In Your Image

by Menel

Chapter 6. The Discovery

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Eldarion shifted from one foot to the other, waiting impatiently for the Elven Prince. *Where is that Elf?* he thought to himself. Surely Legolas would not miss his own sister's performance. He looked at Onela, who was waiting with a group of Greenwood Elves at the center of the concert hall and shrugged his shoulders helplessly. Onela smiled understandingly and spoke quietly to the Elves around her. They moved to take their places. It would not do to keep the audience waiting any longer. They would have to begin without Legolas.

The Prince remained where he was at one of the entrances to the circular concert hall. The hall had originally been one of the citadels of the White City, which had been destroyed long before the dawn of the Third Age. When his father had reunited the realms of Gondor and Arnor, he saw to it that the citadel was rebuilt. However, it was no longer needed as a fortress or line of defense for the White City and so it had been converted into a school dedicated solely to the arts. With its sweeping archways and carefully carved ceilings, it was ideal for musical and theatrical performances, carrying acoustics beautifully.

Eldarion stood beside the door's curtained arch. He knew that he should take his place, but decided to wait for the Elven Prince. Onela smiled at him again as her slender fingers began to pluck the strings of her silveren harp and soon its music filled the hall. King Elessar did not miss the secret exchange between his son and the daughter of Thranduil and he raised a questioning eyebrow at his wife. Arwen merely smiled. Elessar had discovered earlier that day that his son had mysteriously 'disappeared' while in the company of Lady Eleanor the previous evening. She had been most put out and had to be placated by the Queen of Gondor herself. The King had yet to find out the reason behind his son's disappearance, but suspected that it had something to do with a flaxen haired Elven Princess, who happened to playing at that very moment. Trusted sources had informed the King that the two of them had been virtually inseparable all day. This was an interesting development, indeed.

While it was true that the Crown Prince of Gondor and the Elven Princess of Greenwood had spent the majority of the day together, their topic of conversation had often been the Princess's errant younger brother. That morning, Legolas had woken Eldarion just before the break of dawn and they had returned to the White Tower, passing through the service area to dispose of their used blankets and pillows. Barra had already been up and about and she blushed furiously as the two Princes passed her hand in hand. Legolas had sealed a finger to his lips as he looked at her and she nodded shyly. She thought the two Princes to be the finest gentlemen at the celebration and was proud to be their accomplice.

They saw one another a few hours later at breakfast and Eldarion could feel a distinct change in their relationship. At first he thought he was imagining it, but the discreet brushes of hand and leg told him that it was not so. He caught himself openly staring at Legolas several times, forcing the Elf to lean over and whisper in his ear, "We shall have to work on your discretion." Eldarion had blushed, concentrating on buttering the bread in front of him. He did not miss the fact that Legolas left his hand on the Prince's leg and Eldarion was comforted by the gesture. Soon after breakfast Legolas had been caught up in the affairs of the Ithilien and Greenwood Elves, leaving his lover in the capable hands of his sister.

Eldarion enjoyed Onela's company immensely and found her to be a marvelous substitute for her absent brother. He was most impressed with her diplomatic skill, proving herself indeed to be the daughter of Thranduil. Throughout the morning, Lady Eleanor had regarded him coolly, still upset about the night before. Onela had come to his aid by saying to Orothor, "Our young friend needs assistance," inclining her head in Lady Eleanor's direction. "After all, royalty should look after each other, don't you think?"

Orothor had appeared bemused, but had replied, "But, of course." He then turned to Eldarion. "I have been in similar situations too often to count, as has Legolas. I shall appease your would-be bride if you see to it that my sister does not get herself into too much trouble today."

Eldarion smiled broadly. "That is more than a fair trade."

"You may not think so later," Orothor warned with laughing eyes.

"Off with you!" Onela had cried, playfully punching her brother in the arm.

Orothor danced away, expecting such a reaction. He bowed to them once he was at a safe distance, mocking the formal royal bow often presented to him in Thranduil's court. With an elegant sweep of his arm, he rose and went to attend to Lady Eleanor, whom he had found rather charming at the banquet the night before.

Eldarion soon discovered what Orothor had meant about his sister. Onela was playful and adventurous. She wished to see all that the celebration had to offer and did not limit her socializing to the royal stands. She enjoyed walking and being among the people, as well as cheering the competitors on at the combat arenas. Her energy was boundless and Eldarion found himself hard pressed to keep up with her.

