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Sometimes, one moment is all it takes.

One moment of weakness, one second of dropping the barriers we erect to protect our innermost selves, and we are vulnerable. Our hearts are exposed, our scars revealed, our souls laid bare for all to see.

But sometimes, this can be a good thing. Especially when we reveal ourselves to someone who will cradle our hearts, soothe our scars, and uplift our souls.

Legolas is someone like that.

He followed me, after Aragorn had left me sitting alone – Aragorn’s words had not given me the comfort he had intended. I left the presence of my companions, seeking the solitude of the trees, determined to deal with my demons alone. They all knew, of course. I could see it in their eyes when they looked at me, could see it in her eyes as well even as her voice told me there was still hope. How could there be any hope? Why could I not see it? And still the voice of the Ring beckoned with promises of a renewed Gondor in all its former glory. I left to escape its seductive call, to fill my ears with the sound of the elves lament for our fallen comrade.

I did not know he had followed me until I stopped running. Until I had sat at the roots of a giant tree, wrapped my arms around my knees, and gave into the tears of my heart. Silently I wept, my face buried in my arms to hide my shame. My despair poured forth, my fear and anger, these things that I would not reveal to the others.

His hand touched mine, startling me greatly and shaming me as well, for I did not wish for anyone to see me in this state; least of all him. It bothered me that it was Legolas, and not Aragorn or Gimli or any of the others that has found me. I hated that he saw me at my weakest. Aragorn would have understood my shame – he was a man.

I looked away from his concerned face quickly, wiping my tears clumsily with my fingers. I waited for him to speak – to question the reason for my tears, but all I heard was the soft sound of his breathing.

Gentle hands touched my shoulders and arms, urging me without words to rise to my feet. They did not release their grip, even after I stood, and finally I lifted my head to look at his face.

The concern he had so openly expressed before was gone. His expression was unreadable as he studied me, and something about it unnerved me just a little. I opened my mouth to ask him what he wanted, to tell him to leave me in peace, when he silenced my words with the touch of his hand against my mouth. My body reacted to the touch of those calloused fingertips against my lips in a way I could never have predicted, a flash of heat that traveled swiftly through my body and pooled in my groin.

I must have looked as startled as I felt, for he smiled then, briefly, before taking his hand away.

The hands that had gripped my arms slid upward with a slow, confident touch until they rested on my chest. His long fingers toyed with the laces at the neck of my shirt. During all of this, he watched me, probably waiting for me to push him away.

I could not push him away. I waited, breathless, to see what he would do.

His fingers grew bolder, pulling the laces from the eyelets with clever flicks of his fingers, until my tunic fell open nearly to my waist. He stepped closer, tilting his head questioningly at me. It was useless to ask what he was doing; it was fairly obvious. What was not obvious was why he was doing it.

Legolas was an enigma to me, as are all elves. He was quiet, but when he spoke, it was because he had something to say, not to hear the sound of his own voice. His skills as a fighter were admirable; he fought like a warrior poet, with beautiful and deadly grace. I had only seen fear in his eyes once, in the depths of Moria, when the roar of the Balrog shook the pillars around us. I had admired him from a distance as one admires a beautiful object that is impossible to reach, and made myself be content with dreams alone.

In the weeks I had known him, traveled with him, fought alongside him, he had never given me any reason to think he would want anything from me. He had never spoken more than a few words to me, and never had he touched me in the manner he touched me that night. I never dared think it possible that he would desire me as I desired him.

As if he had read my mind, he spoke an answer to my silent question. “Let me comfort you, Boromir.” His eyes met mine for a long moment, and I saw compassion in their blue depths. “Let me ease your heart and give it rest.”

I did not want his compassion. I wanted him, but not this way. Not as an act of pity. I wanted him to burn for me, the way I burned for him. I shoved him roughly away, my hands shaking as I tried to retie my laces. I would not meet his eyes.

I expected him to leave then, to walk away from me and leave me to my misery. I did not expect him to react as strongly as he did. As I have said, Legolas is an enigma, yet I thought I knew him well enough to know how he would react.

How wrong I was.

