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Eschewal

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Legolas thought today may be a balmy day, with the imminent autumn temporarily waylaid in its heralding of the oncoming, cooler weather of winter.

Clothed in nothing but the skin in which he’d been born, Legolas rolled over onto his back in his soft, wide bed, the sunlight of the early dawn streaming into his room in Imladris – the room in which he had stayed for ages whilst visiting the valley, the room which had once been his mother’s chambers, become his upon her passing, and then eventually had become his and Estel’s, once he and the man embarked upon their relationship. The familiar, soothing sound of the waterfall in the distance nearly lulled him back into his wayward musings, but with Anor rising and the crisp scent of the Bruinen’s water carried along the sweet breeze blowing in through the open balcony doors, Legolas’ mind roused completely from his contemplations with readiness to start a new day. He turned his head to check upon his human lover; beside him, Estel slept comfortably upon his side, facing the Elf, with his nude body bared in the morning’s freshening light, for the man had kicked off the thin blanket sometime during the night because of the humidity and heat.

The Prince, however, had always found it hard not to sleep without a blanket, whether it was hot or not – even though he had technically not been asleep at all this night – and thus, he laid under it still. He slid his arms out from under the cover to stretch them above his head, his back arching felinely and a wide smile gracing his face with appreciation of the simple pleasure of being alive for another day, and more so, in his exultation of having Estel with him. He felt certain he would never become habituated to the Adan’s constant, loving companionship, and hoped he would never do so. Their time together was short enough as it was without his taking a single moment for granted.

No, he had not slept this night. In fact, he had not slept since the day before his father’s morning departure from the valley. Yet, he was content to lie beside his lover through the dark hours of the night, sharing the man’s insentient company and listening to Estel’s soft breathing, happily losing himself in fond memories, inane ponderings, or by just watching the handsome human as Aragorn slept.

The Silvan’s sleeplessness was all because of a single thought – he had found himself constantly worrying at this thought, pushing and tugging at it like a rotten tooth he could not extirpate. The thought was this – in the Trollshaws, left by Mithfindl to die in the back of the cave in the mephitic water of the seemingly inescapable pit, what if he had not hallucinated Estel on the ledge above the cavern? Had he not done so, the Elf would not have made it to the river in time to see the Ranger fall into the swollen Bruinen, and thus not have been there to save his human lover from drowning. Over the past few weeks of recovering in the valley, while eating with his second family, swimming in the cool water of the Bruinen, laughing and joking with the twins, Kalin, and Aragorn, or lying quietly beside the Ranger as he did now, Legolas’ sorrow-stricken mind could not move beyond this particular contemplation.

I have not thought of Estel’s almost drowning or of my hallucination of him in the Troll’s cave in weeks. I suppose I have been too busy worrying over the present to waste much time worrying about the past, he recognized, which in itself was an odd thought, for hadn’t he just spent the whole night fighting against the anxiety he felt while unwillingly deliberating this exact possibility? The peculiarity of this new recognition then made the Elf realize with disappointment to understand that in truth, he was not safe beside Aragorn; This is merely a dream, not reality. I am only dreaming. He swiftly educed where he actually laid in sleep right now, felt the sting of frustration to discern how Aragorn was nowhere near, and recalled quickly all of what had happened in the weeks between the night depicted in this dream and the night through which he now slumbered.

Legolas wondered why his mind had brought him to this specific reminiscence, though of course, his recollection of this easy, relaxed dawn with Estel was welcomed nonetheless – especially in comparison to the nightmares he might potentially have dreamt, some of which were just as based in reality as this current reverie. The Prince startled from these thoughts when beside him, Aragorn stretched with a low and bearish groan, Anor’s emergent brilliance in their bedchamber having finally awoken the Ranger. Of course, unlike how the human had always tried to sleep late while a young Adan, the grown man of now was wont to stirring with the sunrise, since the Ranger was accustomed to doing so while about his tasks in the wilds.

The morning when this had truly happened, seeing his lover’s strong, sinewy muscles moving under Estel’s sun-kissed skin had caused the laegel’s mouth to water with an ardent need to taste his lover’s flesh. And he had. He and Estel had shared a relaxed sunrise of giving each other pleasure in many inventive ways, as they had done every chance they had found in those weeks of the Prince’s recuperation, ere they had left the valley to wander the wilderness – long before they arrived and camped at the lake, and then met Elise’s haunt thereafter. Content to watch the human, Legolas laid there facing Estel and let the recollection play out with eagerness to experience again in his dream the gratification he and the man had found that artless morning.

But to the Elf’s surprise, Estel eyes flew open suddenly to land unerringly upon Legolas, the human gasped sharply with all sleepiness fleeing his visage, and then, the man sat up hurriedly to whisper in what the Prince took to be anxious awe, “Greenleaf.”

