January 19, 3019 in the Third Age of Middle Earth
The concerns of leadership weighed heavily on Aragorn. Two days earlier he had stood before Lady Galadriel with the rest of the Fellowship, and revealed tidings of the disastrous trip through Moria, and the loss of Gandalf the Grey. His exhaustion and grief had been so great that he had slept heavily throughout the next day. Now, tired as he still was, he found it hard to sleep. He passed through the pavilion where the Fellowship was housed. The hobbits, Boromir, and Gimli were rolled up in their blankets, snoring or talking softly. But the elf was missing.
"Where is Legolas?" Aragorn asked Frodo.
"I think he went to the hot springs to bathe," Frodo said. "We were there earlier, Aragorn. It was quite healing. The bruises from that spear thrust are mostly gone." He sat up and opened his shirt. Unclasping the chain that held the ring, he held it tightly in his hand, while Aragorn sat down next to him and examined his chest and back with gentle fingers.
"Sure enough," he said. "Yes, I remember the springs of Envinyatar." He rotated his sword arm. "Perhaps I should go. My shoulder has been sore and stiff all day."
"Go on, Aragorn, and stop fussing over us. We are safe here. As safe as we are anywhere." Frodo yawned and bent his head to put the ring chain back on. He smiled up at Aragorn, although his eyes looked sorrowful. Aragorn ruffled his curly hair.
"I can't stop thinking, Aragorn, about what, what has happened and what still lies before us." Frodo said.
"Yes, you and me both," said Aragorn. "But there is time enough for that. For now, you need to rest. I'll look in on you later." He kissed Frodo's forehead and stood up.
"Aragorn, if you don't go to the springs and take care of yourself this evening, I shall be much annoyed," Frodo said. He lay down and closed his eyes.
"I promise," Aragorn smiled. He stood up and headed down the path away from the pavilion. The blue velvet night sky was awash with stars. A soft warm breeze brushed by his cheek. Here and there along the path, a sculptured stone figure held an oil flame in cupped hands, creating just enough light to see the route that wound through the immense and ancient mallorn trees. If he stopped and listened hard enough, he could hear the whispered speech of the living things around him.
Truly a magical place, Aragorn thought. The place where my heart is, but she whom I long for no longer resides here. She is now at Imladris, far to the north. Arwen, I am not sure I am strong enough to bear all these burdens. My heart is heavy. And I wonder if I shall ever see you again.
How well he remembered the springs! A summer night, thirty-eight years ago, he had gone late in the evening to bathe in the springs and come upon a half dozen elf maidens already in the water, including the Lady Arwen. A more enchanting sight he had never seen. The slim forms, white limbs, lovely breasts of different shapes and sizes, long wet hair.
Arwen was standing, her long black hair hanging like a curtain down her back, high, rounded breasts with rosy nipples, a silky tuft of dark hair between her legs. Upon seeing him standing there staring, the other women made a rush to cover her. But she had smiled, and looked at him steadily and without fear.
That image, and others of her lovely face in the moonlight, the feel of her back, the sweet taste of her mouth, had sustained him on many a dangerous venture. He held the memories like a locket that he could open and look at occasionally, then close back up with a sigh. But they were also hard memories, for he had so desperately wanted to possess her, to feel her naked body under his. This pleasure was denied until she could become his queen. A dream of future delight, that as far as he could see this night, might never be fulfilled.
Since he had first seen her at Imladris and fallen in love, he had not lain with another. Instead, he had become stern, disciplined, grim. It was difficult, as he was a man with strong physical needs. In the past, when it had become too much, he had vanished into the wilderness in his solitary pursuit of the servants of the Dark Lord.
He passed through a stone arch, carved as if covered in thick vines. Beyond, he saw a sight that, just as that night when he chanced on Arwen, caused him to pause and inhale sharply. The trees leaned over a wide, quiet pool. Occasionally a wisp of steam curled up from the black surface. At the end closest to him, the water poured over a stone lip and gurgled away toward the river. The far end had three flickering torches set into stone sculptures. They cast a golden glow on two figures.
Legolas sat chest deep in the water. He leaned back against rocks that had been elaborately carved into seats. An elf maiden sat on the rock behind him, her pale bare legs straddling his shoulders as she carefully unbraided his long yellow hair. Most of it was undone already and cascaded over his shoulders, long strands rippling where the braids had kinked it. The ends that touched the surface of the water fanned out like gossamer threads. His chest and arms were slender but well muscled. He wore a gold band on his upper left arm. His head was tilted back against the woman's lap. His face was beautiful: high cheek bones, knife-sharp jaw line, curving lips, and straight, dark brows. A smile quirked one side of his mouth as he murmured something to the elf woman. She splashed him with water. He turned his head and gently bit the inside of her knee.
The elf woman was quite as beautiful as Legolas. She wore a thin, white garment that clung to her form and shimmered as she moved. The dress had ridden up, revealing her bare legs. Her reddish gold hair was plaited in one long braid that hung down over her chest.