The Prince would never forget the conversation they had while watching a puppet show at the fairgrounds. They had been discussing the differences in disposition between Men and Elves when Onela had suddenly remarked, "Of course, sexually we are not so different, although there are specific erogenous zones we possess that you do not."

Eldarion had choked on the apple he was eating. He was positively shocked by her directness. She spoke so conversationally, as if they were discussing hair or eye color and not Elven erogenous zones.

"Do you know where they are?" she asked.

"Ah . . . no," he replied, all eloquent thought fleeing from his mind. He could hardly believe he was continuing this thread of conversation, although he could not deny that she had piqued his curiosity.

"Well, our ears are very sensitive," she explained. "Particularly the point. So is the back of our spine and the shallow point at the base of our neck where our bones meet." She paused for a moment, a wicked smile on her face. "I thought this information might come in useful with your lover."

By now Eldarion could feel himself blushing to his ears. "My lover?" he repeated, certain he would die from the embarrassment.

Onela turned to face him, all playfulness gone from her face. Thus far, Eldarion had found her to be good-natured and unassuming, but now he was distinctly aware of the royal presence she brought to bear and the immense wisdom and age in her piercing blue eyes.

"I like you, Prince of Gondor," she told him. "I like you very much. You are good for my brother and I know that you will treat him as he deserves."

Eldarion was humbled by her words. Her approval meant the world to him, although he could not help wondering how she could possibly know.

"I am his sister," she said, as if reading his thoughts. "I know such things."

"Do others know?"

"I wouldn't think so," she answered. "Legolas has always been discreet in these matters. You could take some lessons from him," she added with a smile.

Eldarion blushed again. All of a sudden he felt like a mere child around her.

"Gimli, of course, has been encouraging it," Onela continued, "and I believe that Haldir may suspect, which would not surprise me, for he has been close to my brother for centuries, but I cannot be certain. Aside from those two . . ." the Princess trailed off with a shake of her head. "Orothor does not have any idea and I shall leave it to Legolas if and when he wishes to tell him."

Eldarion had nodded, absorbing all this information thoughtfully. He was grateful to have such a powerful ally. He watched Onela now as she began to sing and he smiled. Truly the Elves were gifted with song.

A featherlike touch ran up his spine and he shivered. Apparently, Elves were not the only beings to find this part of the body sensual.

"Have you missed me?" a seductive voice whispered in his ear.

The Prince feigned indifference. "Not at all," he replied nonchalantly.

There was a low chuckle behind him. "We shall see about that."

A hand settled on his waist, guiding him closer to the curtained door until the lower half of his body was covered by the curtain's folds. It then made its way further down, deftly undoing the laces on the Prince's breeches. The Elf can't possibly be serious, his mind told him, but the hand that slipped inside his pants confirmed otherwise. Eldarion had to choke back a moan as the Elf skillfully coaxed him to full hardness.

"Have you missed me now?" the Elf asked again, not pausing in his actions.

"No," came the strangled reply. The Prince's breathing had grown ragged and a hand flew out to grab the curtain by his side.

"Careful you don't destroy the curtain," the Elf teased.

The Prince closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on Onela's beautiful voice.

"[Open your eyes]," Legolas whispered, giving the Prince's shaft a slightly harder pull.

Eldarion obeyed instantly, his body on fire.

"Have you missed me now?" came the question again.

"No," was the same reply, although it was softer and weaker. The Prince could feel his resolve breaking. Just as he was reaching his peak, the Elf stopped. A low cry of anguish escaped him. Those sitting nearest to the door turned their heads in his direction. Eldarion nodded to them, his grip on the curtain threatening to pull it from its foundation.

"You are a tease!" he hissed under his breath.

The Elf was now leaning against the wall by the door with his arms crossed, watching his lover with laughing eyes.

"Do you miss me now?"

Eldarion gritted his teeth. His regal bearing refused to let him answer, though his cock wept for completion. Amused by the Prince's stubbornness, Legolas reached out and pulled him into the shadows, away from prying eyes. He resumed his former actions, while nibbling on the man's jaw.

"Do you miss me now?"

The Prince found himself thrusting into the Elf's talented hand, the fear that someone would walk out and discover them heightening his anxiety. "Yes," he choked.

Legolas captured his mouth in a searing kiss, finally granting the Prince his release. Eldarion cried his orgasm into the Elf's inviting mouth, their kiss muffling any sound. He collapsed against the Elf, exhausted. Legolas held him as his breathing slowed and logical thought returned to him.

