Stop! Hold it right there! Yes, you!
This is the extended, unedited, unadulterated version of this chapter. This is where we really earn the story’s rating. So you must be of age (per your state’s or country’s age restrictions) to read adult material. By continuing past this warning, you are consenting to be of age.
Now, if you’d like to read the clean version of this chapter, you can proceed to fanfiction.net and read the chapter there. Nothing 100% vital is left out of that version, though it does develop the Lane/Legolas relationship more, as well as peeling back more of Lane’s past and character. But as I said, not one 100% vital.
Happy reading! Oh, and you might not want to read this chapter in public, at work, etc. 😉
Chapter 7: No Regrets
“Are you certain, Elaina?” Legolas whispered with an intensity in his voice, his hand sliding up to touch my jaw delicately with his fingertips.
I smiled when he didn’t need any clarification on what I’d meant. “Yeah, I’m sure.”
The yearning shone in his eyes; hell, I could feel the very emotion coursing through him. Yet he still seemed reticent and indecisive. He turned his head to stare out at the battlefield I’d just walked across, his eyes fixed on some distant point as he spoke, still not looking at me. “I would not have this be a thing you regret. I would have it be done with only love and joy in your heart, not a fear induced by those here slain.”
With one palm on his cheek, I gently turned his eyes back down to mine, and with the other hand, I grasped one of his and pressed his palm over my heart, holding it there. “When I’m with you, there is only joy in my heart. Can’t you feel it, Legolas?”
He smiled lightly but didn’t respond, though neither did he move away. My left hand held his palm to my heart, and his hand twisted under mine, twining with my fingers to stroke the ring he’d placed on my hand. The promise he’d made.
“I do have a lot of regrets in my life,” I told him. “But I never regretted acting on the desires of my heart. And too often, I’ve regretted not acting; regretted the things I hadn’t done. I regret that we’ve already waited so long. And for what? I don’t want to wait for this war to be over; we can’t know what might happen here—not even me, because things have already changed from what I once knew—and I don’t want to regret not seizing this moment when we found it.”
I could see the emotions and desires battling across his face. “My heart knows what it so greatly desires, but are you certain you are not rushing your own?”
My smile turned wistful, “You said yourself that many elven couples unite almost upon meeting and first giving their hearts. I wonder now why I’ve waited so long. I don’t want this thing to be something I regret, and I’ll never regret finding and loving you. I never thought it was possible to find someone who understands me the way you do. And maybe I’ve been in shock at actually realizing that you do not only understand me, but love me as well. In spite of what you know about me. It might even be selfish of me, but I’m not foolish enough to let you slip away from me. I don’t want to waste this chance for us to be happy. Even if for only this moment in time.”
The hand that had been pressed to my heart and twined with my fingers, slid up to curl around the side of my neck as Legolas lowered his forehead to mine, staring intently into my eyes. “Nay, we shall have many moments of bliss and happiness. Just this one moment shall never satisfy the longing in my heart for you. It demands years of bliss in your arms.”
A grin stole onto my expression. “Greedy, huh? I think I can live with that.”
He closed his eyes and pressed a soft, lingering kiss to my waiting lips, and then slid his mouth to my cheek, pressing soft kisses there until he’d moved to whisper in my ear, “But say not that joining your heart to mine is selfish, for if such a desire is selfish, than my own heart is mercenary in its long desire to have you for my own.”
My eyes had closed at his kiss, but I smiled wider at his words. “And I want nothing more than those years of happiness you speak of, but I want even more than just years, I don’t think even eternity would satisfy me.” I opened my eyes and pulled back to let him see my grin. “What an insatiable and possessive pair we’ll make.”
Instead of laughing or smiling at my joke, a look of sadness flashed across his eyes, and lingered in his emotions. “Would that we had an eternity together. Much I would give for it.”
My expression turned serious as well with his words, a piece of my heart feeling haunted by them. “Promise me something. Promise me one thing here and now before we go any further.”
His head tilted in silent question.
“Promise me that when and if I die, you won’t fade. I can’t go any further until I know you’ll continue on and do the things you were meant to do in the end.”
He sighed deeply and looked away. “You ask much of me. To promise that I will cling to my fëa even as my heart will surely break.” He turned back to look down at me. “Why do you ask this of me? What things are meant to be more important in my heart than you are?”
I bit my lip, wondering what I could tell him, and finally deciding I wouldn’t lie to him. “The story has to end with you building the last ship to Valinor. There’s so many other wonderful things you have to do in the interim, but in the end, when Aragorn willingly gives up his long days just as the kings of old did, you have to build the ship that will carry you and Gimli to the shores of Valinor.”
A feeling of hurt and despair seemed to flash through Legolas as he pulled away from me and stepped out of my arms. He stood facing the field once more, his hands clenched tightly into fists. “You do not say that you shall come with us. Only that Gimli and I shall make this voyage.”
He turned to look over his shoulder at me, faint starlight sparkling against the moisture in his eyes. “How can you ask such a thing of me? How can you ask me to sail to Valinor without you? It shall never be the promised paradise if you are not at my side.”
I stepped closer and took one of his tightly clenched fists into my hands, dropping a kiss to the hard white knuckles. “I told you, I have to have Faith. I might not be able to sail with you to Valinor, but maybe I’ll be waiting there for you after I’m gone. Even mortal souls are supposed to find paradise when they die, and the only paradise for me will be with you.” I forced a light grin. “I’d just like to see those Vala keep me out of Valinor to be standing on the shore waiting for you and Gimli when you arrive.” My expression turned serious again as I told him, “Besides, you have to go so that Gimli can come with you. He won’t be able to get there on his own, he’ll need you.”
His fist relaxed slightly. “Gimli shall be granted access to Valinor?”
