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Immortal Grace

Chapter Text

Boromir followed the two Elves across the bridge and toward a great forested hill, though when the path turned he saw it was no hill at all, but a tree-covered canyon that opened up to the sky. This was the entrance to the king’s domain.

They passed through a pair of heavy, reinforced gates and descended a broad stairway into the hollow, and Boromir marveled at the sight before him: a wide lawn of grass, moss, and multicolored wildflowers formed the floor of this earthly vestibule, and on the farthest side, from between a copse of thick trees above on the forest floor, a waterfall rushed down a steep, rocky grade and wound through the center of the yard. Elegant bridges and flagstone footpaths stretched over the river, which disappeared into the mouth of a stone gully. 

Near to the waterfall was a set of huge doors carven with vines and leaves and trees, and through these they entered into a great cave. The pillars of the hall were hewn of tree trunks only a little smaller than the mallorns of Lórien, and the roof stretching high above their heads offered glimpses of the sky through carefully-crafted windows that resembled roots and branches. This was no cave, Boromir realized, but an underground forest complete with living trees and running water. He lost his breath at the beauty and ingenuity of its design.

The caves—for there were many, he now saw—were a busy place this time of day; Elves of various rank went hither and thither on their business, vanishing down corridors that formed a network of tunnels or hurrying along the high wooden walkway that encircled the open hall. This balcony framed the cave’s second level of warrens and passageways. Glowing fungi, mosses and nocturnal flowers grew in the dark places, filling it with a soft light that illuminated as well as any torch. It was more beautiful than anything Boromir had ever imagined, and while its opulence was not in dazzling towers like Minas Tirith or the magnificent flets of Lothlórien, its rustic grace and natural simplicity made it one of the most serene and welcoming homes of any elven kingdom he had yet seen.

‘This way, my lord,’ said Emmethiel, and Boromir followed his escorts over a bridge that straddled a fragrant lilypond, and into one of the lower passages. It was neither dank nor cold in the caves but dry and pleasant, and it smelled of fir, pine and spruce. Fresh air circulated through the corridors, and the walls sparkled with mica and quartz. Presently the air became warm and humid, and they arrived at a large room filled with large wooden tubs and the scent of herbs and oils: a public bath. Boromir was left here while the Elves went to fetch clean garments and poultices. 

The Elf-women who tended the baths were at first surprised to see that a Man had been brought to them, but they quickly set to work removing Boromir’s horn and sword and whisked the items away for safekeeping. Boromir was reluctant to part with his possessions and tried to protest, but when the women began to undress him, he forgot about everything else save the preservation of his dignity. It was with much cajoling and unmanly wheedling that Boromir finally managed to shoo the ladies away—a few of them casting admiring glances over their shoulders and smiling behind their pretty hands—and sink into a tub of hot soapy water, now blessedly alone. 

It was satisfying beyond words to bathe after such a terrible ordeal. Boromir could still imagine the filth of Dol Guldur coating his skin like a sticky poison. He dipped his head under the water and resurfaced with an appreciative sigh, then closed his eyes and leaned his head against the edge of the tub. He could feel his limbs trembling slightly from weariness and exertion, and there was suddenly nothing he wanted more than to eat a hearty meal and go to sleep. But there was to be a celebration tonight, and he was expected to be in attendance. Perhaps King Thranduil was hasty in his zeal, he thought. Anyone could have seen that Gelrin and the others were in no condition to carouse and cajole this night, Legolas least of all. 

He picked up a cloth and soap and began to wash, his thoughts straying to the uncertain future and his heart gathering worries along the way. He wondered what had become of Frodo, how he was holding out against the temptation of the Ring, if Sam was with him; how Aragorn and Gimli fared, if they had managed to find Merry and Pippin again; how Faramir and Father were doing; if Gondor still held Osgiliath; how many assaults Mordor had lain upon their thinning defences since he had left for Rivendell; what Father would think when he returned without the mighty gift he had been sent to retrieve and instead with an Elven prince he had espoused.

The mere thought of his father’s reaction made Boromir’s stomach twist. His years of military training quickly interceded, reminding him that he was getting too far ahead of himself. His arrival home was still many days before him; tonight was the matter he should be most concerned with, for its outcome would determine the manner in which they journeyed to Minas Tirith: either with allies and a message of hope, or alone and bearing ill news.