"You are a wicked Elf," Eldarion said at last, keeping his eye on the open doorway and the light that poured through. He could practically feel the Elf's lips curve into a smile above him.

"Then you shall have to punish me later."

Eldarion lifted his head to look at his lover. "I shall indeed."

The Elf smiled, pulling out a cloth that he used to clean his hand. "I will go in and take my place at the end of this piece," he said. "Wait a few moments before following me."

Eldarion nodded, retying the laces on his breeches. He stopped the Elf as he was about to move, giving him a gentle kiss. "I *will* punish you later," he said softly.

"I look forward to it," the Elf replied, before disappearing through the doorway.

~*~*~*~

The dining arrangements for the second night of the celebration were of a far less formal nature than the previous evening's grand banquet. Not wishing to discomfort their guests by making them trek back to the main halls of the White Tower, dinner had been laid out under the stars in the spacious lawns of the citadel, which once upon a time would have served as a final battleground for the war fortress. The socializing was also less restrained, with guests moving freely from one table to another.

The Elves continued their musical performance under the glittering sky, the sight of the stars and the fresh night air inspiring them to ever-greater song and dance. As the night wore on, they began to receive fierce competition from the Dwarves, whose raucous drinking songs threatened to wake the dead. It was a sign of the times when the Ithilien Elves took up the challenge and began a round robin of song and drink with the Dwarves. Some Greenwood Elves soon joined their kin as Orothor did not seem to mind, indeed spurring on his fellow Elves to 'win' the competition.

Haldir watched these goings-on and shook his head, whispering in Legolas' ear as he did so. The Elven Prince laughed in return, slipping his arm through Haldir's and giving the Guardian's arm a comforting pat. The Lórien Elves were still the most traditional in mind and custom and such a sight appeared scandalous to them. Haldir knew that his beloved had played an instrumental role in changing the mindset of his people, as could best be seen among the Ithilien Elves. While he believed it was for the best, it reaffirmed his belief that he no longer belonged here. The Lórien Elves were fading. He looked at Legolas' profile and could not remember ever seeing such joy in the Prince before. He knew Legolas' time had not yet come.

Onela approached them and was greeted warmly by her brother and the Guardian.

"Your performance tonight was exquisite as always, dear sister," Legolas told her.

"Apparently not exquisite enough for you to arrive on time," she playfully scolded.

"Ah, yes," Legolas said sheepishly. "I have no excuse for my tardiness. I am truly sorry."

"Apology accepted." She looked in Eldarion's direction. The Prince was sitting at a table with Gimli and numerous glasses of ale were stacked between them. "I think we should attend to our young friend," she advised her brother. "He is on the losing end of a drinking match with Gimli and his tongue may become too loose for your liking." Onela arched a silveren eyebrow to emphasize her point and her brother understood.

"Excuse me, Haldir," Legolas said politely, disentangling his arm. "My sister is right. Eldarion is in need of some . . . assistance."

"Of course," the Guardian replied graciously. He and Onela exchanged knowing glances before she led her brother away.

"Well, well," Legolas said, when he and Onela reached the Dwarf's table. "What have we here?" he asked, with a pointed look in Gimli's direction.

"What does it look like?" Gimli replied, shooting the same pointed look back at the Elf.

"It looks like a dear friend of mine is using his high alcohol tolerance to take advantage of a young Prince."

"Nonsense!" the Dwarf exclaimed in mock surprise. "Why, it was young Eldarion here who suggested that we have a drink-off. How could I possibly refuse the future King of Gondor?"

"Politely," the Elf replied. "Though I forget that word is not in your vocabulary."

"At the very least," Onela interjected, "you could have warned Eldarion of your drinking prowess."

The Dwarf groaned. "The Elves are turning on me," he said to the mortal Prince. "Come, Eldarion. Do you feel I have taken advantage of you during our competition?"

"No, no," the Prince replied, vigorously shaking his head. "Not at all. But I don't understand." He looked at Legolas, a perplexed expression on his face. "Where does it all go? He is half my size."

The Elves and the Dwarf laughed.

"All right," Legolas said, moving to help Eldarion to his feet. "You have had enough for one night."

"I can do a few more rounds," the Prince protested.

"I have no doubt. But there are other, more enjoyable things you could be doing instead."

Eldarion's demeanor changed instantly and he nodded seriously. "I see your point."

