir into the room. His eyes settled on Aragorn's bruised forehead. "That must have been a rough ride."
"I did not take Legolas for the violent type," Elrohir added.
It took a moment, but red-faced, Aragorn caught their meaning and lunged after them. Laughing, Elladan and Elrohir danced out of reach as their foster brother gave chase, muttering threats. After a few rounds of the bedchamber Aragorn gave up and the twins settled onto the window seat, watching him.
"Forgive us," Elladan apologized, contrite now. "What happened?"
"Nothing really." Aragorn felt his face flame.
"Must have been some 'nothing,'" Elrohir noted.
Aragorn's blush deepened.
"Did he hit you before or after you kissed?" Elladan wondered.
"Before, but it was an accident." Aragorn answered without thinking. He clamped his lips together when he realized that he'd just confirmed his brother's guess.
"That's progress," Elrohir smiled.
Aragorn smiled himself, remembering, before he released a sigh. "I wish he had mentioned how he felt though. Or what he thought of my letter. Perhaps he doesn't return my feelings."
Elrohir mused, "He could just be discreet about things like this."
"But he will not be here for very long. I want to know if I have a chance with him before he returns home."
"Patience, brother," Elrohir urged.
"That's easy for you to say."
"So try another tactic. If you love him, keep trying until he tells you the same or he tells you to stop," Elrohir encouraged.
Elladan nodded. "He seems to like music. Serenade him tonight, beneath his window."
"But I don't know any love songs."
"Lindir can help you there," Elrohir reminded Aragorn. "And think of how romantic it will be . . . the moonlight, the scent of flowers, and song."
"Oh. Yes. I suppose . . . that will . . . work. . . ." Aragorn agreed, feeling slightly faint. He did like to sing. For himself. When he was certain no one would hear him. Well, he supposed, if he had the proper courage he could do that if it meant gaining Legolas' affections. As far as that went he was willing to do whatever it took. But then another thought, even more daunting, occurred to him. He had no idea how to go about making love to a man.
The twins watched him pale even further. "What is it?"
"Er . . . suppose I . . . suppose we . . . ?"
"Wish to become intimate?" Elladan finished for him. At Aragorn's nod, he continued. "Well you have some idea of the workings of male and female relations . . ."
Nearly an hour later, Aragorn wondered if his face would remain permanently red. Not to mention his ears. His brothers had been most . . . educational, describing in vivid detail things he had never even imagined. If he had felt slightly faint before, he felt completely woozy now. He batted away the wet compress Elladan was holding to his forehead and looked from one to the other, trying to decide if they were having fun at his expense or not, but they seemed quite serious.
"Yes . . . thank you. That was . . . er . . . most . . . illuminating," Aragorn finally stammered. He walked distractedly from the room, leaving the twins to shake their heads after him.
"I worry about him, brother," Elrohir confessed.
"So do I." Elladan turned to his twin, one brow arched upward. After another moment he eyed the door and grinned. "When do you think he'll realize this is his room?"
Later that night, after consulting with Lindir, and then secreting a bottle of wine to his room, Aragorn felt more than ready to try his hand at wooing Legolas with song. He crept out of his chamber and moved somewhat jerkily through the house, pausing only when a hiccup overcame him, hoping no one had heard. A chuckle slipped past his lips at the absurdity of that thought, and he froze again, but everyone seemed to be sleeping. At last Aragorn reached the grounds and made his way about the house to the guest wing. It was dark, but he knew where he was going. After all, he had grown up here.
He halted before his destination, a large window overlooking the garden. Should he get Legolas' attention first? He looked dizzily at the ground, hoping to find a pebble to throw, but there were none to be seen. No rocks in the gardener's gardens, he snickered. Well then, he would just have to sing loudly enough that Legolas might hear.
He set about to do just that.
Inside the room Erestor grimaced as his concentration on the game was abruptly broken. He glanced up from the chessboard. "What is that infernal warbling?"
"Sounds like a cat," Glorfindel replied. He listened more closely. "A sick cat."
"Shoo it away, will you please, I'm trying to decide my next move."
Glorfindel pushed back from the table and moved to the window, sticking his head out. "Shoo! Get out of here!"
Aragorn saw a golden-haired Elf, and thinking he had gained the attention of his beloved, sang even more loudly.
He had no idea that the one whom he meant to woo was, at that moment, walking in the gardens, thinking about all that had happened since his arrival. Legolas strolled through the foliage, not really paying attention to where he was going. He knew that he was in love, though it had happened so quickly. What he did not know and could not even begin to guess at, were Aragorn's feelings. Again he pondered Aragorn's actions that day and still they made no sense. Legolas sighed and shook his head.
"Aragorn?" Glorfindel raised his own voice. "What are you doing?"