“Yeah, so who’s to say I won’t? Besides, if something does happen to me, you’ll have Gimli to keep you company. Please, just promise me that no matter what, you won’t fade. Promise me you’ll build the world you’re meant to build and that you and Gimli will have your grand adventures. I need to know that I’m not going to interfere with how the story is meant to end. Please,” I pleaded.
He pulled me into his arms and pressed my face to his chest until I couldn’t see his own any more. For several moments, he simply held me, until I didn’t think he was going to answer me.
“Very well,” he whispered. “You have my solemn word that I shall not fade upon your death. But I cannot promise not to mourn your passing for the rest of my days.”
I pulled away from him and tugged his hand lightly towards the White City. “Hey, enough of this gloom and doom talk. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that for all I supposedly know about what’s going to happen, nothing is set in stone or absolute. We’ve only got here and now. So let’s enjoy it.”
He smiled slightly as our fingers entwined and he followed me towards the gate, but I was determined to see that smile grow.
When we reached the gates, Legolas gave several low whistles and Arod appeared before us. He lightly stroked the gelding’s neck, speaking soft elvish words to him before he turned and offered me a hand to help me up.
I almost refused the offer, but then realized as tired as I was, I was liable to end up on my ass in the dirt if I tried to swing myself into the saddle. Moving closer, Legolas shifted his hands and lightly grasped my waist, easily lifting me into the saddle before he sprang up behind me.
Legolas then surprised me by not reaching around me for the reins, instead settling his hands on my hips and patiently waiting for me.
I shook my head as I took the reins. “Only male I know who doesn’t insist on doing all the driving.”
With a squeeze of my heels, Arod started forward on the winding path up the levels of the city.
“What do you mean by driving? By your wording I take your meaning to be something other than driving a carriage or wagon pulled by horses,” Legolas wondered behind me.
“Yeah, it’s something from my world. Cars are the means of transportation there—think metal carriage that isn’t powered by horses. And though my world, my country in particular, likes to think that we’re all about women’s equality, men still have hang-ups about some things, and letting women drive is one of them. I guess they feel they’ve given enough ground to women’s liberation and feel like they have to hang on to being the masters of a few things.”
I could feel Legolas shrug behind me. “It matters not who ‘drives,’ as you say; you are the one who knows this city.” He waited a beat and then asked, “Least I assume you have a destination in mind? We could find a tent to shelter us on the field, as many others shall this night. I had merely assumed you had been given your own quarters within the city.”
“Yeah, I’ve got rooms in the citadel,” I replied with a dark laugh, remembering when I’d last been in them. “And while I can sleep on the ground as well as any man, I’m not going to turn down a warm bed. And a bath.” Although I will make sure that damned door can’t be locked again from the outside!
“Where is your mount, Elaina?” Legolas eventually asked as we neared the third level.
“He’s still up in the stables near the citadel. I didn’t have time to get him after the battle through last night and before the Rohirrim showed up this morning and we all were called onto the field.”
“Tell me what has occurred since you departed,” Legolas pressed, his hand sliding around to my stomach.
I dropped one hand to fold over his, glad for the cover of darkness and for the fact that the upper levels of the city seemed nearly abandoned. Most of the soldiers were still on the field helping to settle the Rangers and Rohirrim, helping to clear the debris in the first level, or caring for the wounded. At daylight, I knew the momentous task of clearing the dead from the field would begin.
My fingers trailed across the hand spanning my stomach as I briefly explained the highlights of the days since I’d had to leave with Gandalf.
“What about you?” I asked when I’d finished my tale. “I know most of what happened, I guess, but where’s Gimli? I saw Aragorn and his men on the field, but I haven’t seen Gimli yet.”
Legolas chuckled, “Aragorn had explained to us that you met them upon the field shortly after we had debarked the ships, but Gimli was very anxious to face battle. He was most unhappy and unsettled upon the ship, and quite eager to ply his axe against the Enemy upon solid ground. After we found Aragorn some time ago, and he explained having seen you earlier in the day, I left to seek you on the field, but Gimli pleaded a greater need to sate his thirst and left in search of a tavern that might still have a supply of ale. He did ask that I send his regards and well wishes for a restful night.”
I grinned and chuckled ruefully at Legolas’s wording. “Not quite how Gimli put things was it?”
“Nay,” Legolas laughed merrily. “T’was not how he worded it, no. I think our helpful dwarf was ensuring we would have time alone together once I had found you.”
He pulled against my stomach as he spoke, tugging me backwards until my back was flush against his chest. And I sighed contentedly at the mixture of tension and comfort the closeness created.
“I think I owe that dwarf a drink,” I murmured, surprised by the huskiness of my voice.
We rode in comfortable silence the rest of the way to the citadel stables.
Legolas slipped down first, holding out his hand to help me down. Instead of swinging my leg over Arod’s rump, I swung it over his neck and slid down towards Legolas facing him. But the instant my feet touched the ground, I kept sliding. Only Legolas’s quick grip on my waist held me upright as my legs tried to buckle beneath me.
“Elaina?” Legolas gasped, concern and fear immediately flooding his face.
I braced my hands on his arms and willed my legs awake again. Once they accepted my weight, I smiled and assured my worried elf. “I’m fine, really. It’s just been twenty-four hours straight of battle, and I don’t know how long since I actually slept. My muscles are just weary.”
He looked unconvinced and wrapped an arm around my waist once more to help me into the stables, plunking me down forcibly on an overturned bucket with a demand to “stay” as he placed Arod in a stall next to Lightfoot and quickly fed both horses.
I waited patiently, my eyes closing dozily as I listened to the barely audible shuffles of him moving around the stables.
Suddenly, I was lifted into strong arms. “What the—?” I gasped, my eyes snapping open to see that Legolas had scooped me up and was carrying me out of the stables towards the citadel. “Put me down, I can walk,” I demanded, but the command sounded weak even to my ears.