"Well, well," Gimli said, mocking the Elf's earlier tone, "who is taking advantage of our young Prince now?"

Legolas shot him a warning glare, which the Dwarf merely returned with an expression of serenity worthy of an Elf.

Onela smiled at their silent antics; Eldarion was too inebriated to notice.

"It is a fair walk to the White Tower," she told her brother. "Perhaps you need some help in bringing our young friend there?"

"Oh, no. No," Eldarion protested. "I can walk perfectly fine." He took an unsteady step forward, immediately swaying into Legolas' arms again.

"Obviously," Legolas replied, amused.

"Here," Onela said, taking one of Eldarion's arms and moving on his other side to support him. "I shall help you."

Eldarion was appalled. "It's quite all right," he said quickly. "I can't let you help me in this way. It's not proper!"

Onela just laughed. "Lack of propriety is one of my endearing faults. Or so mother keeps telling me," she said, with a quick grin at her brother. "This is the practical solution, Eldarion. Now let me help you."

Eldarion looked at Legolas helplessly and the Elf nodded. With great reluctance he accepted Onela's proffered arm and the three of them made their way out of the spacious lawns. The Dwarf watched them with an overly satisfied smile on his face.

The King of Gondor also watched his son depart in the company of the two Elves and turned to his wife with a pleased smile. "It appears our son is following in the footsteps of his father," he told her in an approving tone.

"Yes," Arwen replied. "He is following in your footsteps, but he is walking a different path."

Aragorn missed the underlying meaning in his wife's words, too wrapped up in thoughts of uniting his kingdom with Thranduil's realm. It would be a powerful alliance, already aided by the support of Legolas and the Ithilien Elves. Yes, he thought. Eldarion's interest in Onela was a positive development.

~*~*~*~

The three friends slowly walked back to the White Tower. It was quite late and the streets of Minas Tirith were still, the silence broken by the occasional sound of a shutting window or closing door. They passed a tavern along the way, the bright lights burning inside indicating that the citizens of the city were also having their own merriment.

The two Elves listened to Eldarion's nonsensical rambling as they walked, his voice echoing loudly in the quiet streets.

"{Brother, you will have your hands full tonight}," Onela remarked over Eldarion's head.

"{I shall manage}" was Legolas' light reply.

Eldarion looked from one Elf to the other in confusion. "Was that Quenya?" he asked.

"Yes," Onela answered.

"Ah, I really ought to learn Quenya," he mused aloud.

"I thought you already tried?" Legolas asked.

"Hmm, I s'ppose." The Prince laughed. "But I really didn't make an effort," he confessed. "I found it tedious and my teacher exceedingly dull." They had reached the tower gates and the sentries on duty saluted them as they walked past. "But I would try again if you taught me," he told Legolas.

"If you wish to learn, then I will teach you."

Eldarion nodded, swaying slightly as they climbed the tower steps. "I'm not normally like this," he told the two Elves. "I'm very responsible when it comes to wine, ale and other types of alcohol. It's just that . . . I'm so very happy!"

Onela could not suppress a giggle. "Yes, Eldarion," she agreed. "You have much to be happy about," she said, winking at her brother.

They continued their walk down the hallways until they stopped outside Eldarion's room. The Prince suddenly looked at Legolas saying, "I still have to punish you!" he exclaimed.

Onela let out another laugh. "This is where I leave the two of you," she announced. She leaned in conspiratorially, saying to Eldarion, "I trust you will make use of my tips tonight?"

"Most definitely," the Prince replied, in an equally conspiratorial manner.

Legolas watched the exchange, an amused expression on his face. It was heartening to know that his sister approved and encouraged the relationship. Any support would help them if and when they decided to make their relationship public.

The Elven Prince caught sight of a silent figure at the end of the hall. He motioned for her to come forward. Barra approached them timidly, keeping her head bowed as she did so.

"Barra, is it not?" Legolas asked, confirming her name.

"Yes, my Lord."

"Barra, do you know the witchroot?"

"I don't think so," Barra replied uncertainly. "But the pantry is very well stocked. If it is common enough, I'm sure it would be there."

"It is quite common," Legolas assured her. "It is very good for," he paused, glancing at the swaying Prince, "easing the effects that come with alcohol."

"Who would need such a root?" Eldarion asked, wrapping his arms around Legolas' waist and resting his head on the Elf's shoulder.

Barra smiled and looked at the floor. It would be rude to laugh. Onela, however, did not think so.

