17. Chapter Sixteen
It was nearly twenty years before Haldir was satisfied that the defences would hold without him, and during that time he refused to leave Lorien. During those long years he struggled violently against what he felt for Legolas, sometimes blindly rejecting even the possibility that he could love him, and so although there were occasions when he might have gone to Thranduil's realm, he rejected every chance to do so and sent others in his place. When they returned from Mirkwood he longed to ask for news of the prince but he denied himself, gleaning what he could from what he happened to overhear.
Finally when after so long still his desire had not abated, that spring he agreed to return to Mirkwood to renew his acquaintance with Thranduil's officers at the request of Galadriel and Celeborn. He took only two or three young warriors with him and they travelled without hindrance along Anduin and then on foot to the Forest Gate. The nearer they came to Mirkwood the more apprehensive he became, torn between longing to see Legolas again, fear that after all this time there would be nothing left between them, and self-contempt that he should be so much in thrall to another.
The late afternoon weather was fine and clear as they walked the last miles towards the Elvenking's halls, and although their welcome from Thranduil was cold as usual, Saelon was pleased to see Haldir again, and Faron was there too, winking at him with the promise of pleasure to come. Haldir greeted them both and they took him straight to the guardroom where they insisted that he should taste the new ale but it did nothing to increase his courage. Every cell of him tingled with the knowledge that Legolas must be somewhere near, and he was desperate not to betray his feelings to those around him.
But after an hour or two had passed and there had been no sign of the prince, Haldir could not help asking in what he hoped was a casual voice when Legolas was expected, under the pretext of delivering messages to him from his kin in Lorien.
'He's out with a hunting party,' said Saelon, filling up Haldir's glass again. 'He'll be back tonight sometime, late probably.'
Haldir nodded, his heart wrung with a mixture of relief and disappointment, and he threw himself into a conversation about the different ales brewed in Lorien and Mirkwood. He had noticed that Faron had moved to sit beside him and was watching him through half-closed eyes, and when finally they got up to prepare themselves for the evening meal Faron took his arm and drew him aside from the others.
'I look forward to entertaining you in my own dwelling,' said Faron quietly so that only Haldir could hear. 'If you are too tired tonight, then I will wait for you tomorrow.'
Haldir sighed. 'Faron…'
He paused, uncertain. Never having turned away an opportunity for pleasure before, he had no words ready.
'I… it was…it may not be possible…' he stammered.
Faron looked at him in genuine surprise. 'Forgive me,' he said quietly. 'I thought I was speaking to Haldir of Lorien, whose fame as a lover stretches far and wide. But obviously I was mistaken.'
'Faron, I'm sorry…now that I'm Guardian…'
'Haldir, I'm not offering you a lifelong binding, only a night - no, several nights of pleasure. You seemed to find me…let us say…satisfactory last time we met. Do you expect me to believe that you have given up love in the name of duty?'
Haldir bowed his head in silence. Faron gazed at him, frowning with disbelief.
'Very well,' he said at last. 'I am glad you have enlightened me as to the ways of Lorien, where rank counts for more than friendship. Forgive me for having importuned you, and I a mere soldier of Mirkwood.'
He bowed quickly and was out of the door before Haldir could say a single word.
Haldir sighed again, then caught sight of the young soldier who was waiting to show him to his quarters. He led the way through the darkening forest, and after a short time they came to the dwelling which had been prepared for him, a few minutes away from Thranduil's halls.
'Your escort is housed next door,' said the soldier, glancing out of the unshuttered window at the neighbouring dwelling. 'I will return in an hour to take you to the dining hall.'
Haldir thanked him and after he had gone, sat pensive for so long that he had to wash and dress in haste. He had just finished re-braiding his hair when he heard a light knock and the young soldier peered round the wooden door. They made the journey to the palace in silence and shortly after Haldir found himself sitting with the other Galadhrim in the wide underground dining hall. There seemed no distinction of rank in the layout of the tables, and he saw Saelon and the other officers sitting with their warriors, both male and female, and others who from their dress seemed members of Thranduil's household, elflings as well as full-grown elves.