This was different from what Legolas remembered. Instead of Aragorn rising and saying the Silvan’s name with such ostensible unease, Legolas had cuddled up next to the wakening Ranger to begin laving the man’s chest in appeasement of his desire to taste the human’s skin, which had eventually led to his tasting the entirety of the man’s body. No, this occurrence was not at all a part of his memory. Legolas remained as he was, observing interestedly to see where this dream might lead – at least, he did so until the anxious human peered down at the still sprawled out Wood-Elf. It took Legolas a moment more for him truly to notice Estel’s cogent presence, but when he did, the Silvan moved to sit up, as well, until each of them were upright with their backs against the headboard, their amazed and overjoyed gazes upon each other. Neither Elf nor Ranger was instantly aware of what was taking place, as their dreaming minds were slow to allow them to realize they once more shared another reverie.

Yet, the laegel soon comprehended what was happening, and happily thought to himself while giving the man the smile Aragorn often thought of as his alone, Estel is really here with me. We are sharing another dream.

Yes, meleth nin, the human replied in thought, while grinning at the Wood-Elf in excitement. I had hoped to dream of you tonight. I had hoped to have another chance to speak to you before I head south to find you. Elladan, Kalin, and Reana are already riding south to search for you, even as we dream, I swear. I would have come myself, but my brothers would not allow it. I am sorry, Greenleaf. I promised to come get you, but Elrohir has literally drugged me into sleep to ensure I rest before we go to Imladris for me to be treated by my father. Though Elrohir has treated my wound here at the outpost where we currently camp, he is stubborn and wants for me to go home to have Ada treat it with vilya. I am sorry, the man again told the Elf, his happiness waning into ruefulness with this apologetic admission. Aragorn waited for the Silvan’s discontent to hear this and was relieved when he did not see or sense it.

Good, the Elf replied while laughing aloud, his merry, vibrantly cerulean eyes showing every bit of the love he felt for the human sitting next to him. That is good. I am glad you are going to the valley if you are sick enough to need to do so. Do not apologize for it. Listen to Elrohir. He is only doing what he thinks is best for you. I am protected and I am well right now, Estel. Go to Imladris and let your father see to your arm. I will still be safe when you feel better enough to join me.

Without another moment of hesitation, Legolas scooted towards the man and clambered to his knees until he was astride Aragorn’s thighs, then swathed his arms around Estel’s neck and his legs around the Adan’s waist to embrace the Ranger as tightly as he could in sitting upon the man’s lap and wrapping himself about the human. Legolas clung to the man as tightly as ivy to a tree, while Aragorn returned this hug with equal fervor. The only thing that could have made this tender and desired moment any better for either of them was if they were truly in their shared chamber in Imladris, securely in bed, and tangled up in each other’s limbs. In their last shared dream, their environs had been cast in blurred shadows, which by their reckoning had been because of the Elf’s near blindness, but right now, this was absent for both of them, though neither noticed the improvement just yet. To the Ranger’s observant, healer’s gaze, the Wood-Elf appeared healthier and better kempt, as if in his wakeful state the Elf had bathed, eaten, and perchance had his wounds treated, such that this newfound wellness reflected upon the dreaming Legolas’ state of being. To the Wood-Elf’s vexed scrutiny, though, the Ranger appeared pale, feverish, exhausted, and pained.

Are you sure your arm will be fine? I thought you said your wound was nothing of import, Legolas inquired of his human lover while pushing his nose into the scruff upon the Adan’s neck. Having gone so long without shaving, Estel’s whiskers were almost an outright beard rather than mere stubble; it mattered not a whit to the Elf, though, who twisted his cheek against the man in contentment to feel his lover’s bearded skin.

Leaning back to give the Prince an aggrieved grimace, the Adan admitted, I had thought it would not be troublesome, but I was wrong. It has festered with poison. As I said, with the help of Gwindor, Elrohir has made for me medicines to facilitate the wound’s healing, with a poultice upon the injury to help draw out the toxin, also. But what of you, Greenleaf? You appear better, but is this improvement merely in our dream or do you truly feel better? Have you eaten? Can you now see more clearly than when last we spoke? he asked in swift succession to learn of the laegel’s welfare.

Clearly not pleased by the Ranger’s attempt to change the topic from his own health, the Silvan answered nevertheless, still communicating by their shared thoughts rather than speaking aloud, I have eaten. And though my vision is not entirely restored, I too am taking medicines to ameliorate the swelling in my head, which I am told is the cause for my near blindness. I am much better, meleth nin.

Placing a palm upon either side of his Elven lover’s cheeks, Estel smiled in utmost relief to hear this, but his smile faded when he realized the significance of what Legolas told him. Among other minor skills for soothing injuries, the Prince was capable of making rudimentary remedies and could sew a wound or bandage an injury relatively well; and yet, he was not truly trained as a healer, for the Elf had never had the desire to learn this craft. Thus, Aragorn knew Legolas could not have made for himself any medicines to cure the contusions and inflammation to his head. Besides which, ere taking the medicines, Legolas would not have been able to see to obtain the herbs with which to make said remedy. Reana, Elladan, and Kalin had not found the laegel, so none of them could be helping Legolas, either. The Ranger’s heart skipped a beat before it began pounding with dread.

