Mael-Gûl: 17. Departure

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17. Departure

Authors note:
Completely A.U. Legolas slave fic. This story was inspired by Bluegolds story "Bound", which can be found here:
I use similar plot ideas here with her permission.
Betareader: Many thanks to Surreysmum, who polished this and made it so much better! She also saved me from some serious embarrassment.
All still remaining errors are my own.
Warnings: Slash. M/m, BDSM, d/s, torture, toys, non-con and debatable consent. Very graphic descriptions. Special warnings for this chapter: Implied torture (of the night before).
Please heed the warnings!

Disclaimer: Universe and characters are not mine, but Tolkien's. The idea of the spell, however, belongs to me. Some sentences in this chapter have been directly lifted from scenes of the Extended Editions of Peter Jacksons Movies FOTR and TTT. Those are credited with an asterisk*. However, I took the liberty to change the context.

For all other warnings, other disclaimers and author's notes see Story Intro.


XV. Departure

Aragorn knelt at his mother's grave and reverently cleared it of fallen leaves, twigs and other debris.
Carefully, he cleared the Elven inscription, freed the statue from clinging tendrils and moss.
With regret he looked at the tell-tale signs of neglect. He found his way much too seldom here.

'And now I do not even know if I shall return,' he thought. 'Here I am, forced to face my destiny at last. And I could not feel less ready, or less worthy.'

Briefly he thought back to Legolas. The incredible amount of pain he had put him through last night, and his own, startled horror as he fully realized how far he had gone only while treating his slave's injuries this morning. The unintentional little flinches of his slave whenever he reached to touch him or just came close. The sudden little silences, the carefully rehearsed words, the equally careful avoidance of his gaze, the fear lurking in his slave's eyes whenever he forced him to meet it... The effort it took him to coax Legolas back to teasing...

Of course, last nights hurts and memories were very fresh right now. Still... this behavior of his slave had become all too common lately.

And he recalled vividly seeing Legolas in his bonds last night, and had to swallow hard at his sudden arousal. He also recalled his own feelings at seeing him like this. He had been elated, giddy, as if drugged; he could not stop himself, even as he knew the listeners were gone. It had been so exciting, seeing his slave like that, and he could still feel the urge to go further, do more, push his slave even deeper into pain and hold him there... to try out how much closer to the edge he could bring him... It was as if he had been possessed, nearly blinded with obsession and desire.

Only this morning he had truly realized how far he had gone, and had been shocked and abashed by the evidence of his own handiwork.

But still, this all had been about survival, had it not? He had to make sure Legolas was safe, that Elrond would find no excuse to punish him himself... and after all, Legolas was bound to serve his needs...

And yet...

Sighing and with some effort, Aragorn shoved the images away and concentrated back on the task of cleaning the headstone in front of him.

'You would be horrified if you could see me now,' he thought bitterly, tracing the Elven letters on the headstone. 'But you warned me, did you not? You never approved of me taking a slave. You thought it unmanly to take a male lover, but when you learned I had been given that lover as my slave you berated me even worse. You thought it would increase my streak of cruelty, it would corrupt me... and you were right.'

Still, Gilraen had really liked Legolas and had treated him as part of the family after she finally accepted his place in her son's life. She had not treated the Elf like a slave or servant, but more like a second son. Or maybe rather as a kind of son-in-law, come to think of it. Aragorn knew Legolas had positively liked her.

Gilraen had deeply disapproved of the custom of Imladris of enslaving other Elves and keeping them as pleasure slaves. It was one of the reasons she had left the Elven realm after Aragorn's majority to live with her father's people. Still, after her death Aragorn had brought her body back to be buried here, because he thought this way he could more easily and more often care for her grave.

'You warned me, mother,' he thought bitterly. 'You always feared the darkness you could feel in Lord Elrond would corrupt me. And you were right.'

He raised his hands to the marble cheeks. "And still you brought me here to be fostered in Rivendell. What were you thinking?"

He was hardly aware that he had spoken this last sentence aloud, and so he jumped a little when suddenly a voice behind him answered in rolling Sindarin.

"She only wanted to protect her child," Elrond said, walking slowly towards him. "She thought here in Imladris you would be safe."*

Coming closer, he added: "In her heart, your mother knew that you would be hunted all your life. That you would never escape your destiny."*

Aragorn bowed his head. He did not turn around at once; he was not yet ready to face his foster-father.

Elrond continued: "The skill of the Elves can reforge the sword of kings. But only you have the power to wield it!"*

Finally, Aragorn turned to face him.

"I do not want that power!"* he said forcefully. "I never wanted it! Except perhaps to protect those who depend on me."

Elrond hesitated. He was taken aback. Then he made a scornful face. "You speak of Legolas!" he stated.

Aragorn gave him a half-bow. "Maybe," he said flatly. "Among others."

Elrond scowled. "You will have to give him up once you wed and decide to produce heirs one day," he said. "You are the last of that bloodline. There is no other!"

Aragorn fixed him with an unreadable gaze. "Maybe," he said. Inwardly, he thought: 'Or not. I deem that is rather a matter between me and my future wife.' Aloud, he added: "But until then, I will keep him by my side."

Elrond looked at him with narrowed eyes. Finally, he shrugged. "Your slave is precious to you," he stated. "Maybe too precious. Yet it is well that you should choose to keep him, for it may still be a long time until you may find a wife." He saw Aragorn's startled and unbelieving expression and ventured on: "I will not have my daughter bind herself to you!"

Aragorn looked startled. "My Lord," he began, "surely..."

Elrond looked at him angrily.

"You do not understand!" he said. "You are mortal! I know my daughter loves you. Still..."

