Disclaimer: Don't own anything.

A/N: Haven't heard from my beta for a while. Decided to go ahead and finish. This story is kind of my first and favorite. Sorry for the long draughts of updates, got distracted, then issues with disappearing betas and such.

But anyway, please, please review. Begging here. They are my fuel.

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Chapter 9: Revelations

Darius made an excuse to leave camp so he could track Elenor, who was sent to refill their waterskins. He suspected that the dark-haired guard had betrayed them. He still remembered the conceit and discontent he felt in the young Elf when they first met. Knowing how crafty the Dark Witch was, Darius could imagine it would be easy for the evil one to exploit those qualities to secure the Elven guard's assistance.

Even if the dark-haired Elf were not the traitor, Darius knew it was time to have a private conversation with Elenor. Though well disguised physically, the guard's lust for the Golden Prince radiated from his entire being. As he was certain Legolas was his former apprentice's lifemate, he needed to warn the Elven warrior to stay away from the Prince. Immortal Witches were very protective and possessive of their lifemates. Though Lucien was in denial, Darius feared what his former apprentice would do when the dark-haired witch recovered enough to sense Elenor's inappropriate desires.

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Lucien was a little surprised when his ex-mentor left them to join the other Elves in scouting the area. He knew Darius well enough to know the older witch was hiding his real motives for leaving. The hunter wondered why his friend had not confided in him; Darius usually told him everything, whether he wanted to hear it or not. He hoped this silent treatment was not the result of his rash actions earlier.

The hunter did not know what prompted his accusation this afternoon. It was not the first time Lucien had to rely on another for assistance; he had always trusted Mikael and Darius with his life. He was truly grateful for his mentor's presence, but the thought of having to rely on someone else to protect his beautiful lifemate frustrated him intensely. The strong negative emotion clouded his mind, a force the witch unfamiliar with having feelings could not control. Without warning, his irritation at his own helplessness erupted, targeting the blond witch with the power to do what he could not. Lucien knew his mentor did not anger easily; but once offended, Darius never completely forgot a slight. He could only pray that their friendship had not been irreparably damaged.

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Lucien's musing was cut short when the object of his secret desires called to him. "Are you hungry? We don't have much, but you are welcome to share the lembas and dried fruit we have."

"Thank you for your offer," replied the witch as he walked to where Legolas sat. The Prince seemed to be feeling better now, stretching his sore muscles slowly to test their strength as he sat by the fire. Lucien was certain that, by tomorrow, the Golden Elf would be ready to travel by his own strength. Reminiscing on how perfectly the Prince felt in his arms and knowing he would never feel this way again, the witch could not help feeling the pang of regret that gripped his heart.

"What's troubling you?" asked Legolas as he handed the witch a piece of lembas from his pack. He could sense the sadness in Lucien; he longed to soothe his new companion's pain, even if the object of his affections would never see him as more than a friend.

"Nothing," lied the dark-haired witch, tearing his eyes away from the Golden Elf's exquisite blue ones. He could not allow the Prince to know his feelings. He knew the compassionate Legolas would pity him; that was something Lucien could not bear.

"Come on, Lucien, don't lie. Are you worried that Darius is still angry with you?" guessed Legolas, trying to keep the hurt out of his voice. He understood that Lucien could never be his and only wanted his two new friends to be happy; but that did not lessen the pain of his hopeless love.

The witch was surprised at how astute the Golden Elf was. With an exasperated sigh, Lucien admitted, "Yes. We test each other's patience a lot. But this is something else."

"I am sure everything will work out in the end. I mean, you two are made for each other," consoled the Prince with a forced smile as he gently put a hand on Lucien's shoulder.

The witch did not know what shocked him more - the fire that shot through his body at the simple contact or the fact that Legolas thought he and Darius were a couple. Lucien decided he would set the records straight as soon as he regained the ability to speak. At the moment, he was simply too stunned to move. The Golden Elf would have thought it strange, if Haldir had not come to the witch's rescue. "Are you feeling better now, my friend?"

"Yes. I think I will be able to walk tomorrow," replied Legolas with a smile as he retracted his hand from the witch's shoulder. But his movement only served to draw his guardian's attention to the contact before. Noting the silver-haired warrior's slightly mischievous smile, the Prince knew he was in trouble.