“You are exhausted and can barely stand,” Legolas replied, not slowing one bit. “You are so exhausted, you did not even fight me when I sat you down and told you to stay.”
I glanced away, slightly embarrassed to be carried like a child. “I’m not exactly light,” I mumbled.
Legolas laughed merrily. “Even dressed in chainmail you do not weigh more than a pittance. And as you said, you have fought in battle for a night and a day, and into another night. I fought only a day and into the night. I am more than capable of carrying you, Elaina love. Allow me this simple act of caring for you.”
My eyes had been turned away, but I stole a glance back at him to see his absolute sincerity. And from how much ground he was able to cover—even while carrying me—I must not have been too much of a burden. At least to an elf.
As he walked into the citadel, we did pass the curious but ever silent Citadel Guards. They no doubt wondered what an elf was doing carting a woman around, but thankfully were too polite or too intimidated to ask questions. I gave Legolas directions, and soon we had reached the quarters I’d been locked into more than twenty-four hours before. I did demand Legolas set me down at the door, thankful that my previous guard was gone—likely called away to the battle. A large skeleton key was still in the keyhole, so I unlocked the door and took the key inside the room with me.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m dying for a bath,” I told Legolas as I turned around and gestured to my blood covered clothes.
Legolas glanced down at himself, stained likewise, though to a far lesser degree since he’d been on a horse above most of the carnage. “A splendid idea,” he chuckled, stepping closer and running a single finger down the side of my cheek. I had no doubt it was covered in blood and grime.
“Ahem,” I cleared my throat awkwardly, suddenly very aware that we were both alone in my room and just what my intentions for him to spend the night meant. “Maybe I should bathe first and then you can.” At his knowing grin, I lifted my chin and shot back, “Otherwise we’re liable to never leave that bathroom, and I do eventually intend to sleep in that bed.”
“Of course,” he demurred, that knowing smile still in place. Where had my blushing elf gone? “You are quite right, besides, sleep is what you need most.” His face turned serious at his last utterance.
I walked past him, dropping my weapons, chainmail, and vest, and grabbing my pack from the bedside, thankful that I had at least one more set of clean, unstained clothes within it. As I brushed by Legolas, I tossed over my shoulder at him, “Sleep will come eventually; a bath’s all I need to wake right up.”
After I had bathed—and refilled the tub with fresh, clean water—I stood naked looking through my pack, trying to decide what to put on. Some sort of lingerie probably would have been appropriate, but I’d never been the type. Not that they had those sorts of garments here anyway.
Eventually, I settled for pulling my last unstained—and unripped—shirt on and leaving the ties open. The shirt opened in a V between the valley of my breasts when it was untied, and the tails reached just down to my thighs.
Shouldering my pack again, I opened the door to the bathroom and walked back into the more spacious bedroom. Legolas had been standing out on the open balcony, but reentered the room when he heard the bathroom door open. He’d removed his dark green jerkin and slipped his boots off. Standing barefoot in only his pants and his loose, white linen shirt.
He smiled as he stared at me, and I suddenly felt shy. His look was more intense than ones I’d received from men when I’d been standing without a stitch of clothing on.
“I, ah, ran fresh water into the tub for you. It was pretty dirty by the time I was done.”
My head dipped shyly down as I spoke, but I could hear Legolas slowly walk forward.
He gently took my hand, and lightly pressed a kiss to the palm. “I thank you for caring for my needs,” he whispered, and then walked past me into the bathroom.
Once the door had shut, I released the breath I’d been holding, and then dropped my pack next to the bed again and stepped out onto the balcony. There was still a remnant of panic at being in this room again, but stepping out onto the balcony helped. As did being able to see the sky and stars.
It was strange to realize how much I’d missed the stars and sky in those days and nights when the Enemy’s cloud had blanketed the sky like a canvas. Such simple pleasures as stargazing do something to infinitely settle my soul. Although, I supposed that had more to do with who I was able to see this night, than what.
“Your hair seems almost brown or black bathed only in moonlight,” Legolas said behind me.
I turned around, leaned back against the balcony wall, and observed him leaning against the doorway to the balcony as we stared at each other. He’d only pulled on a clean pair of pants, his slick hair was unbraided and falling over his shoulders in loose waves darkened to an amber wheat by the water.
Irrational nervousness suddenly filled me as I gazed across the space separating us. But Legolas merely waited, letting me gaze at him and calm my nerves. When he held a hand out to me, I stepped forward and placed my own in his, letting him draw me closer.
His gaze drifted down, but I was surprised by the frown that suddenly crossed his face. “What is this?” he asked, his fingers gently probing between the valley of my breasts. I looked down to see what had caught his attention.
“Oh, I cut myself trying to get out of a dress,” I muttered.
“You cut your way out of a dress?” he repeated, his brows skyrocketing at that.
I explained with a sigh. “It’s a long story, but Lord Denethor was afraid I’d ride out to battle like I’d ridden with the Dol Amroth cavalry before, so he had a soldier lock me in my room. He was trying to do what he thought was right, I guess, keeping a woman out of battle, but when I got locked in here, I kinda freaked out and had a full-blown panic attack. Then I couldn’t breathe in that stupid dress so I had to cut it off. And when I finally got out, I went down to the battle anyway.” I shrugged again. “It’s not a big deal.”
His fingers traced one of the visible scabs as he closed his eyes, a feeling of pain emanating from him. “And this too you had to bear alone,” he whispered.
My hand caressed his cheek as I assured him, “There wasn’t anything you could have done. It was just a stupid reaction on my part. I thought I was past having all-out panic attacks like that, but it just happened. No big deal. It’s done.”
He didn’t respond, just stared down at the scab as he traced it.