His hands wrapped around mine with a strength that belied their slenderness and their delicate appearance. I fought him then, angered that he dared to touch me thus, struggling to pull my hands from his grip, but elves are much stronger than they appear as I soon learned. He pulled my hands behind my back, trapping my arms against my body. His arms were like iron bands. The position pressed the length of my body along his and I met his eyes with a glare of outrage.

Then I felt it, pressing against my thigh, and I saw the truth in his gaze. There was no pity in them, no compassion for my weakness, only heat and desire.

I felt myself weaken, my struggles faltered. I licked my dry lips, trying to understand why. Why now? “Legolas…”

He gave me no chance to speak further. His lips covered mine, stealing my words and my breath completely.

I was no stranger to love between warriors. I had lived and breathed far too many years as a soldier in my father’s army to be innocent of the ways a warrior seeks relief in the arms of another. Though I most often sought comfort of a softer persuasion, finding release in the arms and bodies of women, I had upon occasion indulged in a harder, rougher sort of love; men like myself, with raw, bearded faces and calloused hands, smelling of sweat and the oil of our weapons, their kisses rough and their caresses hasty.

It was not so with Legolas, though he was undeniably male. His lips were soft, like heated silk, and I remember wondering at the feel of them against my own, how he could bear to touch them against mine. His tongue was quicksilver, darting in to taste my mouth, sliding like living velvet between my lips. There was nothing raw or rough about him, and his taste was sweet and spicy, so different from anything I had ever tasted before. His hands were calloused from archery and sword work, but they were gentle as they cradled my face.

With one kiss he wiped away the dirt and sweat and grime, the struggle and the heartache. In that moment, I forgot my pain, my despair. Only he and I existed, kissing beneath the shade of the silver trees.

His cloak was spread across the grass and leaves as he laid me down. His clever fingers, quick and trembling, made short work of my clothes, casting them aside without a care in his haste to touch me. My skin felt cool beneath the heat of his hands, his mouth, and finally against his flesh as he lay against me. He touched me as if I were some precious thing, slowly, as if committing every detail to memory. His skin was smooth and silken beneath my hands; no scar or blemish marred the perfection of his skin, no wiry hair to hide the golden hue of his flesh. Muscles hardened from a warrior’s life rippled under my fingers as I touched him wonderingly, almost reverently, feeling unworthy that he would grant such a gift to me.

Legolas’ mouth sought mine again, and I forgot all thought of questioning why. I was lost to the feelings his touch evoked deep within me. Never had my lust for another rose so quickly, but I did not expect it to be tempered by affection for him. I could not say that I loved him, not the all-encompassing love a man might feel for another, but I did hold feelings for him that went deeper than the bonds of our fellowship.

My release was quick beneath his knowing hands, and he swallowed the moans I made, muffling them with the press of his mouth. Afterwards he cleaned me gently with fallen leaves, his expression both pleased and thoughtful. His own arousal was evident still, pressing against my hip as he leaned over me to wipe the evidence of my passion from my skin.

“Legolas,” I whispered, watching him.

Those beautiful eyes turned to me questioningly.

I touched his arousal with my fingertips, capturing the moisture that had gathered at the tip. His soft moan startled me.

“Boromir,” he whispered, sending shivers through me. He made my name a caress.

I knew what he wanted. Though I had lain with men before, never had I surrendered my body willingly to another. I could see the unspoken question in his eyes and I nodded, parting my legs for him. Why was I willing to surrender to him what I had given no other? I do not know. Even now, as I lay on the banks of the Anduin, trying to sleep, I cannot think why I did as I did that night. Only that it seemed right; it felt right to let him have me that way.

He took me then, beneath the canopy of giant trees and the open sky, and the stars bore silent witness to it all. He brought forth my lust again, and I shuddered, helpless in his arms.

Afterwards, wrapped in the warmth of his cloak, he held me, and I fell asleep that way, in the comforting circle of his arms. And for the first time since laying eyes on that accursed object in Rivendell, I did not hear the Ring’s siren call. Not that night.

Sometimes, one moment is all it takes. One moment of weakness, one second of dropping the barriers we erect to protect our innermost selves, and we are vulnerable. Our hearts are exposed, our scars revealed, our souls laid bare for all to see.

But sometimes, this can be a good thing. Especially when we reveal ourselves to someone who will cradle our hearts, soothe our scars, and uplift our souls.

Legolas is someone like that.

I only wish it were enough.