"But I think it's better for Lucien to continue carrying you. We can move faster that way," suggested Haldir, looking intently at both his companions for their reaction.

"I don't want to cause Lucien any more trouble," said the Golden Elf quietly, studying the floor to hide his embarrassment and hurt. He knew his friend was trying to help him get the dark-haired witch's attention; but Lucien was already taken. Knowing how wonderful it felt to be in the arms of the object of his affections would only make him hope for what could not be.

Haldir's suggestion surprised the witch, as he believed the two Elves were lovers. Would it be possible that he had misunderstood their relationship? There was only one way to find out. "It's no trouble at all. But Haldir, are you sure you want me to hold your friend tomorrow on our journey?" asked Lucien, deliberately stressing the word 'friend' so the Lòrien Elf would know he implied 'lover'.

"Of course. I am Legolas' protector; his well-being means the world to me. I will not have him overexerting himself tomorrow," replied Haldir with a knowing smile. When he noted that his young charge was still staring at the floor, determined to ignore everything that was being said, he added with a wink. "I will help Darius scout the area. I trust you, Lucien, to keep my Prince safe."

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Lucien was so happy that he could bounce up and down with joy, if that was not considered inappropriate behavior for a three thousand years' old Immortal Witch. The one who brought colors back to his life was still available, which meant he had a chance in winning Legolas' heart. Lucien knew he was completely inept in the romance department; he could only hope that his former mentor and Haldir would give him some pointers. With his first sincere smile in a few millennia, Lucien broke the uneasy silence. "Legolas, I have a confession to make."

The witch waited for the Golden Elf to bring his eyes up from the floor. But as the Prince refused to move, Lucien gently lifted Legolas' chin. Though the contact was chaste, it was an intimate gesture that sent little sparks down the witch's veins. Capturing the Golden Elf's gaze with his penetrating amber eyes, Lucien continued, "Darius and I are like you and Haldir."

Legolas would not have believed the witch if their eyes were not locked in silent communication. The Elf could see the truth in Lucien's eyes, as well as feel his tenderness and affections. Lucien liked him! "Why didn't you say anything earlier?" breathed the Golden Prince as he lifted his hand to trace his beloved witch's rugged features gently with his fingertips.

The love in his lifemate's touch was overwhelming Lucien's senses. The witch could barely believe the gift destiny had bestowed upon him. Legolas returned his feelings! Moving his hand to capture the Elf's, Lucien leant forward gently until their lips were only inches apart. "I thought you love another."

"I've never been in love until I met you," whispered the Prince as he moved to close the distance between them, pressing their lips together in a wondering kiss.

Sparks flew as soon as they touched; electricity sizzled the surrounding air as fire shot through their veins. Wanting more, Lucien deepened the kiss, urging the Elf's lips apart with his questing tongue. Legolas gasped at the novel sensation as the witch's tongue explored his mouth gently yet thoroughly, savoring every corner of the hot cavern with relish. Soon, the curious young Elf began to mimic Lucien's movements, wishing to taste the witch upon his tongue. His actions prompted a soft moan from the hunter, who moved to encircle his lifemate in a tight embrace. Emboldened by Lucien's reactions, the Prince's hands began to rove the witch's chest, worshiping the hard muscles with his fingers. Lucien was hard to the point of pain, but he was content to drown in the bliss of the moment, simply holding his beloved Elf as their tongues mated in a loving tango until the need for breath forced them apart.

Still slightly breathless from the euphoria of their kiss, the witch decided it was time to tell Legolas about his suspicions, that perhaps the Golden Elf was his lifemate. "Legolas, there is something else I need to tell you."

"I think I already know," replied the Prince, smiling fondly at his Immortal Witch. He was Lucien's lifemate; he knew it the moment their lips met; they were two halves of a whole. Besides, regardless of what destiny ordained, Lucien was already the keeper of his heart. Nothing would make him happier than being bound to the dark-haired hunter for all eternity.

"Will you have me then?" asked Lucien quietly, barely able to contain his excitement and nerves. Though he knew the Golden Elf cared for him, he still worried it was too soon to ask Legolas to make this life-altering decision.

The young Prince wished with all his heart that he could say yes, but knew he could not. Legolas was a Bearer of Light, the chosen one to fight the Dark Lord if he regains the One Ring. This was a battle he must face alone. If he accepted Lucien's vow, the Immortal Witch would be honor- bound to protect him, even against Sauron if necessary. He could not allow his beloved to risk his life needlessly. "I want to be yours, but I can't do this until I've fulfilled my destiny. Please understand."