The words of Celeborn echoed grimly in the back of Boromir’s mind:

Too long have the forces of darkness terrorized Mirkwood and its inhabitants. The reign of evil must be ended soon ere all chance of regaining the forest stronghold is lost. Should darkness conquer Mirkwood, its trees shall burn and the luckiest of its people shall be left destitute. Then that wickedness and all its festering rancor shall spread to Lothlórien.

Bring word to King Thranduil that the Lórien forces are preparing to lay siege upon Dol Guldur. Tell him to gather the Woodland army and ready them at Rhûn Coll—you know it as the East Bight. The kingdoms of Elves shall unite one last time to vanquish the forces of darkness that have threatened us for so long.

Boromir, do not fear for your people. Upon reaching the Bight, you and Legolas shall bring half of the Woodland forces to Minas Tirith and leave the rest to await word from the Lórien army. 

He sighed and rinsed his sudsy head beneath a stream of warm water and let his worries wash away. There was a time to be troubled, but it was not this evening. He must rest for a short while, recover his strength and his heart. He would need both before the end, he knew, and perhaps the latter would determine how long the former would last.

Night fell. A great throng of merry Elves crowded the main hall, some filling long tables with cups and plates, others arranging chairs and setting places for the guests of honor. Small tidbits of food were laid out as appetizers: honeyed apples and pears, berries and cheeses, cured meats, pickled vegetables, flatbreads with jam, and nuts from every species of tree that grew in the forest. The early arrivals milled about with excitement and anticipation, partaking of the smallfoods and visiting with friends and family. Long it had been since King Thranduil hosted such an event. Joyfulness was becoming a rare thing, even in a place so lovely as the heart of Mirkwood, where the name Greenwood still lived on.

Lamps and torches were lit, and music and the smell of roasting meat filled the air. Boromir wound his way through the Elves, feeling out of place yet strangely kin with these fair, merry folk. Perhaps it was the garments he wore that were responsible for this familial feeling: a silken shirt worn beneath a long vest of crimson velvet, gold embroidery dappling the collar and hem, a row of shining clasps running down the breast. His heavy boots had been replaced with ones of thin, comfortable leather, and his roomy trousers allowed for freer movements. He felt as light an ethereal as an Elf.

Though he tried his best to hide among the other guests, his tall, sturdy build and rugged handsomeness attracted much attention, and every elven face that looked upon him did so with a smile. Boromir always tried to smile back out of respect, but he was apprehensive; he wanted to find Legolas. He felt strangely tense and vulnerable, though he knew he was in no danger. Always had he been a man who walked by himself, who was able to keep his own company well enough, but the anxiety that had been building in him since he and Legolas had parted that afternoon was almost too much to bear. He needed him. He wanted to know that he was all right.

He was just rounding the corner of a table when his eyes caught the emerald robes of King Thranduil, who had appeared from one of the broader corridors and was engaged in conversation with one of his attendants. Boromir turned his head, searching. The king was here—where was his son?

And then, like the sun rising on the first day over Middle Earth, the bustling Elves faded into dark blurs as Legolas stepped into view, his movements slow compared to the haste of his kin. His shorn hair had been trimmed and made even and now fell about his face and collar in soft golden feathers. He wore a silver circlet and was clad in a knee-length tunic of a shade of green so pale that only in shadow was its color distinguishable. He wore no girdle but moved freely in his flowing shirt, his grey leggings and soft leather slippers making him appear as liquid, smooth as cream. But even more breathtaking than the sight of Legolas’s beauty was the light that came into his eyes when he saw Boromir. He instantly quickened his stride as the man did the same.

By the time they reached each other, their hearts were beating wildly. They stopped short a breath’s distance from each other, knowing that their affections could not be expressed so openly here, not yet. 

Legolas smiled and tossed his head. His flaxen hair caught the light, like a fish’s tail, before falling back into place. ‘I had difficulty finding you,’ he said. ‘You look like every other Elf here.’

Boromir rubbed his beard thoughtfully. ‘Perhaps,’ he mused, and the prince laughed, his eyes twinkling joyfully. Boromir’s heart swelled with love. Ignoring the risks, he reached forward and pulled Legolas into a tight embrace. The Elf wrapped his arms around him and nestled his cheek against his shoulder. They fit together so perfectly and so comfortably that it was difficult to believe they had not been molded as a pair at the beginning of the world.