Eventually, his eyes came back to mine as he motioned back into the room. “Come. You are exhausted and in need of rest. I would hold you for the night as you sleep, or if you would rather, I would be contented with merely watching you sleep. My heart has ached for such simple pleasures.” I smiled at his phrasing nearly identical to my earlier thoughts about the stars.
But I stepped past him and walked to the bed, gathering my shirt at the hem and crossing my arms as I pulled it over my head and tossed it aside. I shook my head to resettle the gentle damp curls of my hair, and turned back to face Legolas.
“No. No remorse. I don’t want there to be any regrets between us. No more waiting. I know what I want, and so do you. And there will still be plenty of night left for sleeping when we’re done.” I backed up as I spoke, feeling the edge of the bed press into my back and having to jump slightly to sit on top of the tall bed. With one hand held out in invitation, this time I waited for Legolas to come to me.
A hungry look flashed in his eyes, and then a myriad of other emotions I couldn’t name fleeting by too quickly to catch. But there was no refusal in his gaze. He stepped closer and placed his hand in mine, letting me pull him between my open legs as I made room for him, my feet curling around him to press lightly against his calves.
I let my hands trail up from his hips, lightly stroking the smooth skin of his sides and the flat planes and dips of his stomach, letting my eyes drift across the bared expanse of his muscled chest for the first time. Only my single dog tag on its chain filled that expanse of smooth pale skin.
My eyes trailed across the canvas before me, noting the sleek muscle that was normally so well hidden by his layers of clothing. Legolas was sleek and lean—like most elves I’d seen—yet his muscle was more toned and defined than others. Years of archery had sculpted the curve of his biceps and the arch of the pectoral muscles in his chest. My feet slid up and down his calves, muscles just as well defined and had carried him across the plains of Rohan so surely.
My own body was well toned and muscled from my years in the military and on the force—toned even more acutely since my arrival in Middle-earth—but it was his skin that caught my eyes. So different from my own. So smooth, pale … and perfect. Mine was littered with scars, telling the stories of all I’d seen and done. But Legolas’s was unblemished. Hiding all that he had witnessed and experienced.
His body shuddered at my light touch, and satisfaction filled me at the response I’d elicited with only that light touch.
My gaze returned up to his face, and his eyes slowly opened as my hands stilled. His eyes. Those blue-gray orbs were the only tells of his lifetime—his experiences. They were a warrior’s eyes.
“No regrets?” he asked in a throaty cadence I’d never before heard from him.
“No,” I answered, nothing but absolute certainty in my voice.
He reached for the drawstrings at his waist and slowly untied them, as though giving me time to change my mind. I only smiled in anticipation, sliding slowly backwards on the bed as he stepped out of his pants, carefully placed one knee between my legs, and then crawled onto the bed after me.
Settling beside me on the bed, he gently trailed his fingertips across my hip and up the soft skin of my side. I shivered in response. With a satisfied look, Legolas dipped his head down and gently captured my lips with his. As he slowly deepened the kiss, sweeping his tongue languidly across my lower lip, I lost myself in the simple sensations of his lips tangling with mine.
My mind was so lost in the sensations that my body jumped when his hand returned to stroking my side, slipping up to cup the swell of one breast.
He smiled against my lips at my startled reaction and carefully touched the necklace Galadriel had given me as well as my other dog tag that still hung there.
“Ass,” I laughingly muttered back as his lips continued their increasingly heated assault against mine.
Deciding to return the favor, I let my fingers trail down the tightening muscles of his chest and stomach, edging around the crisp curls below. He sucked in a deep breath against my lips, and I smiled as I continued letting my fingers trail up and down the sensitive skin of his inner thigh, but not touching his stiffening length.
His lips descended again, a fevered urgency present that hadn’t been before as his hand kneaded against my breast.
My breathing quickened to shallow pants until I couldn’t stand the coy, teasing touches anymore and slid my hand up to firmly grasp his already partially raised length. He gasped once more against my mouth, and I eagerly slid my hand up and down as he stiffened in my grip.
His hand suddenly slid down from my breast to grasp my hip, pulling my pelvis up as he pressed his hips to mine gliding his length against my opening in a movement that was both teasing, and a promise. He shifted his weight as I gasped at the sensation of our hips creating that delicious friction, sliding over until his weight pressed down on me, pressing me into the mattress.
My breath caught at the sensation of being pinned—being trapped.
“No! Stop! Please! Get off! Get off me!” I gasped, pushing frantically at the shoulders looming over me.
As soon as the weight disappeared, I scrambled up, dragging a sheet with me to wrap protectively around my body.
I stumbled away, but stopped at the open balcony doors, realizing no one was stopping me or pursuing me.
“Oh my god,” I gasped, realizing where I was. And where I wasn’t. Clutching the sheet at my chest, I covered my eyes with the other hand in mortification. “I’m so sorry, Legolas. If I never have another panic attack, it’ll be too soon.”
Silence met me, so I risked a glance over my shoulder. Legolas was still sitting on the bed, the covers pulled over his hips. His eyes stared at me with a helpless look in them. And it just made me feel guiltier.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered again in a strangled voice, but staying planted where I was.
“Do you fear me?” he asked in an almost frightened tone, his voice cracking and barely audible.
“No!” I gasped, turning and taking a desperate step towards him. “It’s not you, it’s me. I just—I felt your weight pressing me down, bringing back a flood of memories, and I panicked.”
A look that was one part understanding and two parts horror suddenly crossed his face, yet he held his hand out to me, inviting me to come to him, but carefully not forcing or pressuring me.
I closed my eyes, mortified and embarrassed by my unexpected, but not altogether surprising reaction. Yet I stepped forward with open eyes and steadfast resolve. I’d told Legolas everything else about my captivity in North Korea, and he’d never shied away from my ugly past. I only prayed he wouldn’t now.
With my hand in his, I let him pull me down to sit beside him, though he kept a careful distance between us, not crowding me. We sat quietly side by side for several moments; the only movement was Legolas’s fingers slowly stroking mine.