"That is a splendid idea," she said in her lilting melodic voice. "I will go and prepare a tonic for our young Prince to drink. That way, he shan't have such a splitting headache in the morn." She turned to Barra. "If you could show me the way to the kitchen?"

"Yes, my Lady," Barra replied.

"I shall have her deliver the tonic when it is ready," Onela told Legolas. "Have a good night," she could not help adding, teasingly.

Legolas shook his head at his sister's innuendo. The mischievous streak in the family ran strongest in her. Supporting Eldarion with one arm, he opened the Prince's bedroom door. It appeared his punishment would have to wait. Eldarion had grown heavier in his arms and he was fairly certain that the Prince would pass out the minute he was laid on the large, comfortable bed. Legolas would do his best to hold his attention until Barra returned with the tonic. He was determined that Eldarion take it before falling asleep.

Legolas sat the Prince down on the side of the bed, ensuring that he remained upright. The Elf stood before him and began untying the laces of the Prince's tunic. Eldarion batted the Elf's hands away.

"I have been able to dress and undress myself for over twenty years," he said.

Legolas arched an eyebrow. "I would hope so," he replied. "Still . . ." The Elf ran a finger down the man's partially exposed chest. "I thought you might find it more pleasurable for me to undress you tonight."

Even in his drunken state, Eldarion could not miss the seductive note in the Elf's voice. Legolas was so good at this. He wondered who could have taught him such skill, or whether it had been innate. He lifted his eyes to the Elf, silently giving his permission.

The Elf undid the rest of the laces, raising Eldarion's arms in order to slip the tunic off. His white undershirt soon followed. The Prince lay down on the bed. Having Legolas take care of him was not such a bad thing, he thought hazily.

"Stay awake," came the Elf's warning voice.

"Mmmm," was the vague reply.

Eldarion was jolted to full consciousness by a sharp tug on his left leg. The Elf was removing his boots with an uncharacteristically rough touch. Legolas tossed them aside and stood up, hands on his hips as his eyes roamed over the beautiful body in front of him. He had left the Prince's breeches on and he wondered how long it would be before he would see a telling bulge forming between the mortal's legs. Eldarion craved the Elf's touch. Legolas' eyes glittered with the moonlight that shone through the darkened room.

"You are wearing far too much clothing for my liking," he told the Elf.

Legolas merely smiled, slowly untying the laces of his own tunic with care. The Prince was hypnotized by the deliberate movement of the Elf's graceful hands. He was reminded of Onela as she had played the harp earlier that evening. Her younger brother was also gifted with song, but the instruments Legolas played were the body in all its sensual beauty.

The Elf slipped the tunic over his head, his silveren hair falling in soft waves over his shoulders. He left his loose-fitting undershirt on, the untied laces teasingly exposing the firm chest underneath. He braced himself with his arms as he lowered himself on top of the Prince, their bodies' inches away from one another. The tension between them was electric. It was a game of self-control that Eldarion knew he would have to learn quickly, should he ever wish to best the Elf. He refrained from reaching up and crushing the Elf's body to his, instead firmly keeping his arms by his sides. He would not make the first move.

Legolas smiled at the Prince's behavior. Eldarion was proving to be a challenging lover, exactly the type he preferred. His silveren hair curtained their faces as he leaned in further to breathe the mortal's scent, ensuring that their skin never once made contact. Eldarion could feel wisps of the Elf's hair as it gently brushed against his shoulders and face. He shivered.

A knock at the door caught their attention. Eldarion groaned in annoyance, instinctively reaching up to prevent Legolas from moving, but the Elf had already stood up and was headed for the door. He sat back up on the bed facing the doorway, lifting his legs and crossing them underneath him as he did so. He knew that he probably looked more like a petulant little boy than a Crown Prince, but he did not care. He watched as Legolas opened the door and accepted a goblet from the pretty, blushing Barra. He thanked her and gave her further instructions, then closed the door and came back to the bed. Eldarion moved to the center of the bed, giving the Elf space to sit next him. Legolas' demeanor had changed entirely, taking on a parental quality as he handed the goblet to the Prince.

"Here," the Elf said. "Drink this."

Eldarion lifted the goblet to take a sniff of the sickly white liquid and wrinkled his nose. "It smells foul," he declared.

"It does not taste much better," Legolas replied. "Drink it quickly," he advised. "You will hardly taste a thing."