‘Ah, here he is,’ came the voice of King Thranduil, and they parted quickly as he approached them, followed by a small entourage of nobles. He clapped a hand on Boromir’s shoulder in an amicable, familiar fashion. ‘The Man who has given back to me so much. Come, Captain Boromir, and sit with me. I would like very much to hear your own account of this adventure.’ 

Thus Boromir was forced to part from Legolas once more, and even though they sat opposite one another at the table all evening, it felt as distant as if they were stranded on either shore of a wide river. The food and wine was excellent, and soon Boromir’s restlessness began to fade, though he found no opportunity to speak of the message he and Legolas had been tasked to deliver. Many times his eyes strayed and settled longingly on the elven prince, who was a vision that would have captivated the heart of any creature on Middle Earth. How he wished he could speak with him alone, stroke his hair, clasp his hand, and kiss his downturned mouth until it smiled again. But Thranduil seemed determined to keep Boromir preoccupied with conversation of other matters, and Legolas spent the duration of the feast in silence, ignored by his brethren save for stolen glances and occasional whispers of how the headstrong, playful young prince now seemed so mature and subdued.

The hour grew late and the Elves became over-happy with strong drink, a mead known as eldaglîn, or elven honey wine. It was so powerful that Boromir was forced to water his down to the accompaniment of great laughter and many conciliatory pats on his shoulder. He told and retold his side of the story with frequent interjections from Gelrin and the others who had survived the dungeons of Dol Guldur, and the Silvan Elves and their Sindarin lords listened raptly.

It all seemed a great adventure and a sporting tale now, but Legolas brooded, recalling the suffering and strife and terror he and Boromir had endured. Alas, the truth was far too sobering to recount at a time like this; to speak of it would spoil the mood of the entire feast. Now was the time for mirth and celebration, a time to forget. But to forget his agony was to forget the man who had stood beside him when darkness cast its veil upon him, to ignore his sacrifice and toil, the pain he had carried for him. No; no matter the awful memories of Dol Guldur, Legolas would cherish them always, for it was in those bleak hours of little hope that his love for Boromir had saved his life.

And now that same love sat warm and restless in his belly, eager, curious; a hungry little spark fast growing into a flame he would soon be unable to conceal. That deep, mortal yearning he had felt the night before crept back to him as he watched Boromir all evening long, smiling broadly and full of cheer, so fetching and fair in his elven clothes. Legolas forewent the wine—he could not drink it as carelessly as he once did, he quickly learned—and instead drank water, not only to slake his thirst but to cool the fiery, carnal images hammering in the forges of his mind. He was roused rudely from his dreaming by a hard nudge from the Elf beside him. He snapped to attention and discovered his father staring at him with concern. ‘Are you all right, Legolas? ’ he repeated. ‘You have spoken little this evening.

I am weary, Father.

So I can see; you look positively sick to your heart.’ Thranduil set his goblet aside and leaned over the table, lowering his voice. ‘Legolas. I know this celebration must seem like folly to you, but there is good reason behind it. While you and Captain Boromir have claimed a small victory over Dol Guldur, it has not halted the spread of the shadow, nor the evil that loiters upon the doorstep of our kingdom. You must understand, my son: our people need a reason to hope.’ He raised his voice and began to speak in the Common Tongue:

‘My loyal subjects: tonight is more than a feast of victory. It is also a feast of thanksgiving to celebrate the return of that which was taken from us. Sixteen lives once believed to be for ever lost now sit with us again, freed from the pits of Dol Guldur. Let us welcome their return, and honor those responsible for bringing them back: Boromir son of Denethor, Captain of Gondor; and Legolas my son, Prince of our fair Greenwood. I bid you all raise your cups to them, and let your hearts rejoice this night! Gell a gellam!

He thrust his goblet into the air and cheers erupted up and down the table. A few Elves sprang from their seats and pulled others from theirs for a dance. Legolas hunched down, feeling even more miserable for being so gloomy. His father was right, but Legolas could simply not feign cheerfulness for a moment longer. He wanted to get away from the noise and boisterous atmosphere and retreat to a quiet place where he could release his frustrations. Perhaps his troubled spirit would find peace before the night’s end. He stood from his chair and told his father that he was retiring for the evening, and left the table before a reply could be given. His excuse was not entirely false, for he was indeed weary, though more in heart than the body.

Boromir turned to see Legolas disappearing into the crowd and immediately put down his cup and rose with the intention of following. Thranduil placed a hand on his arm. ‘Are you leaving so soon, Captain? It is not yet midnight.’