Moments later Thranduil swept into the room from a door at the back. Conversation stopped at once and everyone got to their feet. Haldir had not seen him since the siege of Barad-dur, but he found him undiminished in both beauty and strength of character, although there seemed to be a new moderation to him which Haldir had not seen before. Whether this came from being a father to his people or to his son, Haldir did not know.
'Please sit,' said Thranduil. 'Let us eat together, friends.'
He sat down at a table on the other side of the hall from Haldir's, on which about half the seats were vacant. Immediately food was served. Haldir found he was ravenously hungry and helped himself to a large portion of a rich stew which tasted like rabbit in a thick brown gravy. At first there was little talk as everyone quenched their appetite, but after a while conversation rose again. Once fed, Haldir felt better. He accepted a glass of Dorwinion wine from one of the serving staff and sat back, feeling more relaxed than at any time since he had arrived in Mirkwood.
His mood did not last long. There came a sound of raised voices outside, and a small crowd of elves came into the hall, muddied from the hunt but presentable enough to appear at table. They were in high spirits, laughing with arms flung round one another, and they went straight to the King.
'Father, you may be proud of us,' said a voice that cut Haldir to the heart. 'We have enough meat for a month.'
Thranduil stood up to greet his son, pulling him into his arms and kissing him.
'Welcome, Legolas, and the rest of you, welcome also, and well done. You are all back safely, I take it?'
'We are,' said Legolas. 'We saw some black squirrels but they fled at the sound of our approach. Apart from that nothing hindered us.'
'Well, sit and eat,' said Thranduil, indicating the empty chairs. 'That is if my fellows here do not object to the amount of dirt you have brought into the hall with you?'
There was a burst of laughter at this, and Legolas and his companions sat down at the table and were served. Gazing at the prince, his beautiful face lively and flushed from the fresh air of the forest, Haldir felt a coldness in the pit of his stomach. How could such a creature not be desired and pursued by every elf, nis and ner, of marriageable age? The chances that he had remained true to Haldir or had even remembered him after all these long years were truly negligible.
For a moment he half-wished he had not refused Faron's offer: at least that would have been preferable to the solitary night he was now sure he would be facing instead. But then he remembered what had happened on the very few occasions he had tried to find pleasure with someone in the years since he had last seen Legolas, and he knew that he had nothing to give Faron any more.
Trying to push aside his bleak thoughts, he set himself to listening to those around him but the voices speaking in the strange accents of Mirkwood only made him feel desperately homesick. He thought of the hours Rumil had spent arguing that he should go with Haldir on this journey, but he could not deprive Lorien of its Guardian and his most senior captain at the same time, so Haldir had refused him. Now he longed for his brother's company, but since he couldn't have it, he began instead to count how many days it would be before he could leave Mirkwood without offending the King. Had he not felt so downhearted he might have found the question amusing: Thranduil hated embassies, and would be only too happy if he were to leave this very night.
'A week,' he said to himself. 'That should be enough, and then we can go without anyone's honour being stained.'
He caught the eye of one of the servers and watched while his wine cup was filled to the brim, then drank deeply from it, holding back the Mirkwood elf so that he could refill the cup straight away. He earned himself an inquisitive look for that.
A sweet course was being served but Haldir had no appetite left. The party at the King's table were singing now and large quantities of wine were being consumed. He noticed from the few glances he permitted himself that Legolas drank little, but he seemed as lively as his companions nevertheless. One in particular sat close beside him, an arm casually flung round the prince's shoulders.
'So that's his favourite,' said Haldir to himself, his heart sinking even further as he scanned his rival's fair, good-natured face.