Aragorn stepped back hurriedly, thinking he should leave. He felt a prickling in his loins like dozens of tiny shocks. Then Legolas's glance leapt across the distance to fasten on his.
"Aragorn," he called in his melodious tenor voice, "are you going to skulk forever in the shadows or are you going to come and join us?"
Somewhat sheepishly, he came forward into the torchlight. "You seem . . . occupied, Legolas. Maybe I should come back later." The elf woman smiled at him.
"Nonsense, Aragorn," said Legolas. "We will all be grateful if you have a good soak." He grinned. "By the Valar, you still smell like orc blood."
Aragorn hesitated. Then stepping carefully on the slender path around the pool, he came forward and sat on a stone seat near the elves.
"Aragorn, this is Melindi, daughter of Orophin," said Legolas. "She is wonderful at working the kinks out of your arms and back." The elf woman nodded shyly at Aragorn.
Legolas swam away from her, dived under the water like an otter. He came up, water streaming off his face and hair, and returned to his seat. Melindi poured a silver liquid from a flask into her hand and began gently massaging Legolas's hair. The liquid smelled like elanor flowers, a fresh honey scent. Legolas leaned back against her lap and closed his eyes. "Hurry up and get in Aragorn," he said.
"I think I'll wait until you are finished," the ranger said.
"Melindi has seen naked men before. You have no need for modesty."
Melindi picked up a silver ewer and poured water over Legolas's head. "We shouldn't make our guest uncomfortable, Legolas," she said. "I should go."
Legolas turned, reached up and grabbed her hand. "You can't leave," he said.
She laughed in answer and attempted to stand. Legolas kissed the back of her hand and then her finger tips. She stood and walked away.
"Will I see you later?" Legolas called.
"Perhaps," she said. "You know where my talan is." Then she was gone.
"I hope you're happy that you chased her off," Legolas grinned at Aragorn. "She could have worked her magic on you as well."
"You know my situation, Legolas," he said.
"Yes, and I understand it," Legolas replied. Aragorn unbuckled Andúril and set it against a tree. Then he undressed, piling his clothes in a heap. He slid into the water and hissed sharply through his teeth as the heat enveloped him. He leaned against the bank and sighed.
"Nice equipment," commented the elf.
"Eh?" Aragorn looked at him.
"Andúril, I mean," said Legolas with a dimpled smile.
"I'm sure that's what you meant," said Aragorn. "I'm glad you're able to find diversion so quickly after what happened in Moria."
A shadow crossed the elf's face, revealing his deep sorrow. "Elves can experience memory as vividly as if it were the present. I haven't forgotten Gandalf. But I don't wish to dwell on that pain. I have had enough of that in my life. It is healing to direct my attention to the small issues of present time. Maybe you should as well."
"My diversion is far away." Aragorn splashed water on his face and hair.
"Perhaps not as far as you think," said Legolas.
Aragorn grunted. He rolled his shoulder. "The water feels good on my arm," he said, "I think I strained it when the cave troll threw me."
"You're lucky that's all that happened," said Legolas. "We all are. Valar, he had a hard head." Both he and Aragorn chuckled. "Here, let me work on it for you," Legolas offered.
"It's not necessary," said Aragorn.
"You're the one who scared off Melindi. She could have worked on it. She has the gift. Now, you're stuck with me." The elf moved over to Aragorn, turned the ranger so his back was toward him, and began stroking and kneading the man's sword arm.
"Ai," cried Aragorn, "not so hard!"
"Will you relax!" said the elf. "You are one great knot."
Aragorn sighed and leaned back against Legolas. He found it pleasant to lie in the elf's arms. The elf felt warm and slippery in the water. Legolas's fingers found the ache in his shoulder and deftly worked the muscles loose. As the night air cooled, the steam gathered into a mist over the pool. Another memory arose, one that Aragorn had put from his mind from a feeling of embarrassment.
He had been at his home in Imladris many years ago. A warm summer's day. He was young, about eighteen. At that time he was called Estel and had no knowledge of his true heritage. He remembered he had been sent by Erestor, his tutor, to the clearing where the elves practiced archery. None of the other pupils had shown up yet, so he lay down under some tangled vines, intending to sneak up on Erestor and scare him. It would serve him right after making him translate the whole lay of Lúthien from the Quenya, high language of the elves.
Two young elves appeared below him in a small glade near the targets. One was Prince Legolas, looking much the same as he did now, though perhaps lighter, more innocent. He was always laughing then. Legolas had arrived several months earlier, with messages from his father, Thranduil of Mirkwood, for Lord Elrond. With him was one of Elrond's musicians, a tall dark-haired elf with bright violet eyes named Elwin. They appeared to be hunting. Both were stripped to the waist. Their quivers were slung across their backs; they carried their bows in their hands.
"I bet that I can hit that target from here," Elwin said. The target was about sixty yards away.
"You have been shooting poorly all day," said Legolas. "I bet you a bottle of miruvor that you can not."