The Prince looked at him dubiously. As he placed the goblet to his lips, a wicked idea entered his mind. Smiling, he said thoughtfully, "I believe I have found a more pleasing way to take this nasty concoction and punish you at the same time."

"Is that so?" the Elf asked with an arched eyebrow.

"Yes," Eldarion answered, unceremoniously ripping the Elf's thin undershirt with one hand and tossing it aside. "Turn around," he ordered.

Legolas did as he was told. He could feel the cool air on his back as the man brushed his long locks over his shoulder. He jumped slightly when he felt a small amount of liquid trickle down his spine. A warm tongue soon followed as Eldarion licked the offending substance away. He repeated the procedure twice more, causing the Elf to shiver in delight both times.

"Now lay down," he told the Elf.

Legolas obeyed again, all the while thinking that this was the most pleasurable punishment he had ever endured. He would thank his sister in the morning.

Eldarion straddled the Elf's waist while holding the goblet above Legolas' chest. With an almost predatory smile, he poured the liquid in small lazy circles, quickly bending down to lick it before the tonic spilled onto the cream silk sheets. The man's skillful tongue followed the trail the tonic made, taking the time to suck one nipple and then the other as he did so. By the time he reached the hollow at the base of the Elf's neck, where the remaining liquid had conveniently pooled, Legolas could not suppress his moans. Eldarion smiled to himself as he continued to lap the white tonic. When he had licked enough of the liquid and kept it in his mouth, he reached up to give the Elf a kiss. Legolas looked at him skeptically, but accepted the bitter kiss, a distasteful look on his face when it ended.

"I am not the one in need of the tonic," he reminded the Prince.

"True," the Man replied. "But it is part of your punishment."

"Ah," the Elf nodded, a faint smile on his face.

Eldarion shifted his weight and moved downwards. Legolas was still wearing his breeches. The Prince would have to do something about that. He was vaguely aware that his own breeches were growing uncomfortably tight, but his own pleasure could wait. He derived great satisfaction from fulfilling the Elf, perhaps even more than from receiving in return. While holding the goblet in one hand, the Prince began untying the laces of the Elf's breeches. Though not as quick and skillful as Legolas would have been, the laces were soon undone. He handed the goblet to the Elf as he slid the breeches off Legolas' raised hips. Afterward, he took the goblet back with a quick glance inside to see how much tonic was left. He smiled. It would be sufficient for his purposes. The skilled foreplay had already made Legolas hard. Eldarion teased the slit with his tongue, causing the Elf to shift slightly.

"I hope you will let me finish tonight," the Prince told him.

"I have no objections," the Elf replied.

"Good."

Like the night before, Eldarion took the Elf's entire length into his mouth. Legolas sighed in appreciation. There was no doubt that the Prince had a talented tongue. The Elf began to think that perhaps his lover had been gifted with too talented a tongue, as Eldarion repeatedly brought him to the brink of release and then abruptly stopped his actions. When the Prince had done this for the third time, the Elf groaned in frustration and need.

"Eldarion," he said warningly, propping himself on his arms to look at the man. "I thought you intended to finish your actions tonight."

"I will . . . in my own time."

Legolas groaned again, lying back down on the bed.

"I am being given a dose of my own medicine," he commented to himself, as he looked at the shadows cast across the ceiling above him.

"You have no idea," the Prince replied quietly.

The Elf was completely taken by surprise when he felt a cool liquid hit his burning member. It was instantly followed by a warm mouth. This time the Prince was no longer playing and he skillfully brought the Elf to his climax, taking care to swallow the Elf's sweet seed, but also leaving a little in his mouth. With a sly smile he crawled up the bed, gifting the Elf with another kiss that Legolas once again accepted, his own essence washing away the bitter taste of witchroot in his mouth.

"You are a resourceful lover," Legolas told him.

"Does this please you?" Eldarion asked, sitting back up again.

"Immensely," the Elf replied.

Legolas' long-fingered hands made their way to the man's breeches and deftly undid the laces. The Prince was relieved to be free from his confining pants. The throbbing ache between his legs was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

"You have not yet taken your pleasure," the Elf said, coaxing the Prince to lie on top of him. He stopped and gave Eldarion a puzzled look when he did not respond. "Do you not want me?"

Eldarion remained motionless, staring intently at the Elf but seemingly not seeing him.

"Eldarion?"

The sound of his name brought the Prince out of his reverie. "Yes?"

"What is the matter?"