Haldir felt a wave of self-loathing wash over him. How could he have allowed himself to fall into the dangerous and foolish notion that one person could matter more to him than any other? This painful uncomfortable mood was the consequence of that madness, and it riled him that it had taken the long journey to Mirkwood to make that clear to him. In all the time he had sat here, not once had Legolas even glanced in his direction, and yet he himself was moping like a lovesick girl. Haldir drank deeply again. The wine was strong but it was barely taking the edge off his dark mood. At times like this he felt sorry he could hold his drink so well: a little oblivion would be very welcome tonight.
He stretched out his legs under the table and sighed. The underground chamber seemed suddenly hot and airless, and the rise and fall of voices around him pressed painfully on his ears. He began to wonder whether he could slip away unnoticed, and walk by himself in the cool night air.
Leaning over, he indicated his intention to Heleghen, the eldest of his three Galadhrim companions, and glancing around to make sure he was unobserved, he rose from his chair and walked unobtrusively to the door. And so it was that he failed to see Legolas turn, laughing at something his companion had just said, and catch sight of him just as he had reached the door. Nor did he see that for an instant Legolas was transfixed into sudden stillness, the warm colour draining from his face. The moment passed and neither Legolas' cousin Surindel who sat beside him nor anyone else noticed it, so that when Legolas got up, saying he was going to see Galion about the wines, no-one thought anything of it.
Haldir strode through the wide well-swept corridors of the palace towards the gate. He had nearly reached it when he heard the sound of quick light footsteps some way behind him, and he increased his speed, hoping to avoid conversation, especially of the diplomatic kind. The gatekeeper saw him approach and the great stone gate began to swing open as a long slender shadow came round the final bend in the corridor, and Haldir heard someone call his name.
Haldir slipped through the gate quickly and crossed the square of cleared ground that separated the palace from the trees, then lost himself in the shadows. It was the night of the half moon, and its pale light showed him the path towards his dwelling.
Haldir stopped, scarcely breathing, foolishly hoping the trees would hide him, but he heard firm steps along the path, and then Legolas' voice spoke just beside him.
'Haldir. You've come back.'
Haldir nodded silently, keeping his face turned away.
'I didn't even know you were here. My father said nothing. And then I saw you walking to the door. I thought I was dreaming…'
Haldir stood mute and unmoving before him.
'Have we nothing to say to each other after so long?' said Legolas.
Slowly Haldir turned, but would not look him in the eyes.
'I…bring you greetings from your kin in Lorien,' he said.
'And I send them mine in return,' said Legolas.
There was a long pause. Haldir felt a trembling begin in his jaw and shudder its way down his back and down into the ground. He was standing so close to Legolas that he could hear him breathing, but he dared not reach out and touch him, although he longed to do so.
'And...have you no greeting for me, Haldir of Lorien?' said Legolas.
'I…have been…busy,' stammered Haldir incongruously. 'There has been…much to do in Lorien.'
'Of course,' said Legolas gently. 'But now you're here. Haldir…'
Lightly Legolas laid his hand on his shoulder but Haldir started and pulled away.
'Please,' he said. 'Your friends will be missing you.'
'Not as much as I have missed you these long years. Will you not even look at me, Haldir?'
Haldir could not look at him, could scarcely breathe in his presence.
'Why are you so afraid?' said Legolas softly. 'Did you think I had forgotten you?'
Haldir made a low sound of pain, immediately cut off.
'You esteem yourself too little if you think I could,' said Legolas, 'even after only one night with you. I told you I would wait for you, and I have done so.'
Now Haldir raised his eyes and looked at the prince, full of confusion.
'But your friend…at the table…'
'My friend? I have many friends, Haldir, but no lover.'
'But he was…his arm…on your shoulder…'
'The only person with his arm on my shoulder was my cousin Surindel. Your way is clear, Haldir.'
'Clear? And so is yours,' said Haldir.
Legolas sighed deeply, then gave him a smile of heartbreaking beauty.
'Then you won't object if I do this,' he said, and resting both hands lightly on Haldir's cheeks, he leaned forward and kissed him gently.