Who has made you medicines? he asked, while cognizant from the perspicacious perception of each other’s emotions – as well as their thoughts – how the Wood-Elf detected Estel’s agitation. Moreover, because of their faers’ connection whilst dreaming, Aragorn felt clearly his lover’s sudden hesitancy to reply, which made the man desire the answer all the more. Greenleaf, he persisted, who has made you medicines?

Legolas laid his head upon the Adan’s shoulder and increased the tightness of his arms’ embrace around the man’s sturdy body, ephemeral though it ought to have felt in what was truly only a dream. Aloud this time, he sighed to say, “I encountered a group of humans. I am among them even now.”

The Wood-Elf could feel the man’s heart as it raced under where his bare chest was pressed against the human’s equally naked torso, but more telling was how through the intense connection they shared in their dream, Legolas perceived Aragorn’s exponentially escalating panic to find out his Elven lover was amidst a group of unknown Edain. Having been starving and injured, the man worried the Prince was entirely at the humans’ mercy – if they had any compassion for Legolas at all, that is.

Without delay, Estel asked while naturally following the laegel’s lead in speaking out loud, “Who are these humans? What have they done to you? What have they given you? You are there willingly? Are you safe with them?”

As when last they had shared reverie, Legolas assumed correctly how Estel would know if he lied – not that the Prince wanted to lie to his Ranger, though he wished it possible for him to dissemble a bit to quell the Adan’s flourishing fear. He pulled back to smile at the man in what he hoped to be a soothing manner, ere he returned to embracing Aragorn as tightly as he could manage, with his nose once more buried in the wavy, chestnut colored hair lying against the side of the man’s neck.

“I believe I am safe with them, yes. They have offered me nothing but help thus far,” he told the human with unfeigned honesty, since he supposed his assertion to be true. “The woman who found me – Hannah – leads a group of refugees. She and her people have been travelling north in the hopes of obtaining the help of your Dúnedain, in fact. She found me in the bog, just a short while after I woke from our last dream together. Hannah led me to their camp and fed me. She has been nothing but kind,” he explained, hoping to appease the Ranger’s concern by showing how generous Hannah had been to him. “And she has promised me I am safe amongst her group. I believe her. She took her shears and evened out my hair, so no one would pester me about looking so strange with it half-shorn. She even helped me to bathe, knowing I could not see well enough to do it for myself, and then found clean clothing for me and helped me dress. I felt like a spoilt princeling all the while, having her scrub my back and wash my face for me,” he teased, again lifting his head from the human’s shoulder to look his lover in the eye, hoping Aragorn would see the humor in the situation, even while knowing the Adan would be too fearful to do so. When he saw nothing but Aragorn’s intensifying apprehension, Legolas once more settled his face into the crook of the human’s neck and exhaled in both gratification to be so near the man and consternation to have upset him. “I am fine, Estel. I promise you. I believe she is trustworthy.”

Yes, Legolas knew Estel was uneasy to hear all of this, despite the Prince’s avowal of Hannah’s kindliness. Estel knew that despite his assurances, Legolas was perturbed by his current predicament of being dependent upon a group of strangers, and thus, the man wished to find out as much as possible of these Edain because he suspected there to be something the Wood-Elf had not yet told him – something of significance. Instinctively, Aragorn took to running his hands up and down the Prince’s nude back, from the nape of his neck – where he used to have to sweep the laegel’s hair aside to be able to feel the flesh underneath, and now needed to do so no longer since Legolas’ hair was cropped close to his scalp – down to the swell of his equally exposed rear, then back up again.

“Estel,” the Silvan murmured into the side of the man’s neck. In a dream, Estel thought he ought not to be able to feel Legolas’ humid, warm breath blowing against his throat. But feel it he did, and it roused his ever-present lust for the Elf. His desire soon perished quickly when finally, Legolas admitted to Aragorn what he had been hesitant to tell the man, saying quietly, “Faelthîr is here with me.”

At once, Aragorn pushed the laegel back and away from him a bit too roughly, which startled the Prince, though it did not cause his dream-self any pain. Estel grabbed onto his lover’s upper arms and queried quickly and harshly, “What did you say?”

Taking in a deep breath, he tried to rest his forehead against the man’s forehead out of the craving to quiet the human’s apprehension with this simple affection, but he was pushed back again so Aragorn could look into the laegel’s face while awaiting his answer. Even though their bodies were not real, the pain of Aragorn’s powerful hold upon his arms caused the Prince to wince, which in turn caused the human to release him instantaneously, for Estel had felt Legolas’ discomfort as if it were his own arms being cinched too tightly. Legolas repeated to his Adan lover, though he knew well Estel had heard him the first time and could likely read this information through their shared thoughts, as well, “Faelthîr is here. She is with the humans as their healer. Faelthîr is the one making me medicines for the swelling obscuring my vision.”