"Nothing." Eldarion shook his head. "Everything is fine."

The Elf looked at him expectantly, not believing him for a moment.

The man sighed. "I'm afraid that none of this is real," he confessed. "That I shall wake up any moment and discover that this has been another one of my fantasies."

The Elf tilted his head to one side. "You have fantasies about me?" he could not help asking, teasingly.

Eldarion could feel his cheeks burning crimson in the darkness. Like his sister, Legolas could make him feel so young. "Yes," he admitted.

Instantly, Legolas sat up and the man settled himself in between the Elf's legs. The Elf began brushing the hair away from Eldarion's face; placing butterfly kisses on the man's brow, eyelids and cheeks as he did so. It was such a comforting gesture. Despite his playful tone, he understood the gravity of the situation and wished to rid Eldarion of his concerns.

"If this is a fantasy, Eldarion," he whispered, "then we are dreaming of the same one. And when we wake, it shall be together. Whenever you lay your head down to sleep, I shall be with you." He smiled. "Neither one of us will ever be alone again."

Legolas kissed the Prince deeply and Eldarion could feel himself melting against the Elf's embrace. Legolas promised a future that the Prince wanted more than anything else. Yet his mind told him that such a future was out of their reach. There were too many obstacles in their way. Duty. Obligation. Responsibility. Tenets that had been drilled into him since he was a child. What about love? Was that not the most important tenet of all? If Legolas believed it to be, then anything was possible.

When the kiss ended, the Prince looked into the Elf's deep blue eyes. They had become midnight pools that mirrored his own love in the darkness of the room. He smiled and pushed the Elf back down on the bed, lying on top of him with feline grace. He would be the dominant one tonight.

~*~*~*~

Eldarion lay on his wide bed staring up at the shadows cast across the ceiling, vaguely wondering what time it was. Sleep would not come to him. Perhaps this was one of the effects of the witchroot. His head rested on Legolas' flat stomach, gently moving up and down to the steady rhythm of the Elf's breathing. He turned his head to look at the Elven Prince. It was slightly disconcerting to see Legolas lay with his eyes wide open. Eldarion could not tell if the Elf was asleep or not.

"Do you sleep?" he heard himself whisper.

"No."

The Prince was startled by the reply. "Why do you not sleep?" he asked after a moment.

"Elves do not require as much rest as Men."

"And you feel you have rested enough tonight?"

The Prince could feel the Elf's gentle laughter at his innuendo.

"Why do you not sleep?" Legolas asked in return.

"I am restless. Is this an effect of the witchroot?"

"No," the Elf replied. "On the contrary, the witchroot has a sleeping effect. You must be a most unusual man."

It was the Prince's turn to laugh. He moved up the bed until he was lying side by side with the Elf, his body turned to face the Elven Prince. Legolas' silveren hair was strewn about the pillows and he appeared to give off an ethereal glow in the darkness.

"Legolas?"

"Yes?"

"Have you had many lovers?"

"I have had my share." The Elf also turned on his side so that he was face-to-face with the Prince. "There are many kinds of love and comfort in this world, Eldarion. The love a parent has for a child; the love siblings have for one another; the comfort of a friend's embrace; a warrior's comfort given freely during respite from battle. But the most important kind of love and the one most elusive to find, is the one I have found with you. All other loves are but a shadow of what we share."

The Prince listened intently. He understood the wisdom behind the Elf's words, but there was still a nagging thought at the back of his mind that would not grant him peace until it was brought out in the open.

"And my father?"

"I have loved your father for many years and I love him still. Nothing will ever change that."

Eldarion looked down, stroking the soft silk sheets with his fingers. These words were too painful to hear. The Elf caught his hand and pulled him closer, so that their bodies were touching and their legs intertwined.

"Your father and I share a history. Fate has thrown us together so that our paths are forever entwined and yet cruelly separated." The Elf paused to brush the man's cheek. "Do you see how fate has come full circle?"

The Prince shook his head.

"Your father made the right decision years ago, when he shunned a life with me for the greater good of all. And I helped him walk that path. For if he had not given me up, you would never have been born and our love would never be. You are here to help me heal."

Eldarion reflected on the Elf's words. He believed his father to be the greatest of men and now his admiration for him had increased ten-fold. His father had done what he himself would never have been able to do. Such sacrifice. The King was worthy of the Elf's love.

"Do you think he will see us that way?"

"I believe so. I am certain that he will not be pleased at first, but he loves us both enough to grant us this happiness."