Elwin bent back his bow, took a long time sighting, and let the arrow fly with a swift whoosh and a thunk as it hit the tree next to the target.
With a blurred motion, Legolas pulled an arrow from his quiver, notched and released it, hitting the target dead center.
"You are such a show off," laughed Elwin. He shoved Legolas on the shoulder. In the next instant they had thrown their quivers to the ground and squared off. Legolas lunged at Elwin and grasped him around the chest. They struggled for a while, each trying to throw the other off balance, even while they were laughing. Then Legolas got a foot behind Elwin's and tripped him. The dark haired elf went down and Legolas threw himself on top of him. But Elwin drew his knee up under the prince's chest and shoved him off, flipping him over onto his back. Legolas made an umph sound as the wind was knocked out of him. Elwin rolled over, straddled Legolas's hips, and pushed his shoulders into the grass. To Aragorn's surprise, instead of continuing to struggle, Legolas went limp.
"Give?" asked the dark-haired elf.
"Yes, always," said Legolas. Elwin bent to claim his lips in a passionate kiss. Suddenly Aragorn understood aspects of their relationship that had puzzled him before. How close they always stood, the light touches, the way they looked at each other, the way the others spoke about them as if they were bonded. How could I have been so stupid not to see? Aragorn thought.
Elwin kissed across Legolas's face and lipped his ears, causing the blond haired elf to thrash and beat his fist lightly on his companion's back. Then he kissed down Legolas's well-formed chest, pausing to lick his nipples.
"Um, Elwin, quit it," Legolas said. Elwin bent lower and began untying the prince's leggings with his teeth. "I mean it," threatened Legolas. "Not here. Someone will come."
"Too late," Elwin cried, and he pulled Legolas's leggings off his hips, revealing a powerful erection. He took Legolas in his mouth and rapidly moved up and down the entire length. Legolas closed his eyes and stiffened his legs, moaning.
"Oh gods, my love, you are too good at that," Legolas gasped. Elwin continued his ministrations first slowly, then faster and faster. Aragorn was fascinated to watch the prince's cock sliding in and out of the dark-haired elf's mouth. He felt a tingle growing within his own trousers and reached down to rub himself through the cloth.
Legolas's hips flexed and he moaned louder. Then he shuddered and cried out as Elwin's smooth, white throat contracted with several swallowing motions. He came off Legolas and continued licking him with long strokes.
Legolas lay panting with his eyes shut. "Ah melethron, I believe I owe you the miruvor after all," he said. "Now it's your turn." He sat up and reached over to caress the prominent bulge in Elwin's leggings.
"Hush love, wait. Someone is coming," said Elwin.
"Someone already has come," joked Legolas, pulling his leggings back up. He tilted his head, listening. "No," he said softly, "someone has been here the whole time." He turned and stared at Aragorn's hiding place. But Aragorn did not think he could see him. They turned their heads back in the direction of the main path, hearing silvery voices and one lifted in song.
"Be quick, my love," Legolas kissed Elwin's lips. "We can finish this somewhere else."
They grabbed their bows and quivers and faded into the trees.
That night at dinner, Aragorn had the distinct impression that the beautiful elven prince was looking at him quizzically. Did he suspect? How could he know?
Now this same radiant being was inches away, rubbing his shoulder. Legolas was charged with a sexual energy felt by anyone who came near him. It made a prickling sensation on the skin. Aragorn had to admit to himself that he was not immune.
After some time Aragorn said, "Yes, that's much better. I don't know how your Melindi could have improved on that. You must have a healing gift as well."
"It merely involves a sensitivity to the energy of living things," said Legolas, "and now if you'll excuse me, meldir, I think I'll look for some healing of a different nature."
The prince pulled himself up onto the rocks, the water rushing off his body, arm muscles flexed. He stood, stretched, grabbed a cloth hanging on a tree branch, and dried off. Aragorn couldn't help but look, Legolas had such a beautiful form. The torchlight flickered over high rounded buttocks that hollowed in at the hip, long, taut muscular legs, a supple waist, and corded muscles in his abdomen that fluted down into a well defined curve that dipped from his hips across his loins. His member was relaxed, semi-erect, and elegant like the rest of him.
Aragorn swallowed, licked his lips, and to his embarrassment, found himself growing hard. He settled further down in the water, feigning indifference. "Go on to your lovely elf maiden then," he said. "Just don't forget to come back to your friends. You have a mission to fulfill."
"Yes, my captain." Legolas drew on his clothes and vanished silently into the woods.
Aragorn leaned back into the water with a sigh. Legolas was a good companion. Brave, quick, with a fine sense of humor. He had helped make this dark journey bearable. But these feelings Aragorn was experiencing whenever he got near the elf. . . he did not think any good would come of them.
Legolas's lover, Elwin. Aragorn hadn't thought of him in a long time. He remembered there had been a tragic story about him. He wondered how it had affected Legolas.
He climbed out of the water, dressed, made his way back to the pavilion, and cast himself onto the soft blankets and pillows of his make-shift bed. Sleep came swiftly.