‘I must, sire,’ he answered. ‘It has been a long journey and I am afraid your excellent wine has taken the last of my energy.’

Thranduil smiled obligingly. ‘Very well. Do as you wish—you are our guest, after all.’

Boromir bowed curtly before hastening after Legolas. Thranduil watched the man weave his way through dancers and musicians and appear at his son’s side. They exchanged a few words, then Legolas took up Boromir’s hand and led him into the nearest corridor. 

The king took a long draught from his cup, his face suddenly tight and cheerless. He had not been blind to the evening-long gazes that had passed between his son and the man from Gondor, nor had he failed to notice the ring of mithril Legolas now wore. His radiance seemed to have diminished, too, almost as if Legolas were grieving or languishing. Perhaps it was the wine causing him to overreact—random circumstance and nothing more—for it could not be the thing that he feared; no, it was too mad to hold a grain of truth. 

Deciding to give the subject no further thought this night, Thranduil turned away, put on a smile, and called for another song.

It was dark and cool in the corridor, and the farther they went the quieter it became, until at last the hall opened into a huge sprawling cavern with a high ceiling of natural rock. Intricate latticework windows in the form of vines and leaves had been carved through the stone to allow air and moonlight into the room, which Boromir discovered was no room at all, but a garden of glowing blue moss and nocturnal flowers. Moths with iridescent white wings and fireflies of every color danced among the bushes. One of the river’s channels had been diverted to wind a serpentine course through the garden and out through a narrow tunnel, and the water trickled melodiously as it bubbled over rocks and under footpaths. Silver mushrooms of every shape and size sprung up from the brook’s moist edges, shimmering with the same luminescence of the rest of the Greenwood flora. 

The man and the Elf walked hand in hand together, allowing the tension of the party to be cast from their spirits like heavy cloaks on a warm summer day.

‘This is beautiful,’ Boromir whispered, not wishing to disturb the peaceful sounds of flowing water and cricket-song. 

‘I would often come here when I was a child,’ said Legolas. ‘I plucked the mushrooms for my own amusement until I was caught one day. My father had the cooks serve them to me until I had eaten every last one.’

Boromir laughed. ‘And how did they taste?’

‘Terrible. I never raided another mushroom patch again.’

Boromir smiled fondly and gave his hand a squeeze.

Legolas stopped walking and turned to him, his eyes stormy with frustration. ‘My father must seem like such a fool to you.’

‘Nay, I think he is wise,’ said Boromir, ‘or strategic at least. Morale is precious in these dark times; I understand his reasons for the feast. As they say in my country, celebrate while you can, and do not trouble yourself about tomorrow, for tomorrow already has its own troubles.’

Legolas’s expression grew soft, but his eyes remained turbulent. Boromir drew him into his arms and embraced him tenderly. ‘You fret needlessly, meleth. We have toiled days to deliver our message; another will not matter. We will wait until your father will hear us, and everything will be set right. You will see.’ He drew back and brushed aside the golden hair that was now too short to tuck behind its owner’s pointed ears. 

The Elf grinned and captured Boromir’s hand in his own, weaving their fingers together. ‘You called me “love”. Is that something you learned from Gelrin?’

Boromir coughed out a bashful laugh. ‘Aye, he might have taught me a few words.’

‘I see.’ Legolas tilted his head to one side, his eyes warm with affection. ‘I may be your love, but we have not yet consummated our vows.’

The smile dropped from Boromir’s lips. Legolas found this highly amusing. He laid his hand upon the man’s collar and pressed close. ‘Are you not my husband, Boromir? Shall we not enjoy this night together? After all, one must celebrate while one can.’ 

Something stirred deep inside Boromir at the title. Never had he imagined such a word might one day apply to him or that it would be spoken by a Woodland Prince so fair and noble. ‘Yes. Yes, I am your glad husband, Legolas. I am yours.’

The Elf stepped back and clasped Boromir’s hand tightly in his own. ‘Come,’ he bade, pulling him away.

Boromir followed.

They passed through winding corridors and soaring halls, under rushing waterfalls and over bridges, casting secretive smiles at one another, their footsteps light and quick as dancers’ feet. Music from above echoed throughout the caves, flutes and lyres and harps as sweet as birdsong, the drums and tambourines merrily keeping time. Boromir felt as if he had slipped into a dream, for nothing in life could ever compare to the surreal beauty of this moment.