Haldir closed his eyes, overwhelmed by the reality of Legolas so near to him. After so many years everything about him was new, and yet at the same time so familiar that it was as if he had seen him only the day before.
'Legolas,' said Haldir desperately, pulling him into his arms. 'You won't leave me, will you?'
Legolas curved his hand round the back of Haldir's head. 'No, beloved, I won't leave you,' he said. 'Or rather, I will, but only for a moment.'
He slipped out of Haldir's arms. 'Wait for me,' he said, and disappeared into the darkness. Haldir did so, trembling with emotion. He felt as if strong currents of energy were running up and down his flesh, tingling in his fingers where they had rested on Legolas' body. He was afraid again, afraid of how quickly his heart had opened to the prince, but he wanted it to be open. And so when he saw Legolas emerge from the palace gate a few moments later, he let all his doubts fall away. Legolas took his hand and led him along the path until it reached a fork, then turned left.
'My dwelling is the other way,' said Haldir.
'Tonight you're my guest,' said Legolas, and a few minutes later stopped at a house much like Haldir's, except that it had a frieze of green painted beech leaves carved around the door. They went inside and Legolas busied himself with closing the shutters, while Haldir looked around him.
'You can kindle the fire if you like,' called out Legolas, and Haldir went to the hearth and found what he needed. In a few minutes the room was filled with a comforting orange light and the crackle of flames. Legolas lit a candle and put it in the window, then turned back to Haldir.
'Now,' he said, undoing the lacings of his tunic. 'I must wash, for I have been out hunting since before dawn. My horse must smell better than I do.'
Haldir laughed and reached out for him one-handed, taking in a deep breath of the air around him.
'If this is how you smell after a day's hunting, then maybe you should go hunting more often,' he said.
And then they were in each other's arms, their mouths ravenous for each other, twenty years of longing erupting between them. Haldir lost all sense of where he was; nothing was real for him but the taste and feel of Legolas, his hot mouth pulling him in, his hands reaching for the ties of Haldir's clothes and dragging them off his body. And his smell: the richness of sweat and the salt tang of leather and horseflesh was on him, and now the sweet potent sharpness of desire as Haldir's nearness drew the juices out of him. Already naked himself, Haldir pulled off the last of Legolas' clothes and they clung together, stretched out on the thick rug that lay across the hearth.
There were no words, but instead they gasped and groaned and cried out their bodies' needs. Haldir was so desperate to prove to himself that Legolas was real and alive and solid that he was not gentle, seizing hold of him hard so that the bruises bloomed quickly on his naked body. Legolas grunted with the pain of it but he did not resist him, letting Haldir do what he would, welcoming his hands on every part of him. For he felt the energy of Haldir's open heart, and knew that in the long years that they had been apart, he had learnt how to love.
And although Haldir had been the master and Legolas had willingly submitted to him, the moment came when Haldir lay down and offered himself to Legolas, and in his arms Haldir melted and his desperate fear dissolved. Legolas rocked him backward and forwards, piercing him slow and deep so that Haldir moaned softly in time with the movement of Legolas inside him, and then the prince who was normally so gentle flared up into a flame of passion, thrusting hard into his lover so that they both cried out at the same moment and abandoned themselves to each other in the blissful release of their climax.
For a long time afterwards they lay entwined together, breathing hard. Haldir turned in Legolas' arms and finding his mouth, kissed him deeply in love and gratitude. Gradually their breathing slowed but still they did not move, for they were both in the place they had most longed to be, skin against skin, hearts beating in the same strong rhythm.
At last Haldir began to shiver, and Legolas got up and found a blanket and wrapped it round him. Haldir began to get up, but Legolas said,
'Stay,' and Haldir curled up again in front of the fire while the prince pulled on his breeches and made them some tea. Haldir drank it too fast and scalded his mouth, so Legolas had to kiss him again to cool it down. He went outside to the stream then and brought back a big pot of water to heat on the fire, and when they could see the steam curling from the top of it, Legolas banked down the fire and led Haldir through the bedchamber with its curtained bed to the little bathroom. He poured the hot water into the tub, mixing it with some cold so that it was deep enough to sit in.