Another time, Aragorn pressed the Elf back, though this time, he pushed the Silvan off his lap so that the Prince was forced into sitting upon the bed, instead, and the man took greater care not to cause his Elven lover any further discomfort in doing so. All relief to be sharing a dream with the Wood-Elf fled the man, and Estel stood from the down mattress to look at the Prince. After a moment of staring disbelievingly at Legolas, the horrified Adan began to pace back and forth across the ancient carpet upon the bedchamber’s stone floor. Estel could not wrap his mind around it – Faelthîr was near his Greenleaf. Quite forgetting for a moment how Legolas could hear his thoughts as if they were his own, Estel wondered, He is injured, nearly blind, and dependent upon the sympathy of Faelthîr. I cannot go back home now. I must get to Greenleaf.

It is not like that, Legolas tried to appease the human. He stood from the bed, also, and intercepted the pacing Adan by stepping directly into Estel’s path. Faelthîr is changed. She was caught by the same people who lured, coerced, and abducted the others in the camp. Like them, she was enslaved into working in their mines, fields, and homes. Besides, Hannah remained beside me while Faelthîr made the medicines the first time. And they worked. I can see more clearly. And Hannah knows what Faelthîr did to me, to you and my father, because in her shame for her actions, Faelthîr admitted it to Hannah long before they rebelled in the camp and came north, and told her even more of it this afternoon. Faelthîr wishes to make amends for her vile deeds, to compel the Darkness from her soul – the very Darkness she allowed to rankle there with Mithfindl’s help – by doing good work for the humans. And by aiding me. She is changed, he told Aragorn, and while Estel could sense how Legolas truly believed this, it did not cause the Ranger to believe it, as well.

“This is madness.” Estel slipped around the Wood-Elf to stride to the balcony, turned on heel, and strode back to the Silvan. “You cannot trust her. Please, tell me you do not genuinely trust her. Exactly how hard did you hit your head, Greenleaf?”

Had they not been in a dream where Legolas could literally feel the lack of sarcasm or accusation in Aragorn’s question, the Elf might have taken offense to the man’s last question. He had not hit his head so hard he had lost all reason, as the Ranger intimated. But Estel asked this without rancor and with only concern, for he feared the Silvan might truly be so muddled he had disremembered Faelthîr’s role in his subjugation and near death by beating and despoilment. Or, perhaps Aragorn thought the Elf so desperate for relief from his ailment that he was willing to trust an enemy for aid. Thus, the Prince ignored the man’s latter question and settled for responding to the rest of the Ranger’s fears.

“I do not trust her, no; or at least, not entirely. But from nearly the moment I met Hannah, I have trusted her; else, I would never have come to the camp with her, much less allowed her to help me bathe and dress. Indeed, Hannah reminds me of your father, and also, of Liandra from Elise’s village. She is not a healer, but she is kind and caring, to both me and the rest of her kith who follow her because of their own trust in her. And Estel,” he began to the man, grabbing Aragorn’s hands to keep him from marching away when it seemed the human would resume his restless walking of the floor, “there is another Elf with the refugees. His name is Hworin, and he is Silvan, one of my own people. He was one of my father’s servants, ere he was taken for enslavement, also. Hworin is honorable, I am certain of it. Already he hounds me in worry for my health and safety, and offers to do whatever he can, whether I bid it of him or not, just as he would do if we were at home, and despite his being injured. If it came down to it, Hworin would stand with me against the entire Edain camp, regardless of the bond he shares with them over their mutual tragedy. I swear to you, I will be fine.”

Legolas sighed in respite when he felt Estel’s respite to hear about this fellow Silvan Elf, for although the Elvenking’s kith might not always agree with their King’s actions and rulings, they were unflaggingly devoted to Thranduil and Thranduilion because they were staunchly loyal to their homeland and its preservation. If anyone could ensure Legolas’ safety until Kalin, Elladan, and Reana arrived, then Estel hoped it would be Hworin. Legolas hoped the same, of course.

“I do not understand. Who are these Edain? What are they doing? And how many of them are there? Why do they seek out the Rangers?” the human probed. With his hands till encased in the Prince’s hands, he brought their tangled fingers up to his mouth, where he held the Elf’s knuckles against the underside of his chin. His curiosity was piqued, as well as his fear, and the little Legolas had thus far told him of the people with whom he travelled only evinced to Estel that his Wood-Elf might be in danger from outside sources, if not from the people within the camp itself.

