For Anarithilien. A plot bunny I couldn't shoot. A bit of silly pointless smut. Woodelves huh?
The Old Forest slept. Long centuries stretched out across its dreams, deep roots wound into the earth, green shoots reached slowly upwards, hardened and thickened into branch and bough. It was as it had always been.
At first, it was only barely conscious of the intrusion … A song wound its way through leaf and branch, a song it had not heard for endless ages…. One leaf stirred in the still air, and then a ripple across the edge of the Old Forest.
Deep in the old heart, slumbering darkly, Old Man Willow felt a resonance, the echo of a song, and he stirred, settled and stirred again. Dark dreams wound through his wooden heart, and dark thoughts. Slowly the old forest was pulled from its deeper dreams.
Legolas sprang from Arod's back and laughed aloud at Gimli's cursing. 'Then take the longer road, my friend, and I will meet you in Brandybuck Hall. For I will warm ale by the fire for you and have a hobbit feast ready by the time you have trekked around these woods.'
'Pah! Even the damned horse is spooked by this … and he went quite happily into Fangorn!' Gimli blustered, doing his best to be outraged.
Legolas waved his hand dismissively at both dwarf and horse, who laid his ears back in terrible sniffy disapproval.
'See!' Gimli said triumphantly, 'The horse KNOWs something's wrong. How can a horse know and a Woodelf not know… says a lot about your father's training that you can't recognise danger when its there. I suppose you were fortunate indeed that you had a sturdy dwarf at your back for the whole of the War.'
Legolas laughed merrily, but wished Gimli on his way, much as he loved his companion. He wanted to be in the Old Forest, and to be alone beneath its eaves did not daunt him but elated him with the prospect of being the first elf in many years.
'There is no danger, Gimli…' the elf peered into the shadowed eaves. 'There is something… but … well, Merry has told us of Old Man Willow and Tom Bombadil. I do not think there is anything here to frighten a wood-elf. A dwarf maybe.' He said cheekily, glancing sideways to see if Gimli would bite, but the dwarf was too pleased by the prospect of nearing the journey's end.
For the last two days Gimli had talked endlessly it seemed, of sitting by a roaring fire with malt beer and red meat. Legolas felt they could both do with a little time apart. He could feel the air change and the warmth in the earth as Spring approached. He felt the green furled leaves stir and the sap rise. He could feel it in his own blood and if he didn't get away soon, he might end up jumping on the dwarf and pulling him into an undignified embrace. That would never do.
'And the paths are too overgrown for Arod.' He shook his head slightly, ridding himself of that disturbing image 'It would not be fair to take him into this wood. Go Gimli. It is wood. I am wood-elf. What is there to be afraid of?'
So saying, he leaped away into the nearest branches and Gimli heard a ridiculous song he had picked up in Rivendell that really did nothing for elvish credibility.
Swiftly the branches rustled and seemed to lean in and gather up the elf as if he were one of their own, which Gimli supposed, in a sense, he was.
He listened to the echoes of 'Tra-la-la-lally down here in the valley' as it floated away over the edge of the forest. Sighing with disapproval, he patted the horse in camaraderie, and led the way down the road that wound around the edge of the Old Forest, towards Brandybuck Hall and their friends.
Legolas felt his heart soar with wonder and delight that still there were such trees and woodlands, even though the great forests and Ents were almost gone. It was a little like Fangorn, but sleepier and less sentient. He stepped from one welcoming tree to another, lifting his voice in a song that praised the ancient woods and delighted in them. Leaves whispered and stroked him as he passed, and a trickle of sound edged its way into his consciousness… 'Ah, so you do not sleep as deeply,' he murmured.
All daylong he explored the woods, finding saplings struggling from the undergrowth, and he whispered words of encouragement and delight. Emerging into glades filled with green subterranean light, the elf stroked the bark of huge ancient trees. He felt dizzy with it ... how many years had it been since elves came through here? He wondered, for it seemed the trees were glad of him but not familiar. At one point, he thought he heard a sonorous call, like the echo of a horn sounding down through the woods, as ancient and beautiful as Orome's, and he allowed his feet to wander where they would.
As the afternoon fell into evening and twilight stole across the hushed woods, the elf found himself dreaming of long ago, when this woodland was part of greater woodlands, where few animals dared and nothing on two legs wandered safely. He felt the beat of the great heart of the wood and allowed its rhythm to settle into his blood until he found himself near a stream and the Moon rising high above ragged clouds, stars pricked out bright and cold in the sky.
The song was deeper here, like cool dark pools of green water. Absolute stillness. Absolute silence but for the deep song. A willow trailed its leaves across the water, stars pricked the sky between the willow's tangled branches. A breeze and Spring lingering in the air.
He became still, letting the moments drift, lost in the sensations of the breeze trailing over his skin, of the whispering leaves of the willow stroke over his face and neck, and around his arms, the caress was light, sensuous.
I have missed you, whispered the old willow tree, its leaves waving over his thighs.