'Now I must wash,' he said, getting into the tub. Haldir sat on a stool, watching Legolas while he undid his braids, then poured water from a painted jug over his long corn-coloured hair so that it lay flat and gleaming against his skull.
'Pass me that bottle,' he said, but Haldir took it from the shelf and emptied some of the honey-coloured soap into the palm of his hand and massaged it into Legolas' hair. The prince leaned back against the back of the bath with a deep sigh of contentment.
'Little did I know when I woke this morning that such pleasure awaited me, my sweet Haldir,' he said.
Haldir murmured soothingly, continuing to work the soap into Legolas' hair, lifting up the heavy weight of it and rubbing it gently between his hands.
'How beautiful you are,' he said softly. 'Your hair is like silk, Legolas.'
'And yours is like silver thread,' said Legolas, reaching out and fondling a handful of it.
Haldir smiled and worked on, reaching out for the jug and using it to pour clean water over Legolas' head.
'Valar, that stings!' cried out Legolas, as the soapy water ran into his eyes. Haldir laughed and poured another measure over him, but this time Legolas turned and seized him. Haldir slid out of his grasp, letting the blanket fall to the floor.
'Ah, not fair!' said Legolas. 'You must take your punishment!'
'I will,' said Haldir, 'but first you must be clean.'
'Very well, but you must too,' said Legolas, holding out his hand. Haldir took it without thinking, and at once Legolas gave it a sharp tug. Haldir lost his balance and Legolas only had to pull gently for him to end up submerged in the water.
He struggled out of the tub, coughing and spluttering.
'And now you've taken your punishment,' said Legolas. 'We're even.'
'We're not,' choked Haldir, pushing his wet hair out of his eyes. 'Now you must wash my hair, and afterwards I'll show you what it is to be even.'
Eyes half-closed, Legolas gave him a lazy, smouldering look and reached for the soap. When Haldir's hair was clean he began to wash Legolas' long slender body, making him lean his head back and sliding the soapy sponge along the length of his neck. He could not resist stooping down and kissing him along the line of his jaw, feeling Legolas' pulse quicken as he did so. Then he noticed a dark bruise on the right side of Legolas' neck, and another one on his shoulder. Now that Haldir looked more carefully, there were many marks on Legolas' body which had not been there before. Haldir touched them gently one by one with the tip of his finger.
'I fear I forgot myself, Legolas,' he said, subdued. 'I've hurt you.'
Legolas pulled his face down and kissed him. 'It's no matter,' he said. 'You yourself are not unmarked.' And he trailed his hands across Haldir's hips. Haldir drew in a sharp breath and looking down, saw the impressions of Legolas' fingers on his skin.
A slow smile bloomed on his face. 'Yes, now I remember,' he said. 'You held me so very tightly…'
Legolas smiled back, and they felt the strong pull of attraction drawing them together again.
'Let's finish here,' said Legolas. 'Then we can go to bed.'
'If you only knew how many times I've dreamed of hearing you say that,' said Haldir.
'How many?' said Legolas.
'Oh, maybe…' he made a calculation in his head. 'A thousand?'
'Well, hurry, then, and your dream will be made real,' urged Legolas.
Haldir drizzled soapy water down his chest, then took Legolas' hand and washed his arm in long soft strokes before passing the sponge along his collarbones and down his other arm, which he washed in turn. When he had finished he stooped down and laid his lips on the little hollow at the base of Legolas' throat, sliding his mouth along the smooth wet skin. Legolas groaned with pleasure.
'Stop,' he said breathlessly. 'Or I won't be able to resist you.'
'Why should you resist me?' said Haldir, laughing, but he let Legolas take the sponge from him, and when he had scrubbed the rest of his body, he got out of the bath and wrapped himself in a white towel.