Legolas paused and glanced around a shrub. There was Aragorn looking up at a window, singing enthusiastically off key to what looked like Lord Glorfindel. Legolas gulped back the sudden lump in his throat and blindly made his way back the way he had come, more confused than ever.
Aragorn stared morosely at the untouched food on his dinner plate. It had been a positively awful day. It had started with a pounding head and a queasy stomach and gone downhill from there. Erestor had glared at him whenever they had passed in the corridors, making him feel foolish for apparently serenading the Councilor's betrothed. Glorfindel alternated between sympathetic and amused looks for him, making him feel even more foolish. And as if that were not bad enough, Legolas had ignored him completely all day. Aragorn was beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about if love made one so miserable.
He excused himself as soon as it was polite to do so and made his way to his room, but stopped at the sound of his name. Aragorn turned slowly, surprised to see Haldir approaching him.
"Might I have a word?" the Lorien warrior asked.
"Of course" Aragorn replied, wondering what Haldir could wish to speak with him about.
Haldir indicated that they should step out of the corridor, and as they were already at his room, Aragorn ushered him inside. He did not waste time but got straight to the point. "I have been trying to think of a way to tell you . . ."
"Tell me what?" Aragorn asked, still puzzled that Haldir should seek him out for any reason.
Haldir put on his best older brother air. "I wanted you to know that I appreciate the compliments, and the sentiments, but I am afraid I cannot return them."
"I beg your pardon?"
"I cannot reciprocate your love," Haldir repeated.
Aragorn's brows drew together and his mouth fell open. "What?"
"Your letter conveyed that you had feelings for me, which I am afraid are impossible–."
"You received a letter from me?"
"You received a letter from me?" Aragorn repeated. That certainly explained a thing or two. Although how his missive to Legolas could have gone astray, he could not imagine. Unless. . . . His brothers had laughed at him at first about his wish to court Legolas. Suppose they had deliberately sent his letter to Haldir instead as a way of having further fun at his expense. He would not put it past them. "Would you excuse me, Haldir?"
He hurried away, Haldir's, "Yes, of course," barely reaching his ears. He had two brothers to confront. And then he was going to find Legolas and straighten things out.
Legolas was, at that moment, determined to discover whether he had completely misjudged Aragorn's character or not. He did not want to believe that Aragorn was insincere in his overtures toward himself, but the evidence said otherwise. And yet, surely those incidences were mistakes? Or did he want to believe that so badly because of his own tender regard for Aragorn? Could he have fallen in love with someone who would play him false? The questions had bothered him for the past days, and it was time he had answers.
Only he was not certain he was ready to confront Aragorn about it. A good warrior did his reconnaissance first. To that end he sought out Elladan and Elrohir, so that he might learn more about this human brother of theirs. And then perhaps he would begin courting Aragorn in earnest . . . or leave Imladris with his heart wounded and hope to recover from this first taste of love.
His inquiries concerning Elladan and Elrohir's whereabouts led him to the gardens, where he found them in quiet conversation with two archers from Lothlorien. Legolas approached them hesitantly. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but could I speak with the two of you?"
"Certainly," Elladan smiled and motioned him closer as the other warriors departed. "What can we do for you?"
"Well . . ." Legolas hesitated, glancing about at the flowering shrubs a moment to gather his nerve. "I wondered . . . I wondered if I could ask you about your brother?"
"Aragorn? What did you want to know?"
"Is he . . . does he . . . make a habit of going from one to another like a bee to flowers?" Legolas asked quietly.
"You mean does he toy with others' feelings? No, he doesn't," Elladan replied. "In fact, he's never been interested in anyone that we know of before now."
"I take it this means you return his affections then?" Elrohir probed.
"Return them?" Legolas answered. "Are you saying that he cares for me?"
"Yes," they said in unison.
"But why the letter to Haldir?"
The twins exchanged a look. "The letter to Haldir?"
"I overheard him say that he had received a love letter from Aragorn."
Elrohir's eyes widened suddenly, and he clapped Legolas on the shoulder. "We have a new servant. He must have gotten the rooms mixed up. The letter was meant for you."
"I see, but what of his serenading Lord Glorfindel?"
"Nothing to worry about either," Elladan replied. "I'm afraid Aragorn made his way to the wrong balcony, that's all. Believe us when we say that he has feelings for you and only you."
Aragorn stopped short upon entering the gardens. There was Legolas with his brothers, and they were being quite friendly. They were talking and laughing together. And they were touching him. The jealousy that consumed Aragorn was fierce and hot. He strode toward his brothers and Legolas, a scowl on his face. When he was but a few feet from them he began to run and then he dove head first toward Elladan. He caught him in his middle and the two hit the ground.
Elladan shoved him off and struck back. Elrohir tried to separate them, but he tripped over their legs and went down as well. Soon they were a tangle of arms and legs, with fists striking out randomly. Legolas tried in vain to reach Aragorn and pull him back but it was impossible to do so without help. Unfortunately there was none to be found.