Presently they arrived at a tall set of oaken doors. Leaves were carved onto their exteriors and painted in various tints of green, trimmed with gold and silver. This was the entrance to Legolas’s bedchamber. The Elf opened one of the doors, pulled Boromir inside, and quietly shut it behind them.

It was a simple but elegant room, rather like the rest of the palace, illuminated by glass globes of glowing moss. The walls were stone, draped with soft tapestries depicting forests and lakes and mountains. The furniture was rustic but artfully crafted: wooden chairs and armoires, a soft-looking bed with sheets of pale green, emerald pillows embroidered with leaves and vines, and windows that faced east and caught the light of the rising moon. 

He turned to Legolas and saw he was removing the silver circlet on his head; he laid it carefully on a nearby chest of drawers and smoothed a few errant strands of hair. Then he smiled mysteriously at Boromir and began to unfasten the clasps of his collar, continuing downward until his tunic hung open. Boromir stood and stared dumbly at the loveliness being revealed to him, his lips parted and his breath coming shallow and fast. 

Legolas shrugged the cloth from his shoulders. The silk rustled gently as it slid down his arms and landed in a crumpled heap around his feet. His wounded shoulder had been thoroughly sewn and mended, though the bruises on his flesh would not fade for many days. 

Boromir stepped close and traced a dark blotch at the Elf’s collarbone, his tan, calloused hand a stark contrast against the smooth white skin. He became aware of the loudness of his breathing and his quickened heartbeat, the trembling note within its steady rhythm. 

‘Are you… do you feel well enough for this?’ he asked.

Legolas’s eyes shined in warm, rich shades of brown. ‘I am not so delicate as to let a few battle wounds keep me from enjoying my wedding night.’ He reached up and brushed a tendril of hair from Boromir’s crown. ‘And you, Captain? How do you feel?’

After a fleeting pause, Boromir unbuckled his belt and let it fall, and clumsily pulled both vest and shirt over his head. He tossed them aside and stood before Legolas, who gazed upon his bared chest with a face that reflected both his desire and his concern. He touched Boromir’s right bicep, which had been bound with fresh gauze, and trailed his fingers over the bandages covering the healing wound in his chest. Boromir’s heart skipped at his touch.

‘Are you certain?’ asked Legolas. There was a playful lilt in his voice as he raised his eyes to the man’s. ‘Your wounds were more severe than mine.’

Boromir grasped the hand on his chest and brought it to his lips, and pressed a tender kiss to Legolas’s palm. Their mithril rings sparkled beside one another. ‘If I die tonight, it won’t be because of my wounds.’

They smiled at each other in the dim light, then Boromir slipped his arm around Legolas’s waist and pulled him close. They both leaned in at the same time, their lips meeting in the first shy, shallow beginnings of a kiss that grew steadily bolder and deeper with each passing second. Legolas slid his hands over Boromir’s shoulders and hugged him needfully, pushing against him until Boromir yielded his ground. Together they backed toward the bed. Boromir toppled onto it, his weight causing it to creak sharply, and Legolas crawled astride him and leaned down for another kiss.

They explored each other with their hands and their lips, tugging off any remaining garments that obstructed their quest to uncover every inch of skin. Careful caresses gave way to bolder touches; they murmured soft words of encouragement to one another, frequently interspersed with smiles and feathery laughs whenever they found themselves tangled in the clothes they were trying to shed. They rolled, limbs entwined, and forgot their awkwardness as their need burned hotter and fiercer with every moment. Soon trousers and leggings and smallclothes joined the discarded boots at the side of the bed, and they lay together wearing nothing except for the dressings that bound their still-healing wounds. 

Legolas made a strange sound when Boromir began to kiss his neck. ‘Your beard!’ he gasped, squirming. ‘Forgive me. I’ve never been loved by a man before. It feels so strange and new.’ He bit his grinning lips. A lovely rosy color had sprung to his cheeks, making him look more warm and alive than Boromir had ever seen him before.

‘Then I shall try to be gentle with you, melleth nín,’ he said tenderly.

Legolas hummed and reached out to trace the neat edges of his auburn beard. ‘Elvish suits your tongue, Captain.’

‘I am finding that many elven things suit my tongue,’ quipped Boromir. ‘Such as yours.’ Legolas purred with amusement. He locked his hands behind Boromir’s neck and pulled him down for another kiss.

They resumed their intimate explorations with renewed vigor, seeking out each other’s most sensitive places, lingering and learning, lavishing their affection on one another with wet kisses and skillful hands. 