'The water's still warm,' said Legolas, and Haldir got in and washed quickly, then stepped out to be wrapped in another towel that Legolas was holding out for him.
'We'll empty it in the morning,' said Legolas, leading him through to the bedroom.
Haldir looked at the big bed with its quilted white bedspread and its blue and gold curtains and canopy.
'I think you would find my sleeping arrangements frugal in comparison with yours,' he said.
'It's not the bed that matters but who shares it with me,' said Legolas, giving him a dazzling smile. He began to light some more candles and place them on the bedside table.
'Why do you want so much light?' said Haldir, sitting down on the end of the bed. 'Two or three will be enough.'
'So that I can see you, Haldir! I've waited so long to do so; now I refuse to be deprived of the sight of you.'
'The bed curtains will shut out the light,' said Haldir.
'Then we'll keep them open. I must see you, I must look on you: take off your towel, Haldir, let me look on your beauty. I want to know your body with my eyes as well as with my hands.'
Despite all his years of experience, Haldir felt as nervous as a novice as he undid the towel and revealed his naked body to Legolas. The prince gazed at him, letting his eyes roam from the crown of Haldir's silver-fair head right down to his feet. When at last he looked into his face he was amazed by what he saw.
'Haldir, you're blushing!' said Legolas.
'Of course I'm not,' said Haldir, wrapping himself up hastily in the towel again.
'I venture you've been admired before, many times.'
'Yes, but never by someone who I…' Haldir stopped abruptly.
Legolas watched him carefully, seeing the uncertainty ripple across his face.
'Well, you've nothing to fear,' said Legolas gently. 'To me you are entirely beautiful.'
Haldir's eyes filled with tears. He looked away, raising his arm to hide his face and drawing his splayed fingers through his hair.
Legolas' lips parted as if he would speak, but then he turned away and took up a small bowl filled with translucent amber-coloured grains, holding a lighted spill to the contents until a wisp of fragrant smoke curled up from them.
When he had given Haldir enough time to regain his composure, Legolas put the bowl down beside the candles. Draping his towel across a chair, he crossed to the bed and throwing back the bedspread, slid between the white linen sheets.
Haldir turned slowly to him, and Legolas held out his hand.
'Come to me, beloved,' he said.
Haldir got to his feet and, dropping his towel on the floor, climbed into the bed and covered himself with sheet and bedspread. He lay stiff and straight, looking up at the embroidered canopy, not touching Legolas.
Legolas looked at his pale face, and the deep frown line between his eyes.
'What is troubling you, Haldir?' he asked, letting his fingers trail gently across Haldir's forehead.
There was a long silence, and then Haldir said,
'Of what are you afraid, my dear one?' said Legolas.
'Oh, of so many things, Legolas. Of the return of the enemy; of another war…'
Haldir fell silent again. Legolas waited, and at last he went on.
'And I'm afraid of what I might do, or fail to do, now that…now that I've changed.' Abruptly he pushed himself up on his elbow. 'Do you know Legolas, when I got home to Lorien after I was newly made Guardian, I almost asked to be released from service so that I could come here to be with you.'
'Did you?' said Legolas, incredulous and delighted.
'Yes, I did, and if it hadn't been for something that happened, I would have broken my oath and thrown away my honour. I'm afraid of myself, Legolas.'
'You know I would never ask such a thing of you, much though I might desire it,' said Legolas.
'I know it, but it is in me, whatever you may say. And I'm also afraid that…'
Again he fell silent, and this time he turned on to his side, away from Legolas, before speaking again.
'I'm afraid that…no, I can't say it. I can't say it, Legolas.'
'You're afraid that my love for you can't hold, when we are separated by such great distance and time.'
Haldir's whole body contracted and he hunched himself up so that Legolas could no longer see his face.
'Yes,' he whispered.
Legolas sighed deeply, then moved close to Haldir and curled his body round him.