The Prince remained silent. There was another thought that was troubling him, but it was far too intimate to voice.

The Elf smiled in the darkness. He had the uncanny ability to read the man's thoughts. "I have never lain with your father," he said quietly.

"Never?" Eldarion repeated in surprise.

"Never."

A sense of relief washed over the Prince, but at the same time a terrible pain struck his heart. How unbearable it must be to have such great love unconsummated.

"There is another who is very dear to me," the Elf continued after a moment, "whom I have known almost my entire life."

"Haldir."

Legolas smiled at the Prince's perceptiveness. "Yes," he answered. "Haldir has told me that once this celebration ends, he and nearly all the remaining Lórien Elves shall pass over Sea. He asked me to go with him. Of course, I did not accept," Legolas quickly added, seeing the look of alarm on his lover's face. "However, our time together has drawn to a close and I wish to make every moment last in our memories. I owe him at least that much."

"What do you plan to do?"

"I have decided to return to Lórien with him one last time and I would like you to come with me. It may be your only opportunity to see the silveren Wood in its final days of glory," the Elf explained, "and it would bring great joy to my heart if two of the most important people in my life could get to know one another better."

Eldarion smiled. He could not think of a better parting gift. "I would be honored," he replied.

~*~*~*~

In the misty early morning light, the King of Gondor walked through the hallways of the White Tower. Years of living within Minas Tirith could not break his ranger's training as an early riser. In truth, this was his favorite time of day. In the peace and stillness of the morning there were no demands on his time, no royal duties yet to attend to and the King could be alone with his thoughts. He was approaching his son's room and his footsteps involuntarily slowed until he was standing outside the door. Experimentally, he reached out and turned the handle. The door was unlocked. Aragorn shook his head. Careless of his son to leave his door unlocked, even though he was perfectly safe within the walls of the White Tower. Still, the King mused, Eldarion had quite an eventful night. Even the Prince was entitled to a slip every now and then.

Elessar knew that he should not be doing this, but his hand seemed to be moving of its own accord as it turned the handle once more and opened the door ever so slightly, just enough for him to steal a quick look inside. The sight that greeted him was what he expected. Two figures were sleeping under the covers on the large bed, his son's arm wrapped protectively around his lover with flowing blonde hair. Aragorn smiled as he closed the door silently.

"Your Majesty!"

The King jumped slightly, cursing himself for being taken off his guard as he turned around. The stern expression on his face caused the poor servant girl in front of him to tremble.

"Yes?"

"I . . . I . . I'm sorry!" Barra stammered. "I didn't meant to . . . I just . . I wanted-."

"It's all right," Aragorn interrupted her reassuringly. He did not mean to frighten the girl so. "What were you going to say?"

Barra took a deep breath before speaking. "I was given instructions that the Prince should not be disturbed," she said meekly, feeling foolish for telling the King of all people not to disturb his son.

"I see." There was a pause as Aragorn waited for Barra to continue.

Sensing that more was expected of her, Barra thought frantically of something else to say. "The Prince needed some assistance last night," she said slowly.

"What kind of assistance did he receive?"

"The Princess Onela made a tonic for him," Barra explained. "Her brother said that it would help with the effects of alcohol."

Aragorn smiled inwardly. He remembered Legolas teaching him the same lesson in his youth. "Did the Princess give the tonic to my son?"

"Oh no," Barra replied, more at ease. The King had such a soothing presence. "I brought it back myself."

Aragorn paused. Something did not feel right. A flash of blonde crossed his mind. "Where did you bring the tonic?"

"I brought the tonic here. To Prince Eldarion's bedchamber."

"And did you give the tonic to my son?"

Barra froze, realizing she had been caught. Her mind scrambled for another answer. "I gave it to the Prince," she said vaguely.

Aragorn was not fooled. "That was not my question," he said. "Did you give the tonic to my son?" he asked again. Barra remained tight-lipped and for a moment Aragorn thought she would not answer.

"No," she finally replied, her voice barely above a whisper.

"Whom did you give it to?" Aragorn persisted.

"I gave it to Prince Legolas."

Author's Note: Any explanations given for Elven erogenous zones or properties of the witchroot have no basis in Tolkien mythology and are entirely my creation. Somehow, I don't think Tolkien would approve ...
Reminder: Sindarin is written in between square brackets i.e. [ ] Quenya is written in between { }

 

Chapter 5