Legolas shook his head and moved quickly when there was a brief lull in the battle. He reached out and caught Aragorn by an arm, dragging the youth back against his body, but not before he had earned an elbow to his cheek. "Aragorn!"
"What has gotten into you?" Elladan growled, rising to his feet and pulling Elrohir with him.
"So, this was your plan," he accused. "You know I love Legolas but you set out to sabotage every move in my courtship of him."
"Don't be ridiculous," Elrohir retorted.
"You want him for yourself," Aragorn growled, struggling against the lithe body that held him trapped.
"Nonsense," Elrohir snorted. "He's not the sort I like. No offense," he added with a glance at the Mirkwood Elf.
"None taken," Legolas replied tersely.
"Ha! You had my letter sent to Haldir not to Legolas. And you knew I'd drink just to get courage to sing–."
"We did not tell you to get drunk," Elladan reminded him. "That was your own doing."
"That doesn't explain what's going on now," Aragorn pointed out.
"I came to talk to your brothers about you," Legolas said quietly.
"You did? Why?" Aragorn asked, the fight leaving him.
"Perhaps this is not the best place." Legolas nodded to the twins. "If you will excuse us."
"Where are you taking me?" Aragorn asked after a few minutes of silent walking.
"To my chamber. I want to see to your injuries."
"Oh." Aragorn felt deflated at that. Why couldn't they talk . . . really talk? Or . . . something. Why was none of this simple? Elladan and Elrohir always seemed to have an easy time of it. Why couldn't he?
When Legolas motioned for Aragorn to enter the room first, he moved inside slowly and looked around. Legolas' chamber was neat of course, unlike his own. It was yet another way that they were completely different, and Aragorn despaired that his courtship would ever bear fruit. Why would a perfect, graceful Elf want a gangly, unkempt human like him?
"Please, have a seat," Legolas offered, sliding the bolt of his door into place.
"Thank you. But I might mess it up in my state," Aragorn refused.
Legolas glanced at him sharply but said nothing; instead he moved to the washbasin and dipped a cloth into the cool water. Aragorn watched him quietly, looking down when he returned quickly. Tilting Aragorn's head up, Legolas applied the compress gently to his left eye. Aragorn shivered, more from the heat of Legolas' touch than the cold of the water.
"Better?" Legolas asked, removing the cloth and throwing it to the washstand.
"A little," Aragorn whispered.
Legolas pressed his lips to Aragorn's eye and smiled at his sharp intake of breath. Emboldened further, he placed another gentle kiss to the bruise he had inflicted on Aragorn's forehead, and then slowly he trailed his lips downward until he reached Aragorn's mouth. After a tender caress he drew back, his eyes searching Aragorn's.
"I think you are perfect," Legolas declared.
"I'm not. I'm–."
Legolas cut him off with another kiss. Aragorn responded eagerly, his hands brushing the tips of Legolas' ears before finding their way into his hair. Legolas moaned and moved closer as a thrill of pleasure coursed through his frame. His own hands slid behind Aragorn's neck to knead the muscles there. Aragorn's blood roared in his ears, rushed through his body, settled in his groin. He wondered fleetingly if Legolas felt the same.
They parted only long enough to gain air. The longing to touch and taste drew them close again. They met each other halfway, eagerly caressing one another's lips. Acting purely on instinct, Aragorn darted his tongue against the seam of Legolas' lips, and when they opened shyly for him, he dipped inside with a delighted sigh. Aragorn's arms came around Legolas to pull him nearer, shifting their bodies until they were aligned. He groaned when he felt Legolas' arousal pressed against his own; he realized that kisses would not be enough. Aragorn tore his mouth away to nibble along Legolas' jaw line.
"I want . . . I want to touch you." Aragorn held his breath, half expecting Legolas to send him away because of his lustful thoughts.
"Yes," Legolas whispered back, molding his frame even closer to Aragorn's. "Yes."
Somehow between long kisses and fumbling with tunic clasps and boots they made it to the bed. With a last kiss Legolas pulled away to continue undressing. Aragorn ducked his head as he tugged off his own boots and untied his leggings. His hands shook badly; he could not recall the last time he had been this nervous. Quick glances at Legolas only made it worse until Aragorn noticed that his hands seemed to be shaking just as much as his own.
Legolas raised his head and drew in a sharp breath at the sight of Aragorn standing nude before him. Broad shouldered and slim hipped, there was nothing little about him at all. Legolas felt another spike of lust pierce his body, obliterating his self-consciousness at being completely nude. He reclined upon the bed, one arm outstretched in what he hoped was an inviting manner.