'That is the one thing you don't need to fear,' he said. 'I'm yours, Haldir. I have said so, and I'll swear to it if you wish.'
'No, don't swear,' said Haldir in a trembling voice. 'I know you speak the truth. But when I'm far away from you, I'm full of doubt.'
Legolas leaned down and kissed his shoulder.
'Next time you doubt me, remember how my hands feel on your body,' he said, sliding them down and crossing them over Haldir's chest before grasping him under the arms. 'I'm like a breastplate over your heart, and a protection for your back.' Gently he turned Haldir and lay across him so that they were face to face. 'I'm here, a shield for your belly and your most sensitive parts, and for your legs that brought you back to me.'
Haldir looked up at him, open and defenceless.
'I'm a part of you, Haldir, and we can't be separated, even by distance and time. My love for you was as true when you were far away in Lorien as it is now that you're here in my bed.'
Haldir gave a shuddering sigh and reached out for him, pulling him close.
'Legolas, I…I…' Haldir struggled to speak, but again fell silent.
Legolas rested against him, his skin taking in the warmth of Haldir's body.
'You will say it when you're ready, beloved,' he said calmly. He leaned down and kissed Haldir on the corner of the eye, tasting the salt where the tears had run down.
Haldir held on to him. Legolas felt the shudders running through Haldir's body, and for a long time they stayed unmoving and silent, clinging to each other. At last the muscles of Haldir's shoulders begin to relax.
'I'm glad I came to Mirkwood this time,' said Haldir drowsily. 'I didn't have the courage before now. And the defences weren't ready.'
'I'm glad too,' said Legolas.
'I'll try to send you messages when I can,' said Haldir. 'I couldn't write to you before…even the thought of you was nearly enough to make me cast aside my oath…I couldn't risk it…'
'I understand, beloved,' murmured Legolas, reaching up and stroking Haldir's hair.
'I believe you…' mumbled Haldir, his eyes closing.
He fell into a deep sleep. Legolas listened to each slow breath of Haldir's and felt his own chest rise and fall in rhythm; and through his skin he felt the beating of Haldir's heart and of his own, and didn't know which was which. He breathed in the smell of Haldir's newly-washed hair and clean body, and in the blissful silence tears ran from his eyes and along Haldir's neck into the linen pillowslip.
Many hours passed, and it was deep night when Haldir woke and looked up at Legolas. The room was full of incense and the candles had burned low, so that as the prince turned his face to him it was first bathed in light, then dappled with shadow. Haldir reached out wonderingly and traced the contours of his finely-shaped bones, his heart opening to Legolas' beauty.
'Now it's my turn to look at you,' he said, pushing himself up on to his elbow, and carefully he lifted the covers to reveal Legolas' naked body. The prince stretched himself out on the bed and smiled up at him, and Haldir let his eyes travel down the curve of his neck on to the swing of his shoulders and down to his narrow waist and muscular hips. His gaze rested for several moments on his sleeping cock, nestling in hair like soft gold wires, and as if it felt his scrutiny it stirred a little before resting again.
Haldir raised his eyes to Legolas, and the love and desire in the prince's face was so strong that Haldir was burnt by it.
'May I touch you?' he said, shaken.
'I long for you to do so,' said Legolas, and Haldir reached out and took the prince's face in both hands and kissed him. Legolas gave a sigh of complete contentment and his whole body relaxed at Haldir's touch. Haldir deepened the kiss, tasting the hot sweetness of Legolas' mouth, and felt a current of energy run from his lips right down into his gut and pool in his groin. His cock stirred and hardened, and he stretched himself out full-length beside Legolas.
'You are mine,' he whispered. 'Let me give you pleasure, Legolas.'
'Mmmm,' groaned Legolas. 'Do what you want with me.'
'You must be strong,' said Haldir, caressing Legolas' neck, 'for I will take you close to the edge, but you mustn't cross it until I tell you.'