“Most of them are refugees, having rebelled and fled from a settlement in the Misty Mountains, between the entrance to Moria and the wooded foothills near Isengard, though where exactly, I do not know. Some were plied with promises of honest work for good pay, while others were outright taken from their homes or set upon while travelling, as was Hworin and two other Silvan who did not live beyond the revolt that freed them. All were forced into working for the profit of their subjugators. They were sorely mistreated, Estel, by being starved, beaten, and separated from their loved ones to maintain their compliance through violence and threats. As I said, those who escaped, whom I would estimate to be about a hundred, travel north to seek help to free the others who are still enslaved at the settlement,” Legolas explained to the man. He could have merely presented to the human the memory of being told all this by Hannah, Faelthîr, and Hworin – doing as the laegel had done the night before by disclosing his memories and thus showing Aragorn the events leading up to his being lost and blind in the bog – but without conscious thought, the Wood-Elf intuitively sought to avoid allowing Estel to know how frightened and suspicious he had been of Faelthîr at the time of the telling of this story, lest it incite the Ranger into forgoing ensuring his own health in favor of ascertaining Legolas’ good health. “Faelthîr told Hannah and the others of the Rangers, suggesting they all travel to Bree, where she believed at least one of the Dúnedain could be found, or where word could be sent to Imladris to reach you. In the morning, we will all begin to move camp northwards towards Bree yet again, as they had only stopped to seek out game and herbs to supplement their dwindling supplies.”

Then I must surely head towards Bree come morning, the Ranger decided to himself, which of course Legolas heard as if the man spoke it aloud. Estel let the laegel’s hands fall from his chin, encased Legolas in his arms again and pulled the Prince into his own body, while wishing to feel the laegel’s firmly muscled, lithe, nude body pressed to his own more desperately than ever he had felt this desire before now. Even knowing neither of their dream bodies was real could diminish the comfort this undemanding affection brought them both. Wriggling his arms out from under the Adan’s hold so he could return this fierce embrace, Legolas settled the side of his head upon Estel’s collarbone and listened internally as the human contemplated, Assuming Elrohir does not keep slipping soporifics into my medicines or tie me to the saddle, as he has threatened to do, then I will reach Bree in two or three days. How long before these refugees make it to the village?

To Aragorn’s dismay, Legolas began shaking his head in negation of the Ranger’s declaration. No, Estel. It will take us a week – possibly more – to reach Bree. We are likely to move very slowly with as many women, children, and elderly as they have, not to mention most will be on foot, with supply wagons and wounded to cart, as well. You have time enough to go home and be treated by Minyatar first, he reassured the human, though before the Adan could argue, Legolas then thought to ask, Why did Elrohir drug you?

Because he did not believe me when I told him and the others how you and I are sharing dreams. Nor did Elladan or Reana believe it. Only Kalin gave my story any credit, and his adamancy to go south to find you based upon this belief in me caused Elladan and Reana to go with him to assure his return when they do not find you – or so the twins believe, thinking Kalin will give in to grief when you are unfound. Although the Prince kept his arms tightly around the human’s waist, Estel took to rubbing the Elf’s back in long strokes, as he was wont to do, moving his callused palms from Legolas’ shoulders, over the muscled curvature of his torso, and finally down over the pert swell of the Elf’s arse each time, until finally he stopped with his hands cupping Legolas’ bare rear with the acquaintance of which only a lover is capable. I told Elrohir of how once he had treated my arm at the outpost, I intended to travel south so I could catch up to Kalin, Elladan, and Reana so I could be with you. My wily brother had Gwindor drug the remedy he brewed, all to ensure I slept through the night. And he threatened to sedate me until he had me in Imladris, if I refused to cooperate. Still, now you are headed towards Bree, I need to convince Elrohir to travel there. Or if nothing else, I need to evade him so I can travel there myself, the human yet again tried to convince the Elf.

Legolas nuzzled with his forehead against the human’s chin, wanting for Aragorn to lift it so he could rest his cheek more securely upon the Adan’s collarbone, which the man did willingly enough. Kalin, Elladan, and Reana are coming to find me, but to where do they go, Estel? I would not have them wander the swamps looking for signs of me, nor can I go back to the marsh to wait for them. I was an easy target whilst there, weaponless and starving, unable to see. Had someone other than Hannah and her kith found me, he began but did not finish, as neither Elf nor Ranger needed it explained as to what might have happened to Legolas should it have been the case. While I can see more clearly now, I do not want to forgo Faelthîr’s medicines. She told me had Hannah not found me when she did, the damage may not have been reversible, and missing these treatments might make the malady less likely to be cured. Although I could ask Hworin to accompany me back to the bog to wait for Kalin and the others, I gave my word to Hannah I would help her in her cause. I would not abandon the refugees, nor ask Hworin to abandon his friends in their fight. I must go to Bree with them, he told the Adan, who nodded slightly throughout the entirety of the Silvan’s explanation, for he understood his lover’s assessment.

Giving the Elf’s arse a gentle squeeze in the need to feel beneath his hands the Prince’s flesh, ephemeral though they both were right now, Aragorn rested his chin atop Legolas’ head where it reclined upon the man’s chest. He let his hands travel up the Elf’s back and then down to his rear once more. I did not have time to plan with Kalin how they would set about searching for you. I do not know how they will go about it. As soon as I told Kalin you lived, he and Elladan and Reana were off to find you. But do not despair they will give up or be unable to reach you. And I will be on my way to you as soon as I can, the human alluded, not wishing to press the issue of his travelling to Bree rather than home any more than necessary, but of course, Legolas knew the man was still intent upon skipping out on going to Imladris – all in the effort of reaching the Prince promptly, to offer Legolas the anticipation of having a familiar, trusted companion with him.