Aragorn smiled eagerly and joined him. They lay facing each other a moment, eyes glowing, limbs trembling anew, before they scooted toward one another. The feel of Legolas' bare skin against his own made Aragorn shake with need. He drew a deep breath as he struggled to control his desire as his mouth claimed Legolas' once more. Slowly, carefully, he urged Legolas onto his back and rose above him. He let his mouth wander down to the column of Legolas' throat.
"Aragorn," Legolas panted. "Aragorn, my hair. You're pulling."
"What? Oh." Aragorn moved his hand slightly.
"Ow! It's still . . ."
"My ring," Aragorn apologized. He could feel the strands of hair tangled within it now. Shifting carefully, he managed to untangle the locks and pull them free. "I'm so sorry," he whispered, embarrassed.
"I'm fine." Legolas pulled him down for another kiss.
Aragorn raised his head with an effort, his eyes glittering brightly as he stared down into Legolas' face. "I love you."
"I love you, too," Legolas breathed, pulling Aragorn down for another kiss. His hands roamed Aragorn's back, settling at last as low as he dared, just above the swell of Aragorn's buttocks.
Instinct guiding him once more, Aragorn shifted his body until he was nestled intimately between Legolas' parted thighs. The movement brought their arousals into full contact, sending a bolt of pleasure through Aragorn's body. He moved his hips again. Legolas bucked beneath him with a soft cry. Worried, Aragorn stilled and looked at him anxiously.
"What is it? Am I too heavy?"
Legolas shook his head against his pillow. "Valar, Aragorn. Don't stop."
"It's all right?"
Legolas arched his own hips experimentally against Aragorn's, a smug look on his face as Aragorn groaned and closed his eyes. Aragorn countered with a thrust of his own, effectively wiping the self-satisfied look from Legolas' face and replacing it with one of pure ecstasy. He smiled and bent his head to draw upon Legolas' lips once again as they began to move in tandem, seeking more and more friction. Soon Legolas had wrapped his legs about Aragorn and was now unashamedly clutching his bottom in an effort to bring him closer still.
"Legolas . . . you feel so . . . Mmm . . . good," Aragorn moaned, moving near feverishly now.
"So do . . . Ah . . . so do you!"
It did not take much longer. Aragorn tensed, whispered Legolas' name again and again. Through the roar of his blood pounding and the haze of release he was only dimly aware that Legolas had quickly followed. He shuddered with intense pleasure, at the liquid heat trapped between their bodies. His lips closed over Legolas' once more before his head fell at the junction of throat and shoulder.
He awakened in surprise to find Legolas watching him, a contented smile on his face. They were lying beneath a sheet, legs entwined. Aragorn wondered how much time had passed, but quickly decided it did not matter. Legolas slowly trailed a fingertip along Aragorn's eyebrow.
"Did you sleep well?"
Aragorn nodded, blushing. "I didn't mean to."
"I enjoyed watching you." Legolas smiled again before pressing another kiss to the black and purple bruise marring Aragorn's face. When he drew back his features were grave, though a hint of mischief played about his eyes. "So tell me, is this something I must accustom myself to doing . . . tending your wounds, I mean?"
"No . . . what?"
"You said you have been trying to court me."
"Oh. Yes. I have," Aragorn admitted. "And doing a terrible job of it."
"I would not say that. Here we are, after all." He tilted his head to the side. "The letter . . . what did it say?"
Aragorn blushed again. "That you were the fairest of beings. That I loved you. That more than anything I wanted to know you better." He shook his head and closed his eyes, feeling very foolish again suddenly. "I should have just told you instead of listening to my brothers."
"Do not blame yourself for not approaching me, for I have the same fault. In my defense I have never been in love before, so I did not know the best way to approach you either." He shook his head, a rueful look on his face. "I went to your brothers to ask them if it was your way to toy with others' feelings. I knew that I loved you, but your own feelings and intentions were far from clear to me. I should have gone to you instead."
"It doesn't matter now," Aragorn whispered, "for as you said, here we are."
They leaned in, mouths brushing, tongues sliding together, hands sifting through one another's hair. Reluctantly they drew apart, their breaths shaky. Aragorn trailed his knuckles along Legolas' cheek.
"I promise to be more forthcoming in the future. You will have no doubts about my feelings."
"Nor you of mine," Legolas vowed, his voice low.
Their lips met again, then their bodies fused together. Legolas shifted forward and over, taking Aragorn with him and pressing him into the mattress. He settled between Aragorn's willingly parted legs, trailing kisses wherever he could reach. Aragorn's breath caught then rushed from him in a long moan of approval.
A few moments later, warm, sated, they fell back upon the bed. They talked some more, rested a little, cleaned up and crept to the kitchens for sustenance. It was not long before food was the last thing on their minds, however, and Legolas was writhing beneath Aragorn yet again, the remains of their feast neglected on the table by the fireplace.
The night was young, and they intended to make the most of it.