I realized he was waiting for me to speak when I was comfortable.
“I hadn’t thought that it would be a problem. Certainly not with you. But it still brought back those memories from being in North Korea.”
“They forced themselves on you?” he asked in a pained and strangled voice.
I glanced over to see his tear-filled eyes focused on me.
“Rape,” I spit out the word, “is a common device in the prisoner interrogation and torture of women.” I shrugged. “We’re taught to expect it as female soldiers if we’re caught, and it was just one more tool of their torture while I was there, but it was harder to live with once I escaped. Somehow harder to forget than the rest once I’d returned. The physical stuff is easier acknowledge as just the marks of being a prisoner, but rape—it messes with your mind more than they ever prepare you for.”
We sat silently again.
“I would give you as much time as you require,” Legolas whispered. “An elf would surely have faded from such atrocities. Your strength astounds me. And I am more than willing to give you what time you require until you are comfortable with the thought of my touch.”
“You’re not put off by the thought that I’m sullied?” I whispered.
He carefully turned my chin with one finger, careful not to seem overpowering. “Say not such things. As I told, your strength astounds me. You have suffered such griefs, yet you have not broken. Each time you smile seems as a miracle to me.”
I stood and walked a few steps away, the sheet still clutched at my chest. “Why do you have to be so perfect?” I cried in frustration, swiping angrily at tears threatening to fall.
“Pardon?” he asked in surprise.
Spinning around, I gestured wildly with my hand. “Why do you have to be so goddamned perfect? Always say the right thing. I was raped, and I was no virgin before that anyway. Or even after. I’ve been with more men than I care to remember.”
Legolas stood as well, wrapping the duvet around his hips. “You have made no attempt to hide your past from me. I understand your world is not as Middle-earth, and even here, I know mortals are not as elves in their customs. Yet I know your heart, I know it belongs to no other. I can feel your love for me.”
I blinked back tears and turned away, only feeling my emotions further enflame at his words. “No,” I bit out in scathing sarcastic tones, “you’re the perfect one who never frivolously slept with anyone, because you were too pure for such things. Not like me.”
Legolas growled in frustration and I could hear him pacing behind me. “You think me perfect? Yes, I waited for you, for no other before you had tempted me in my long years. Yet none of my feelings now are perfect. What I would give to have the men who so harmed you within my grasp. I would give much to tear their bodies to pieces for their atrocious crimes. And the other men who have known your touch? Such jealousy fills my heart at the thought of those faceless men having carnal knowledge of your body. If I could erase their memories of you—of your memories for any male save myself, I would do so in an instant!”
I’d turned to watch him pace, one hand clenching the duvet at his waist and his free hand tightly clenching into an angry fist as he spoke.
But his words only brought a shuddering gasp to my lips as my emotions plummeted further, my guilt and self-hatred growing. So I turned to stand alone in the doorway to the balcony, my arms wrapped around body as I held myself apart from Legolas, and struggled to hold myself together.
Though I choked back the sob in my throat, Legolas heard and let out a frustrated sigh.
“Ai! I am only making matters worse,” he sighed.
I heard him step up behind me, and was surprised when he wrapped his arms around me, his arms spanning my collarbone in a now familiar manner.
“How can you stand to touch me?” I whispered miserably.
His arms tightened. “I need to feel you in my arms more than anything at this moment. It eases the ache in my heart. I do not wish to quarrel. Least of all with you.”
I stood stiffly, but Legolas said no more, simply holding my back against his chest. After a while, I relaxed and leaned back against him.
“I’m so sorry, Legolas,” I whispered yet again. I was sorry for everything. Sorry for my past, sorry for who I was, and even sorry for picking fights.
He bent down behind me and whispered in my ear, “No. No regrets, remember? We cannot change the choices made, nor can I change the petty jealousies of my heart. But we can move forward together. The choices yet to make are all we can control.”
“I know. You’re right,” I sighed.
“I will wait for you. I would wait for all time for you,” he whispered against my ear.
Pulling away from his grasp, I turned to face him again. “No. No more waiting. I want to be your wife now, that is, if I haven’t ruined things and you could still want me.”
He reached out to gently trail a tapered finger along a scar on my collarbone. “Ever I want you. But I would not risk another such reaction from you.” As he spoke, his eyes trailed his finger, a small sad smile touching his lips.
Grasping the hand at my collarbone, I pressed it there, and walked to the bed again, leading Legolas with me. At the bed, I turned and pressed him down onto the mattress again until he was sitting and looking up at me expectantly. Releasing my grip on my sheet, I tossed it onto the foot of the bed. Legolas watched me raptly with that hungry look in his eyes, but his hands were clenched tightly against his thighs.
With a smile at his restraint, I grasped his shoulders and then straddled his hips, kneeling over the tight and clenched muscles of his legs. His hands came up to rest on my hips as his breathing became shallow.
I touched my fingers softly to his lips, grinning when he shuddered and closed his eyes, his lips gently nipping at the tips of my fingers.
My own breathing became shallow again, the previous disruption to our earlier heated emotions seeming to melt away.
“If you can handle allowing me to remain on top, I think I’ll be just fine,” I told him, surprised by how quickly that husky tone had returned.
“Are you certain?”
I nodded. “The only way to keep my past from having any grip on me is to keep moving away from it and into the future. I won’t let it keep holding me back. If you can handle this position, I’ll be okay,” I told him, staring down into his eyes and waiting for his decision.
His fingers dug almost painfully into my hips as I settled my weight against him. “It shall be a hardship, but I shall endeavor to endure,” he answered in a tight voice and with an emotionless face, but his eyes betrayed him, twinkling with mirth.
Ever so slowly, he edged back in the bed until he was lying in the middle, his head slightly elevated by the pillows.