Kalin will never give up, now that he has the slightest glimmer of hope. The Silvan snorted amusedly against the Adan’s chest.

Even were their faers not connected and their thoughts unaligned, Legolas knew his Estel all too well. He needed to obtain the man’s promise to go home so Aragorn would do so, as he did not want for the Ranger to risk his health or his life, and the Elf knew the human would keep his word if he gave it. And of course, Estel was aware of Legolas’ intentions, for he could feel the laegel’s purpose to persevere in the matter until he obtained said promise. The man huffed in aggravated amusement, with the moist feel of Aragorn’s breath blowing across Legolas’ head to hit his shoulder.  

Just as Legolas could feel the man’s tenacious desire to go against the Elf’s wishes and consequently travel straight to Bree come morning, Estel could feel the Elf’s fear to lose him from the septic injury to his arm. Yes, undoubtedly, each fathomed what the other wanted and no words needed to be said about it – neither aloud or in thoughts. And yet, Legolas would have his promise from the human, so he ruminated to the Ranger, Do not push yourself into travelling to Bree before you are better Estel. I would not lose you to this poison just because you are too stubborn to see reason. Promise me you will go home first for Minyatar’s aid. Promise me you will stay there until Elrond deems you fit to travel.

In the end, the Adan was the one to give in – since his brother, Kalin, and Reana were on their way to find Legolas, with Hworin there to look after his Prince, and being how the laegel seemed to trust this Hannah woman, Aragorn could find no viable reason to tempt fate. He had no desire to lose his arm – much less his life – and it would be purposeless to endanger it when Legolas was as safe as could be for now.

“I will go to the valley first,” he promised verbally to the Wood-Elf, as he knew Legolas would be satisfied with nothing less than this oath spoken aloud. “But the moment I am able, the moment Ada deems me well enough, I will head to Bree to meet you, meleth nin.”

Contentment welled within the laegel; in turn, relief flooded through the man. The contentious conversation was over, at least, which allowed the two to forget for the moment their worries and thus allowed them to enjoy the other’s presence more thoroughly. Estel leant down to kiss the Prince upon his forehead, but predicting this attempt and moving quickly, Legolas shifted expertly so the man’s buss landed upon the Silvan’s mouth, instead. As had happened during their previous dream together when they had also shared a kiss, Elf and Adan experienced dual sensations, for each could both feel the pleasure of kissing and the other’s sensation of being kissed. It was a heady experience, which neither of them was eager to see end, despite the simplicity of this pressing of lips.

The man’s hands upon the Elf’s rear tightened, his fingertips finding their way to the cleft between its two halves, and as their modest kiss deepened and the Prince teasingly took Aragorn’s lower lip between his own to suckle it lightly, Estel’s hands began to clutch and separate the laegel’s arse in a rhythm pleasing to both man and Elf. It took little to make either want the other, and less so right now in this extraordinary, coupled state of being, so neither was startled to feel the other’s thickening shaft hardening between where their bodies were firmly compelled together at their navels. When finally the man leant away from the Silvan, thus pulling his lower lip from Legolas’ loving attention and pausing only a moment to give Legolas’ now lust-flushed mouth a final, gentle buss, he groaned at the painful need he felt – a need augmented by experiencing the Wood-Elf’s need alongside his own.

“Where are you right now?” the Ranger breathlessly asked the Silvan with his forehead resting upon the Elf’s forehead. Their eyes were closed, but each knew the other smiled. “Where are you sleeping?”

“In an elm tree, with Hworin on the branch below me so none can climb the tree to get to me without waking him first,” the equally winded Silvan replied. He moved his head for a moment so his cheek was aligned with the man’s cheek, and in doing so, pleasantly scratched at his face with the beard upon Aragorn’s whiskered visage, ere he leant back to ask in return, “And where are you sleeping, meleth nin?”

“By the fire, with Elrohir and Valnesse nearby, at the least, and Gwindor and Camthalion nearby also, at the most.” Aragorn tilted his head just enough to chafe his mouth over the Elf’s mouth for a moment.

They stood there with their nude bodies pressed together, sharing the same muggy, scant air between their nearly touching lips. Each knew what the other intended in asking these questions – that is, if it was safe to explore the pleasure they felt. Even knowing they were only dreaming, both Legolas and Estel’s lust for their mate was heightened beyond anything they had known in their waking. Their prurience grew wantonly as it fed from the other’s desire, until the two lovers could hardly think coherently just from the mere pleasure of standing with his naked body steadfastly pushed against his lover’s form. The Ranger’s hands again took to roving the laegel’s shoulders, back, and arse, chafing and fondling the Silvan’s smooth skin, caressing the Elf’s well-made rear, and travelling upward until he eventually, playfully skimmed his hands over the Prince’s shorn head.