"Even if you won't accept my vow, I will not let you face danger alone. You are my light, Legolas, and mine to protect. I cannot be without you," said the dark-haired witch passionately as he pulled the pliant Elf into his tight embrace. Legolas was his lifemate; the binding ritual was secondary. Lucien would live and die for the Golden Elf; nothing could change that.

"Oh Lucien." sighed the Prince, content, as he buried his face in the witch's warmth. The future was still uncertain; but he no longer feared the challenges that lied ahead. His beloved witch was with him now; together, they would find a way.

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The bliss of the moment was interrupted when Lehnirer burst into the clearing. In an urgent whisper, he said to Lucien, "You have to take my Prince out of here now. A great host of Orcs are heading this way from the South. They will be here in less than an hour. We will stay here and hold them off for as long as we can."

"I am not leaving," replied Legolas firmly, disentangling himself from his lover's arms. Rising shakily to his legs, the Prince added, "I will stand with you and fight."

"This is not open to debate, my Prince. It is our job as Royal Guards to protect you," reasoned the senior warrior. The other guards, save for Elenor and Haldir, had now returned and stood behind Lehnirer to show their support for his decision.

Seeing that the impasse would only waste more time, the Immortal Witch took matters into his hands by scooping the Prince into his arms. When Legolas glared at him with indignation, he explained, "We are going to get Darius. I have no intention of letting my new allies die either." When the Prince nodded his approval to his beloved's plan, Lucien began to sprint towards the direction Darius headed earlier. The witch could only hope they would find his former mentor in time.

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"Hello there," chirped Darius cheerfully as he sneaked up behind his quarry. The startled guard dropped his waterskin immediately and tried to draw his dagger. The witch, however, anticipated his movements and cast an immobilization spell before Elenor could attack.

"Tut tut, so aggressive. Aren't Elves supposed to be nice and gentle?" asked the blond witch in his sing-song voice as he leaned close to the Elven guard. He needed to search Elenor to see if the young guard was the traitor.

"What are you going to do?" demanded Elenor, a bit nervous as he felt Darius' presence behind him. He could barely kept from shivering when the blond witch began his search.

"Don't worry. I don't take advantage of young defenseless Elves. I just need to look for something," reassured Darius as his hands drifted to the warrior's belt. He knew anyone with a brain would hide the cursed item somewhere private. Though he did not particularly look forward to touching Elenor 'intimately', he would do it to ascertain where the guard's loyalty lied.

"What are you doing?" asked Haldir as he stepped onto the scene was his bow trained on the blond witch. Though Darius did not seem the type, he could not deny the sight before him. He would not let his brethren be violated if that was the witch's intentions.

Darius did not reply until his hand came across a small pouch tugged underneath the young guard's belt. Pulling the object from Elenor's garment, the witch looked at the Lòrien Elf and answered with a smile, "Looking for this."

"It cannot be," whispered Haldir, immediately realizing the implications of the discovery. One of their own had betrayed them! He knew Elenor was a bit egoistic, but the young guard would not side with evil against his kindred. This was not possible.

"Given where it's hidden, I don't think anyone could have put it there without our friend's knowledge," reasoned the blond witch as he chanted a fire spell in his mind to destroy the cursed object.

The moment the pouch went up in flames, the forest began to scream its warning to the Wood Elf. Legolas and the others were in danger. An army of Orcs was heading to their camp as they spoke. "Darius, the camp is under attack. We have to go back now."

"I really shouldn't interfere, but since Lazarus is the mastermind behind this, I will make an exception this once," sighed the blond witch as he strolled to stand beside the Lòrien Elf.

"What about Elenor?" asked Haldir quietly, gazing at the younger guard ambivalently. Even if the Elven warrior had betrayed them, he was still one of their own kin. Besides, it was possible that the dark-haired Elf was forced to co-operate with the Dark Sorcerer.

"Take him with us if you wish. But if I catch him helping Lazarus again, he dies," shrugged Darius, releasing the Elven guard from his immobilization spell. Without a backward glance, the blond witch walked towards his previous camp. He could only hope his ex-apprentice could handle the situation until he returned.

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