He deliberately removed his hands from my hips and laced them behind his head, the muscles of his biceps twitching with the effort to leave them in place.
“I am at your disposal,” he said, though his voice was tight with the effort. Yet the amused twinkle remained.
I glanced down at the taut muscle exposed for my eyes. It almost seemed to quiver beneath me. My hands carefully unwrapped the duvet still tucked around his hips, grinning with satisfaction when he eagerly lifted his hips to help me bare him.
With a careful caress, I stroked the length still stiff and rigid, stroking the fine dusting of light blond curls at his base.
“Wait,” he said, and I paused my hands, looking at him curiously as he reached over the edge of the bed and grabbed the green velvet dress I’d worn the previous night and left discarded on the floor. He paused at the sight of the raggedly cut fabric, lifting an arched brow at me, but continued turning the dress over at my shrug. Finally, he pulled the gold cord from the waist, and held it in his hands. I tilted my head, wondering naughtily if he had something kinky in mind. But he laced his left hand with my right, palm to palm, and somehow managed to knot the cord around our joined hands with only the use of his right hand.
“We shall do this in accordance to your people’s custom,” he said, placing his free hand behind his head again.
“You want to handfast?” I realized. At his nod, I continued, “It shocks me that you could even still want me, Legolas,” I whispered, squeezing my fingers around our joined hands and running my other hand once more along his tightening length.
His head had shot back with a hiss at my touch, but he jerked his head down again to stare at me intently, his eyes darkened to a stormy blue with his lust.
“Always,” his graveled voice promised.
“Always,” I repeated, lifting myself up on my knees and then gently and slowly lowering myself over his hips.
Our hissed breaths escaped in unison, both our heads thrown back at the shockingly intense sensations. Legolas had removed his free hand from behind his head, only to wrap it around an upright in the headboard, the dark wood creaking audibly under his grip, yet the hand grasping mine remained soft and gentle as I braced against it on the mattress near his head.
When I’d finally lowered my weight in excruciating care and slowness, I stilled my body, panting with the effort, but needing to allow my body time to adjust to Legolas’s girth and length. I was already wet with desire, more than coating Legolas’s length within me in preparation, but I was tight, so many months having passed since I’d been with a man—and even longer since I’d been with a man of Legolas’s size. But I shook those thoughts from my mind, focusing on relaxing my body until it more readily accepted the intrusion.
My muscles spasmed involuntarily around him, and Legolas gasped something in elvish, his head still thrown back and eyes tightly shut.
My barriers were now non-existent, and fervent words and thoughts in elvish washed over me, followed by a feeling akin to worship and an image of me kneeling over him, my head tipped back with my red curls tumbling over my back, my free hand braced lightly on his side. I opened my eyes and stared back down into Legolas’s intense gaze, holding it with my own intensity.
“Touch me,” I whispered. “I want your hands on me. Don’t hold back.”
“Are you certain?” he asked, though his hand loosened slightly in his death-grip on the headboard.
I brought our joined hands up to my chest, skimming his knuckles across the tops of my breasts and then rocked my hips slightly, giving them a little twist at the end. “God yes,” I answered.
He groaned, but his hand instantly molded to my torso, skimming up my side, and caressing the sides of my breast with his palm. His left hand squeezed around my right, his fingers gently massaging the back of my hand before he tugged it down to his lips, pressing gently kisses there.
The air caught in my throat as I sped up the rhythm of my hips, rocking against him with increasing insistency. Elvish words continued to fall softly from his lips before he tugged on our joined hands, guiding my upper body down with his free hand on my neck until he could raise up to capture my lips once more.
Between the movement of our joined hips, and the fevered demand in his kisses, I was soon breathless, my body rocking with increasing fervor as I sat up and leaned back away from Legolas, needing to free my lips and catch my breath.
But Legolas wasn’t going to let me escape so easily. He shifted our joined hands behind me, giving me something to lean back on and brace against as I arched my back, thrusting my chest forward. He sat up and curled forward, his free hand fisting in my loose hair as he leaned forward and trailed his lips down my neck.
The new position changed where his length stroked me, making me gasp all the more. It also allowed Legolas more room to rock his own hips against mine, transitioning himself from passively following my dance, to actively leading it as he lifted his hips and thrust against me. His lips trailed down to one breast, his lips and teeth locking around the tight nipple as he circled it torturously with his tongue.
I let him have the lead, sliding my legs around his back and leaning back further against both hands now as I continued to rock in time with his thrusts.
Our tempo continued to increase to a fevered pitch, hurtling us towards the inevitable finish. But Legolas deliberately slowed his thrusts, chuckling when I groaned in frustration and tried to increase my own rhythm to maintain our pace.
Sliding his free hand up my back, he held onto my shoulder and pulled me up until I was sitting up straight against him chest-to-chest, staring down for my elevated position into his eyes. He slid our joined hands behind my back until I had to fold my arm behind me, allowing him to hold me wrapped in his arms.
With his free hand, he grasped my waist and helped me to raise and lower myself, but still slowed my pace from the frantic tempo I longed to set. Staring up into my eyes, he spoke reverent and loving words in elvish.
“I don’t understand,” I told him when he’d finished, deliberately slowing my movements.
A beautiful and satisfied smile graced his lips as he carefully repeated in Westron. “I choose you, Elaina, for all eternity. My life to your life, entwined throughout all time. I bind myself to you hröa and fëa. Body and soul.”
I had stilled my movements as he spoke, but I began moving in a gentle circular motion with my hips as he finished, trailing my thumb across his bottom lip as I met his loving gaze.
I didn’t know if there were specific words I was supposed to say in return, but as I stared into his lust and love darkened eyes, words came easily to my lips, pouring out strangely enough in Silva, the language of my father’s people. “I take you, Legolas, as my mate. Mine alone, for now until the end of time. I give to you in return all that I am. My soul within you, and yours within me. I bind all that you are to me, and all that I am to you. Body and soul.” I lowered my lips to his and spoke against them in Westron, “Body and soul.”