“Have you seen yourself in a mirror? Is this how you truly look or is this how you imagine you look?” he questioned the laegel. Laughing lightly, Estel tried to tug at the Wood-Elf’s short locks, but to no avail. He told Legolas, “It will take me some time to get used to not being able to run my hands through your hair. I will miss it until it grows back.”

“Do you want me less without it? I suppose I am no longer desirable now,” the laegel asked facetiously, for he well knew the answer. The man’s turgid shaft rubbing along his own was proof enough of how Aragorn cared not at all whether the Silvan’s hair was sheared.

“Nothing could make me desire you less, meleth nin,” the man said solemnly. As he trailed his fingers along the delicate points of the Wood-Elf’s ears, his tone changed from serious to playful, and suddenly grinning, Aragorn amended, “In fact, I rather like having such a good view of your beautiful face and ears without your hair hiding them. Maybe you should keep it cut short.”

“Yes, and I can just imagine my father’s wrath upon seeing it so,” Legolas replied while chuckling back at the man.

Legolas walked forward while herding Aragorn back with his hands upon the Adan’s chest, until Estel’s legs struck the side of the bed. Once the human stopped, Legolas pushed at the human yet again, inciting Estel into sitting, though the Elf soon followed suit and sat upon the Adan’s lap as he had been seated earlier – that is, with his legs wrapped around Aragorn’s waist, his arms coiled around the human’s neck, and his body pushed as urgently into the human’s body as he could achieve. When the Adan moaned at the sensation of having the Prince’s weight upon his lap, the Wood-Elf could feel the rumble of Aragorn’s deep voice coming from the man’s chest upon his own chest, and for some reason he could not name, this aroused him more than any kiss or touch they had yet to give. And as the human shared the Elf’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations, Legolas’ increased craving became Estel’s surging hunger, such that the human’s hands flew to the now spread and exposed crevice to the Prince’s rear. While the Wood-Elf kneaded the man’s upper arms and shoulders, his neck and his face, the human ran his digits in feather light touches between the parted halves of the laegel’s arse.

They became intoxicated further with each soft, gentle, small stroke the other gave. Estel could feel Legolas’ pleasure; Legolas could feel Estel’s pleasure. There was truly no division between the human and Elf’s faers, and in their dream, there seemed to be no boundary between their bodies, either. Completely lost in the sensuality of what they were doing, neither tried to speak any longer; they didn’t need the words, anyway, as their bodies expressed all needing to be said. Legolas pulled away only long enough to reach for the nightstand, whereon even in reverie laid the ever-present phial of oil they kept there to ease the man’s entrance into the Elf’s body. Wordlessly, he uncapped it and took up the hand of the equally enthralled, silent human, upon whose fingers he poured a generous amount of oil. Aragorn straightaway began to spread it along the silken, sensitive flesh creating a ring around the Silvan’s entrance.

As Aragorn’s finger circled his opening, Legolas slathered his own fingers in the lubricant and tossed the empty phial aside, then slithered an arm between his and the man’s bodies to take Estel’s shaft in his oiled hand. He worked the human’s cock skillfully, deliberately, his own touches just as gentle and provoking as were Aragorn’s caresses, but when Estel slid his first finger inside of the Prince’s body, Legolas wrapped his digits around the human’s shaft to caress it more adequately, to give the man the same pleasure as that which he gave the Elf. When the second of Aragorn’s digits entered the Prince, Estel crooked his fingers slightly to manipulate the soft swell inside the Silvan, bringing a blindingly silver, carnal cascade of concupiscence to fall over the Prince’s illusory body, causing the Silvan to shudder and his hand to quit its work upon Aragorn’s cock, for he had to grip the human’s shoulders with both hands just to keep from falling off the Adan’s lap. Already, Estel could feel the Elf’s seed as it seeped from his lover’s shaft, but knowing Legolas wanted to find his climax with the human inside him – as was his preferred way to find release – Aragorn removed his fingers, lifted the Prince by the waist slightly, aligned his slicked shaft with the opening to the Elf’s body, and then guided the laegel into sitting back down upon his lap. Legolas did so slowly, savoring the sensation of his entrance being spread and filled by Estel’s cock, but to Aragorn, more enchanting than his shaft’s gratification to be welcomed inside the Prince’s aperture was the sight of Legolas’ face as the Elf sensually welcomed Aragorn inside his body. For what seemed an eternity to man and Elf, Legolas sunk downwards, until finally, his opening was fully glutted by the Ranger’s shaft, the flesh of his broadened rear rested upon the man’s thighs, and Estel was fully inside the Prince.

Greenleaf, he thought to the Elf, his jaw dropping open and his eyes snapping shut as his mind focused upon the incredible, strange sensation he was experiencing. In response, the Elf thought back, Estel, and twitched his hips just enough to cause the man’s shaft to shift inside of him the slightest bit, though just this minute movement caused both to lose their collective thoughts of all else but the pleasure shared between them.