Eyes closed, Legolas groaned again, already past speech. Haldir leaned down and tilting Legolas' neck, began to suck gently on his throat, swirling the tip of his tongue along the smooth skin. Legolas' cock bobbed and rose a little, standing up at an angle. Haldir smiled down at it, then returned to his task, drawing his tongue along Legolas' collarbones while his hand strayed further down, grazing the skin of his chest until it touched the edge of a nipple.
Legolas jerked up with a gasp and his lips parted. Immediately Haldir dipped down and circled the prince's lips with his tongue, then let it slide inside, filling his mouth. Legolas took him in, moaning with pleasure, but then he bit him gently, one hand coming up and seizing hold of the bare flesh of Haldir's rump. Haldir's body twitched but immediately came to lean more heavily against Legolas, so that he could better take hold of Haldir.
Haldir's mouth was on Legolas' chest now, suckling at him until each nipple was hard and taut. He grazed his nails down the prince's sides, then rested his cheek on his belly.
'Haldir, please…' gasped the prince.
'You must be strong,' said Haldir, smiling. 'You're in my hands.'
He turned his face and let his tongue swirl around the shallow pool of Legolas' navel, then with his lips pulled gently at the curling hairs that grew in a thick golden line from the bottom of his belly down to his groin. Legolas' cock stood stiff and hard, straining upwards so that its head was close to Haldir's mouth. But Haldir didn't touch it, instead sliding his hands under Legolas' hips and raising up his body.
'Haldir…' breathed the prince.
'Not yet, sweeting,' said Haldir, kneeling down between Legolas' legs and bringing the prince's hips down to rest on his own thighs.
Now Haldir bent down and took the prince into his mouth, tasting the sweet-salt juices that flowed from the head of his cock. Firm and swift he worked him, feeling the muscles of Legolas' abdomen tighten and shudder under his hands. After a while Haldir let the prince slide out of his mouth and looked down on his face, lips parted and eyes closed in abandoned pleasure, his hair spread round him on the pillow like a flood of gold.
'Beloved,' Haldir whispered, too softly for Legolas to hear, then stooped down again. Soon Legolas was trembling and Haldir knew he was almost at the edge, so he tilted Legolas' body and parting his legs, he entered him gently.
Legolas gasped and took hold of Haldir's thighs, pulling him closer so that Haldir plunged deeper into him. Almost at once Haldir could feel his climax beginning to build, but he held himself back, reaching out and taking hold of Legolas' hips and anchoring himself to him. Steadily he began to swing his body forward and back, forward and back, pushing his cock in low and deep, feeling its sensitive head bumping against the sweet spot inside. Legolas was moaning softly now, his body hot and slick with sweat, his face flushed and his hair dishevelled as he turned his head from side to side on the pillow.
Haldir felt Legolas' body suddenly tighten against his cock, and then the prince's body jerked upwards.
'Haldir…I must…' cried out the prince, and then he came. Haldir laid his hand on Legolas' cock, feeling the hot thick seed running down it, and gently caressed him.
So deeply was Haldir drawn into Legolas' pleasure that he had almost forgotten his own consummation, but now he took hold of Legolas' hips again and began to thrust slowly into him, and as he always did with the prince, he lost himself so that he no longer knew which was his flesh and which was Legolas'. And as he went over the edge into ecstasy, he heard Legolas' voice clearly saying his name, but he was not sure which of them was speaking or even which of them he himself was: and he knew that it was true what Legolas had said: they belonged to each other, and they were one.
When the waves of pleasure in his body had died down a little, Haldir withdrew from Legolas and suddenly exhausted, half-fell across him, one arm flung across his chest. The prince gazed at him, his eyes soft and warm with love.
'Haldir, my sweet Haldir, I love you,' he said drowsily.
Haldir smiled at him. 'Now we are even,' he said.
1. Legolas' comment to Haldir that to him he is 'entirely beautiful' is borrowed from the poem by W H Auden, Lay your sleeping head.
The first ten lines are as follows:Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me,
The entirely beautiful.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.