His restraint finally shattered as he grasped my waist, moving me against him at the frantic tempo I’d longed for, all while thrusting deeply up to meet me. I was amazed at the sheer strength he used to help lift and lower my body against his hips, and only with the use of one hand. His lips moved hungrily against my own, alternating between consuming kisses and whispered words in elvish against my mouth.
I finally reached my peak, throwing my head back with a strangled cry as my body convulsed in jerky motions. But my orgasm triggered his own, and with three more hard thrusts and his lips fastened against my neck as he stifled his cry. He finally stilled beneath me, his body jerking as mine milked the last throes of passion from him.
Our joined hands were still wrapped behind my back, but with my free hand, I held his head to my breast, more whispered words in elvish falling from his lips as I stroked the back of his head, running my fingers through the silky lengths of his hair.
“You really do need to teach me Sindarin now. I think I understood maybe one word in twenty there,” I laughed in a shaky voice.
I felt him smile against my flesh before he finally pulled back, his lips turned up in a sleepy almost lazy grin. “Of course I shall teach you Sindarin, if you shall teach me the language you spoke. It was lovely.”
I shivered, partly at the cold air blowing across my sweaty skin, and partly at him wanting to know anything more about my father’s people. Still—”Maybe someday. It’s Silva, the language my father’s people speak. I’m not even sure why I spoke it. It just came out.”
Seeing my shiver, Legolas pulled the disarrayed sheets back up from the foot of the bed and covered us both, lying on our sides with our joined hands between us. He’d seemed intrigued by my explanation, but didn’t immediately address it.
“Do you wish me to close the door to the balcony?”
“No!” I cleared my throat and said more sedately, “No. Better not. I don’t think I could fall asleep in here if I didn’t know I could easily get outside.”
Amazingly, he accepted my strange demand in stride, only moving to tuck the blankets tighter around my body.
“Your father’s people speak a language called Silva?” At my nod he continued, “It seems achingly similar to the language we speak in Mirkwood, yet I cannot quite catch the words with my ear.”
“It doesn’t sound like Sindarin to me,” I told him, trying to remember the few Sindarin words I knew.
“Nay, not Sindarin, but Silvan. My people long spoke Silvan before we learned Sindarin to communicate with other elves, but we still use Silvan much at home, especially in ceremony.”
“And it sounds like Silva?”
“Similar, but not the same.” He paused and then said something, presumably in Silvan.
I popped up on my elbow and looked down at him. “You’re right. My brain feels like it should almost know that, but I can’t quite catch it. What did you say?”
“I love you.”
With a grin, I lowered myself back to the bed, pushing the matter away for the moment. There would be time to dwell on the eerie similarities later.
“So, we’re married now?”
He chuckled at my words and kissed our joined hands. “Indeed. We are now wed. Perhaps not how I had imagined it, but no imagining could have done this binding justice.”
I chose to ignore the stops and starts we’d had along the way. “Yeah, it wasn’t like anything I’d imagined, either. But I have to say I’d recommend it over those silly church weddings any day.”
“‘Church?'” he repeated, his free hand reaching out to twirl a curl of my hair around his fingers.
“A place of worship where my people generally hold their wedding ceremonies.”
“Do you regret not having such a ceremony?”
“Naw. No way. I couldn’t have imagined anything better. A blend of your elvish customs and my mother’s Celtic ones. Perfect.”
With a silly happy smile, I told him, “You know, I could almost believe in fairytales.”
“‘Fairytales?'” he repeated.
I chuckled darkly and explained, “They had nothing to do with my father’s people—well, not really anyway, other than having these little fairies in them that are nothing like the real Fae—but they are stories humans in my world tell their children. They always start out with ‘Once upon a time,’ and then end with ‘And they all lived Happily Ever After.’ It’s usually about some helpless princess locked in a tower and or guarded by a dragon or witch or some other frightening thing, waiting for her dream prince to come along and rescue her from the dragon, or witch, or ogre. And it always ends with the prince triumphing over evil and riding away with the princess to live happily forever.”
I laughed as I remembered my mother’s versions. They were usually more Celtic influenced tales, and far darker. “Even though I could have only been two or so, I remember my mother telling me that the stories parents told their children about ‘Happily Ever After’ were cruel lies to tell children. That stories should never be ended with ‘Happily Ever After’ because that’s not where the story really ends. There’s always more, and she said it was rarely happy. She always said the best a story could have for an ending was to say, ‘and they lived happily from that day ’til this.’ She said you never knew what would happen after one story had ended.”
I looked back into Legolas’s curious eyes. He was obviously waiting patiently for me to come to my point. “I’m just saying that here and now, I can believe that there could be unending happiness in store for us. Not just happiness until this point in the story.”
“We shall be happy for as long as I have any say in the matter,” he assured me. “Though, I could never see you being as the ‘helpless princess’ you describe in these types of stories. Your own story would not tell of you waiting passively for your savior,” he added with a brow raised in challenge.
I laughed when I realized I had indeed just been “locked in a tower,” but he was right, I hadn’t waited for my prince to rescue me. I fought a girlish giggle as I said, “No, maybe not, but my handsome prince did still come.”
“Indeed,” he laughed.
And then it hit me. “Oh god, you really are a prince, too. Does that make me a princess?” I gasped, popping up on my elbow.
But Legolas laughed even harder at me, rolling onto his back and dragging our bound hands across his chest with him. “One would think some horror has just befallen you from the look on your face. Tis not so bad a thing, is it?”
I flopped down on my stomach, my arm still stretched across his chest as I buried my head in my pillow. “Yes,” I said, the sound coming out muffled, so I turned my head to face his laughing eyes and continued. “I’ve avoided my father and that political bullshit for most of my life, and now, I fall smack dab in the middle of it in one night.”