Never had either felt anything as glorious or as wholesome as what they experienced now. Legolas reveled in the experience of having his Ranger’s shaft immersed in his body, distending his repleted opening with its length and girth so fully it was nearly painful in its bliss; and yet, he was keenly aware of Aragorn’s pleasure, as well, and could feel his own tight, welcoming heat upon the man’s cock as if his own shaft were inside the man. Estel shivered at the lascivious impression of Legolas’ aperture engulfing his cock in the by now familiar sensation of his lover’s body gladly receiving the Ranger’s shaft, but as could Legolas, Aragorn could also feel what the Elf felt, and so experienced the enjoyment of having his own body opened, overwhelmed, and stretched.

Without needing to tell the other of this, nor needing to speak aloud or think their intentions, Aragorn wound his arms under the Elf’s legs to lift them so he could move their joined bodies. He scooted backward upon the bed to give the Silvan the room to put his knees down; Legolas did so while simultaneously driving the man into lying fully upon his back, which allowed the laegel the ability to sit astride the human and set the pace of their movements. Leisurely, in no hurry except that which their bodies required of them, the Elf lifted his hips and let them fall, moving Estel’s cock inside of him deliberately, firmly, while the human met each downward movement Legolas made with his own heave upwards, such that each thrust caused his shaft to strike against the inner swell within Legolas.

It did not take long before the two lost themselves entirely to this union of their sensual, albeit incorporeal bodies, until the Elf and Ranger moved entirely as one, never faltering or hesitating in meeting the demands of their mounting desire for completion or of the other’s needs, but instinctively and consummately aware of how best to bring the most gratification for the other, since each could feel his lover’s pleasure and their mutual, oncoming peak. It was because of this connection of mind and duality of their bodily sensations that Estel knew the exact moment to take his lover’s thus far neglected shaft in hand, to begin to stroke it in time with the Elf’s swelling delectation. In doing so, and with the sudden intensification of his enjoyment, Legolas’ opening constricted around Aragorn’s shaft – this caused both Elf and Adan to come undone in just a few more felicitous, penetrating thrusts.

When their coinciding climax overcame them, all barriers separating the Elf and Adan’s selves were utterly demolished. As far as each was concerned in that moment of bliss, there was no Legolas or Estel, but one whole – as they felt they were meant to be. Joy inundated their hearts and minds, their separate faers were indeed coalesced into a single faer, and neither had felt as loved and complete as they did in this singular moment. Neither was willing to let this wonderful sensation abate; and so, when the Elf collapsed forward onto the Ranger’s chest, their mouths meeting briefly to share a kiss of gratitude, they afterwards again moved as one to allow the Silvan to turn around so his back was to the Adan, while also turning upon their sides so they laid upon the bed in the morning sunshine of this strange but unforgettable dream, with Aragorn’s shaft still contained by Legolas’ aperture. The man curled up behind the laegel, just as they had in the schoolhouse weeks ago, with their faers communing then as they were now.

For how long they remained that way, neither could have said, as in their reverie there was no true passage of time. Even the dawn’s light was the same as it had been when first this dream started, for the sun had yet to rise fully as it ought to have done already had this been reality. It might have been an eon they laid there together, as far as either was concerned, but even had it been an eternity they felt it was still too short a time. There was no need for communication between the two lovers. After what they had just shared, there was nothing left either needed to express.

That is, not until the human groaned growlingly to the Elf, Elrohir is trying to wake me, I think.

Legolas twitched his hips another time, shifting how Estel’s softening shaft was housed inside his body, which caused the man to rumble again, though this time, he did it out of sheer pleasure. I hope you were not moaning in your sleep… nor I, the Silvan teased. I’m not sure I would like to explain to Hworin why I was doing so.

Behind the Wood-Elf, the human’s body wobbled as if someone were shaking the man to wake him, which was in fact exactly what Elrohir was doing in that moment. Nor do I want to explain to Elrohir why I was shuddering and moaning, if I did so, the Ranger thought back to the Elf with laughter.

They remained as they were for a few moments more until again the human’s body shook. Aragorn sighed into the back of the laegel’s neck, upon his nape, where he so loved to burrow his nose to inhale the scent of the Elf. Even in this dream and despite the lack of the Silvan’s hair in which to do so, he imagined still he could catch the scent of pines and citrus. Both knowing they could remain this way no longer, Aragorn constricted his arms around the laegel to hug him closer while Legolas embraced the man’s arms more securely, as well.

I love you, Greenleaf. I will see you as soon as I am able – this coming night, I hope, but if not, then I will look for you each time I dream until we are together again, he told the Elf, his consciousness slowly returning to the real world, and thus his connection to Legolas slowly fading.

I love you, Estel. Be well, he replied to his human lover, his mind suddenly supplying him with a thousand things he ought to have told the Adan during their dream before it was over and the chance lost. By the time any one of these thoughts surfaced to the forefront of his thinking, the body behind Legolas’ form was gone, with Estel having evaporated from the dream as if he had never been there at all. It took only a moment more for the Prince’s consciousness to falter from this shared dream. Sunlight streamed through his shut eyelids, drawing the Wood-Elf from the vestiges of sleep, while a great distance away, Estel experienced much the same.