He shivered under the Moon though not with cold, the leaves were tendrils wrapping themselves gently around his limbs so he felt their embrace bring him close into the woods, felt their loss and yearning for him, their desire. The fronds licked lightly over his lips and he parted them so the touch was across his tongue then and the caress deepened, tightened around his thighs. He was almost surprised to hear the moan escape him but he rubbed his fingers over the long wide leaves, up to the yielding, supple branches which wrapped around him with sudden strength.
His eyes were closed; when had he done that? And his tunic open; when had he taken off his boots?
His toes and feet luxuriated in the deep moss against the trunk of the willow. He pressed against it, feeling the scrape of the bark against his bare skin. He leaned back and let his head fall back as the drifting leaves like fingers reached and stroked him and he was hard and pulsing with his own warm sap.
The tendrils brushed his neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and wrapped around him, every limb clasped, every sense strained. He suddenly felt his breath gasp; the leaves brushed and stroked his skin, his hardened flesh, his lips and mouth and chest and thighs. He felt the thin hard stalks brush against him and push, writhing and brushing harder, almost whipping him with its gradual frenzy. A long, thick stem brushed his lips again and he opened his mouth, licking it with his tongue, tasting the sharp green sap. Pressure increased against his mouth, and the same sensuous erotic pleasure tightened around his neck, his chest, around his wrists and thighs. He was caught fast in the writhing, tossing leaves and moved himself against the ridged bark, scratching his skin. The pressure around him tightened and he arched, biting down on the thick stem between his teeth and feeling the warm sap spread from where he broke the skin of bark. He felt his balls tighten and then explode and there was stickiness on his thighs and on his back from where he had pressed himself against the tree.
He looked up at the midnight sky, eyes wide open and aware suddenly. He was caught in the tree, its leaves furled around him like a lover's caress, evidence of the erotic act on his thighs and on the leaves that still had him.
Slowly, he felt the tension go from his muscles and he moved slightly. A light sheen of sweat was on his skin and now the breeze cooled him. His nipples tightened and he became aware of the cold air.
He moved again, slightly, shifting the light leaves that lay tangled in his hair. Gathering the long tendrils, he lifted them away from his body and settled them gently. The tree rustled and stirred, its leaves drifting in the breeze and brushing the surface of the water now, releasing him.
He felt the sudden loss and pressed his hand against the rough bark of the old willow and murmured quiet words of peace. It seemed to sigh and settle back into a deeper, contented slumber and the wood elf rested there for a moment. He let himself drift like the leaves on the water and sank into a reverie where the ancient forests covered the whole of Erebor, and long centuries stretched. Deep roots wound into the earth, green shoots reached slowly upwards, hardened and thickened into branch and bough. It was as it had always been.
Quietly, slowly, the elf gathered up his clothes and stole away.
'Well I am glad you are here safe and sound,' Pippin said when he was settled in front of a glowing fire, with a mug of ale and a plate piled high with food. Legolas smiled and glanced at Merry, who watched with eyes bright and curious.
'Indeed,' he replied.
Merry watched the elf as he raised his cup to his lips and drank deeply, satisfied. There was a pause and then Merry asked 'And did you have any trouble on your way? Did you encounter Old Man Willow?'
He thought there was a glint in the elf's bright eyes as he answered.
'It is old is it not? Part of what was once the Great Wood that covered the whole of Eriador. Its heart is ancient and strong… and a little lonely.'
Pippin opened his mouth and protested 'It wouldn't have been lonely if Old Man Willow didn't eat people going about their normal business'
'Well, try to smother people.'
'Ah,' the elf turned his sharp bright eyes on the hobbit, 'so that is what he was trying to do.'
But before either Merry or Pippin could ask him anymore, he cocked his head slightly to one side and smiled, 'That will be Gimli. I can hear him swearing and cursing Arod.'
'And what is Arod doing?' Merry grinned.
'He is swearing and cursing Gimli.'
'In horse language?'
'In horse language,' Legolas affirmed.
The friends went to the door to greet the irritated dwarf. Light spilled out into the darkness and Arod whickered anxiously as he heard the elf's voice call a greeting. Gimli looked relieved and irritated at the same time but more relieved. He happily handed over the horse to Legolas who led him off to a warm stable.
Pippin was standing at a great flagon of ale and grinning at Gimli's delighted face. 'It's a pint,' he said gleefully. 'They have them in Bree.'
'Ah, they have them in the Mountain also,' said Gimli with great approval. He took a great long drink and smacked his lips together in appreciation. 'Ah. That's better.'
Legolas returned from the stable to find the two hobbits and dwarf ensconced in comfortable arm chairs, with flagons of ale and wreathed in smoke. A plate of meat and bread, cheese and fruit lay at the dwarf's elbow and he was eating with relish and not at all bothered by the smoke rings that collected in the corners of the room.
Then the dwarf glanced across at Legolas with his bright earth brown eyes.
'Well? Did you enjoy the trees?' He smoothed a strong capable hand over his glossy beard. 'Did you whisper sweet things to them? Is Old Man Willow the terrifying monster to elves that he is to hobbits?' The dwarf raised one eyebrow knowingly.
Legolas stared back for a moment and then smiled. Had they not journeyed through Fangorn and Aglarond together? They understood each other.
The old forest nestled closer to the fence that night, its ancient heart slumbered and sated.