Distantly Boromir wondered if the rumors he had heard about elven anatomy were true. Some claimed that Elves were like half-formed men, their members small and hidden. Others claimed that Elves had no sex but conceived children in acts of magic unseen by mortal eyes. Still others maintained that Elves possessed exquisite organs that were nothing like those of men at all, and their lovemaking was an act of pleasure beyond the expression of words. So far he had found no differences in the architecture of Legolas’s body: only smooth skin and a form that was as alike and functional as his own. He was fully prepared to put his limited experience of male-only intercourse to the test when his searching fingers found something that was both familiar and fantastically out of place among such hard, masculine features. He lifted his head with a startled expression and stared down at Legolas’s face, which suddenly grew pale; he knew what had been discovered.

‘You are… both,’ said Boromir, his voice soft and full of reverence. But this did not prevent a shadow of fear from creeping into the Elf’s eyes.

‘It is believed to be a trait of the Avari, my mother’s people,’ he said quietly. ‘Ellonneth [1] we are called, male Elves who can both beget and bear children. We are the third sex of our race, though why we exist at all, only Eru knows.’ He pulled his lips into a tight line.

A great swell of compassion surged through Boromir; he placed a protective hand on Legolas’s chest, as if he could somehow soothe the nervous heart that fluttered beneath his palm like a wounded bird. ‘You are beautifully made, Legolas,’ he murmured. ‘I am sure there is a wonderful purpose to your uniqueness, and if you do not find it in this life, you will surely learn it in the next. I am only sorry that I am not better prepared to meet this obstacle.’

A look of profound hurt marred Legolas’s fair face then, and Boromir cursed himself for his poor vocabulary. ‘I did not mean—what I meant to say is that I am not prepared to make love to you because I have no cowl to wear.’

Legolas cocked an eyebrow. ‘Are men so frail that they cannot make love if their heads are cold?’

A grin tugged at one corner of Boromir’s mouth. ‘Not that sort of cowl. What I speak of is a tight skin worn on one’s manhood; it catches spilled seed and prevents a child from being made in error.’

Legolas’s eyes widened with interest. 

‘I don’t know how it is with Elves,’ continued Boromir, ‘but sometimes a seed may be planted even though the man withdraws and spends himself elsewhere. You are unprotected and I hesitate to… I do not wish to burden you.’ He paused thoughtfully. ‘Is such a thing even possible for a man and an ellan—ellonneth?’

Legolas smiled serenely. ‘I would expect so. But have no fear, Boromir; I am in firith now, near to the end of my cycle. It will be many months before I am in season again.’

Boromir relaxed a little.

‘However’—Legolas’s voice fell to a low murmur—‘perhaps someday, if we both find it agreeable, we could try for a child. I am not averse to the idea.’

The realization that he might one day become a father—that he would plant a seed in love and many months later hold the product of that love in his arms, a little child who was half him and half Legolas—was at once frightening and fantastic to Boromir, something he had never expected would happen in his life. He let out a stunned, breathy laugh and leaned down to kiss Legolas’s soft lips. ‘Perhaps,’ he said. ‘But first I must learn how to please an Elf.’

‘It is not that difficult,’ said Legolas airily. He brushed his fingers along Boromir’s belly, following the sparse trail of hair downward. A low whine rose from Boromir’s throat as a strong, cool hand wrapped around him. Legolas gazed at him with heavy-lidded eyes. ‘Come to me, melleth,’ he breathed, ‘and I will show you how.’

Boromir dizzily allowed himself to be drawn down to Legolas’s kiss once more, his body settling between a pair of shapely, well-muscled thighs. For a while they played with each other, warm sighs escaping between the embrace of lips, fluttering eyes gazing upon one another with heat and hunger, until their bodies wept and they had learned the taste of each other.

And when at last Boromir pressed into him and made them one flesh, Legolas shut his eyes and praised the stars in a string of cursive Sindarin. They moved against one another like the waves of the sea, sinking and rolling and heaving as they sought a rhythm—sometimes slow and deep, sometimes fast and shallow—shifting from one position to another until the storm they were building together came to a mighty swell. They crested at the same moment, Legolas gasping and shuddering, Boromir groaning like a wounded beast. They clung to one another until the last drops of their passion had been spent, and sank down in a hot, breathless tangle of limbs, naked in both body and soul.

They were still awake when the last notes of the last song echoed through the Elvenking’s hall, and silence finally descended. It was, after all, a night to celebrate.