He had convinced him, not easily, to stay with them tonight and rest, to soothe his tireless feet, to lie under the stars of Lorien while the rest of the Company wrapped themselves into their cloaks and fell into a deep, well-earned sleep. Aragorn had lain by his side, also bundled in his dusty clothing, and while the Elf's gaze was trained calmly to the golden ceiling of the moving trees surrounding them, Aragorn couldn't tear his eyes from the serene face of this fascinating creature.
His hands, cracked and encrusted with the grime collected throughout their voyage, held fast the hilt of Anduril, which, as always, hung faithfully at his hip. The metal, soft and cold, usually comforting in its familiarity, barely managed tonight to occupy his hands while all they wanted to do was reach out and touch the velvety material of Legolas' tunic, which appeared to have remained untouched by the perils of the trip since Rivendell. Of greens and golds, the Elf seemed as sound and powerful as nature itself. Aragorn didn't dare destroy such beauty, soiling it with dirty nails and knuckles scraped raw, the deep red of royal blood drying there. Obscene.
Legolas, his gaze lost in the patches of sprinkled sky coming in and out of sight between the dancing branches of the Lothlorien woods, did not notice he was being studied so closely. His look haunted by the deeds of his patriarchs as well as his own, Aragorn slowly followed the supple lines of the archer's hands, from his delicate wrists to his thin fingers, the graceful curve of his throat as he swallowed, the few stray hairs that clung to the sharp angle of his jaw, the pink tip of his ear under the blond strands that fell lightly around him like a halo.
Without thinking, Aragorn reached out and touched the thin braid at the prince's temple, and followed its soft grooves down the Elf's slender shoulder. Legolas shivered, his breath catching at his lips, and his eyes fluttered shut. The tarnished digits travelled back up again and followed down the same path, this time slowing to caress the soft contour of his ear until it blushed prettily under his fingers.
Aragorn, as fascinated as he was surprised by his own audacity, followed the fine braiding down to its tip; it rested over the Elf's heart like a treasure at the end of a arduous journey. Its rhythm rose quickly as Aragorn's hand lingered there for a moment before returning to his sword, the usual object of his affection. The Man sighed painfully and looked away, casting his eyes down to gaze upon the elfish weapon. This time its cold felt lifeless.
Later, when the camp's fire was no more than gently glowing embers, Anduril's warmth rekindled, and a porcelain hand enveloped that of the lost king.