Legolas tugged on our joined hands and drug my upper body partially over his chest until I was looking down into his eyes. “I do not understand,” he said. “You speak of your father and ‘political bullshit,’ what exactly do you speak of?”
I sighed, not really wanting to get into it, but feeling like Legolas had more than the right to know at least the broad strokes of my homicidal family now. I dropped back onto his chest and stared blankly at the stone wall as I spoke into the still warm skin of his chest. “It’s why my father found my mother and had a child with her. She was descended from one of the oldest Celtic families, one that was supposed to have had a lot of old and powerful magic in its history. Some of it was Fae magic, from times throughout history when the Fae stole daughters of our line and impregnated them. I don’t remember all the details, but my mother’s family was supposed to have been quite powerful. They were always at war with the Fae, and usually got their daughters back before they gave birth, but the deed was done so to speak, and Fae blood was introduced into the family bloodline. But anyway, there was other magic in our family too, Druid magic was the most powerful in our line, and it was said that mixing the Fae blood with the Druid and other magics made our family extremely powerful for a time. Powerful enough that even the Fae had to back off and avoided them. An uneasy treaty or at least an informal truce was formed, and they left each other alone for hundreds and hundreds of years. But in the recent generations of my mother’s family, the blood and magic had weakened.
“I guess my father thought infusing more Fae blood with my mother’s bloodline would recreate the powerful magic that it had produced in the past.” I shrugged absently. “But it didn’t work like he’d planned. I was born, and while I have some Fae attributes—I can speak Silva, feel magic, and a few other things, none of it was the ability to really perform magic like he’d hoped.”
“But you can feel emotion and hear thoughts,” Legolas pointed out, his chest rumbling beneath my ear and cheek.
“Yeah, but that’s not a Fae trait. Not magic. My grandmother once said she thought it might trace back to the Druid part of her line, but I don’t know.”
“Why was your father so eager to have offspring capable of strong magic?”
“To kill his father.”
I felt Legolas’s startled jerk beneath me, so I continued. “My grandfather is, I guess you’d say, king, or emperor of the Fae, and my father covets his position. But matching strength for strength, my grandfather’s much stronger since he’s so old. His reign has lasted longer than any other Fae before him.”
“Then you are a princess in your own right,” Legolas said in a shocked voice.
I braced my free hand on the mattress and propped myself up to look down into his eyes as I shook my head. “No. That’s not how the Fae do things. Fae are immortal just like elves are, but like I said, they’re a brutal and violent race. Their rule isn’t decided by bloodline, but by strength alone. The new ruler isn’t chosen by birthright, he takes it by assassination. I’m merely descended from the current king; it doesn’t make me anything to him or his reign. Not that he even knows his wayward son has a daughter. And my grandfather’ll rule until he’s killed, maybe by my father—who’s certainly ruthless and conniving enough—or eventually by some other Fairy.”
He stared up at me in shock. “A most brutal race,” he finally observed in a quiet tone. “But you would not have to worry about such violent animosities or struggles amongst my kindred. We do not even have to remain in Mirkwood, as I once told you. We can settle in any land you would prefer.”
I pulled away and laid on my side again, my mind lost in memories of my father and his machinations to become the new ruler of the Fae, wondering if I was really so different from him. I was a soldier. I’d killed men and many different creatures now.
Legolas tugged on my hand bound with his to get my attention, even placing another kiss on my knuckles. “You are nothing like your father nor his kindred. There is nothing violent nor brutal in your spirit. You are a warrior, yes, but no different from elven warriors. You fight to protect, but mourn those who must be slain in battle. That you possess such kindness and love in your heart is all the more precious to me now. I know it was difficult to speak of, but I thank you for telling me more of your father’s people.”
Relaxing at his words, I smiled and said, “Thank you for always saying the right things and knowing just what’s bothering me.”
He smiled devilishly. “It does not anger you now that you are wed to so perfect an ellon?”
Reaching under the covers, I poked his side, watching him jump away. “I’m never going to live that down, am I? Just try not to be too perfect, or I’ll just keep remembering how far from perfect I am.”
With a grin, he let the knuckles of his hand bound to mine trail across the tops of my breasts. “Nay, you are perfect for me,” he assured me.
I watched a drop of sweat race down his shoulder and across his pec muscle, fighting the urge to reach over and lick the moisture away. He must have seen something of the desire in my eyes though, for he grinned arrogantly and pressed a kiss to my bare shoulder.
Looking back into his eyes, I told him with wonder, “I can hardly believe you had been celibate your whole life. You certainly didn’t act or move like it.”
He rolled over and laughed happily to the ceiling. Still chuckling, he rolled back to me and said, “I had not shared my body before, but I was not ignorant to the act. When I came of age, my lord father explained to me the ways of joinings, and of course, I have witnessed the act countless time with the animals of the forest. Yet I admit, my lord father’s teachings were nothing for the actual experience.”
I leaned up on my elbow to stare down at him. “Well, you could have fooled me. That was—I’ve never experienced anything like that, Legolas.” And I never had. There was something about sex when this kind of love was involved that made every movement and sensation deeper.
My body started to heat again in response.
Legolas saw the passion rising in my eyes and gave that self-satisfied chuckle again. “The hour is late and you have been long without sleep and greatly taxed by battle and now our joining and binding. You should rest, Elaina love.”
I shook my head and pushed at our joined hands until he’d rolled onto his back once more, noting that he easily rolled over, not fighting me in the slightest despite what he’d said. “I’m not that tired. Not yet.” My free hand stroked down his flat stomach and found him already hard and waiting. “And neither are you,” I told him with a grin, settling easily over him once more.
We did sleep eventually, but by then, we were both well exhausted.
A/N: Let me know what you think! 😉