He interrupted himself. Decisively he went on: "Our time here is ending. Arwen's time is ending! I wish you to let her go, let her bear her love for you to the Undying Lands, where it will be ever green!" *

Aragorn shivered. So this was what his foster-father was getting at? He frowned.
"But never more than a memory!"* he protested.

Elrond looked at him darkly and threateningly. "I will not leave my daughter here to die!"* he said.

Aragorn drew his brows together. "She stays because she still has hope!"* he replied.

Elrond scowled. Forcefully and harshly he said: "She stays for you! She belongs to her people!"*

Unrelenting and imperiously he added: "You will let her go and tell her it is over. Find yourself a mortal woman to marry you and give you heirs. Leave my daughter to me!"

Aragorn stared at him. He was tempted to tell himself that Elrond was influenced by the Shadow, that he was merely getting back at him because he had not succeeded in killing Legolas, but he couldn't deceive himself. The expression on Elrond's face in this moment was not that of a petty, vile overlord set on vengeance for an imagined slight, but of a hurt and protective father.

And hadn't he himself asked Arwen to not forsake her immortality for him only two nights ago? Could he now blame her father that he did the same?

Without another word, he bowed to his former foster-father and took his leave, intent on slipping into the courtyard without further goodbye. He was determined to go and never set foot into Imladris again.

______________ o ______________

Yet his intentions to leave without goodbye were thwarted. Arwen found him on his way back from the gardens; obviously, she had waited for him.

Hurt and a bit irritated she asked: "Is this how you would take your leave? Did you think you could slip away at first light unnoticed?"*

He looked at her, dismayed that she had caught him, then strode on. Determined to get this over with he said: "I will not be coming back."*

She was confused. Following him on his way to the courtyard she said: "You underestimate your skill in battle. You will come back."*

He sighed and turned around to her.

"It is not of death in battle that I speak,"* he told her gently.

She looked at him, alarmed and confused. "Of what do you speak, then?"* she asked.

Aragorn felt torn and was taken aback by the trust and confusion in her eyes. What should he tell her? What could he tell her? That her own father had forbidden him to court her again, and that now, finally, he had agreed, although he never had before? After sixty years of waiting?

That he had come to the conclusion she would be better off without him after all?

Gently, but gravely he said: "You have the chance for another life. Away from war, grief and despair."*

It was nothing more than he had said two days before, and she knew it. She was taken aback, searching his eyes, trying to understand what had brought about this sudden change. With a disbelieving whisper she asked: "Why do you say this?"*

He gave a deep sigh. "Arwen...." he said, then continued: "I am mortal. You are Elf-kind. It was a dream, Arwen. Nothing more."*

She looked at him, wide-eyed. "I don't believe you..."* she whispered. Then a thought sprang to her mind, and she took a step back. "Is this about Legolas?" she suddenly asked. "Did you decide to spurn me, then, for him?" Hurt and betrayal were in her eyes. He knew that he should lie, that he should tell her that, yes, this was about Legolas, that he had decided to be content with his slave and give her up. But he couldn't. Her visible pain, her bright eyes, withholding her tears, tore him apart and he could not lie to her.

"No, this is not about Legolas," he told her gently. "This is about you. I do not wish to draw you into my mortality with me. I cannot let you make this sacrifice. I need to let you go."

Gently, but determinedly, he took the pendant from his neck and placed it in her hand. "This belongs to you,"* he offered.

Arwen searched his eyes for a long moment, then she made a decision. Whatever had brought him to this point had nothing to do with his slave, and she would not manage to get any explanation out of him; nor could she change his mind. But she had time; he would have many weeks to think about her on this Quest. She could wait and discuss this when he was back at last.

Forcing her face into a benign smile she said: "It was a gift. Keep it!"* And she placed the pendant back into his hands.

Aragorn thought for a moment to refuse, but she had already stepped away. After another moment of hesitation he gave her a solemn nod. So he would have something to remember her by.

With a reverent bow he took his leave of her and went down to the courtyard, away from the woman he had always thought to be the love of his life and to the male Elf who was bound to him beyond hope and without any choice. The one whose love and loyalty he'd once possessed but had ruined long since, and changed it to the bitter and torn shape of things between them now.

At least Legolas was better off with him than with the other options open to the slave, and he knew it. Aragorn was determined to do whatever was in his power to keep it that way.

Quickly he checked his slave for any signs of new injury, trying to meet his gaze, to find out if he had encountered Elrond, but to no avail. Legolas avoided his eyes and studied the ground. They were in the presence of Gandalf and the Dwarf, so he could not ask too openly. Then he felt a hard hand on his shoulder and whipped around to find himself in front of Glorfindel, whose face held a stern and determined expression. "Aragorn," the Seneschal said gravely, "a word!"

His eyes flicked quickly to the nearby stable buildings, and there was no doubt that he meant business. Aragorn hesitated a moment and glanced over to his slave. Legolas seemed to shrink a bit into himself and intensified his study of the ground, obviously finding it utterly fascinating. Aragorn gave Glorfindel a short resigned look, then nodded politely and followed him. He knew he was about to receive a thorough dressing-down, although he did not know yet what had earned him the Balrog-Slayer's wrath.

Legolas looked after them when they went out of earshot and apparently had a fierce, quiet discussion near one of the stable buildings. He just hoped that Glorfindel's determination to give Aragorn a piece of his mind would not result in further punishment for himself, or darken Aragorn's mood even more. He saw Aragorn's eyes widen in alarm at Glorfindel's angry words, saw his face going pale, saw him cast a quick, shocked look in his own direction. Judging from his master's expression, Estel seemed rather shocked and guilty than angered by Glorfindel's berating words.

He looked away.

His back hurt where the weight of the quiver pressed on it; so did his rear and thighs, and his side where he had to endure the pressure of his pack. And he felt a little bit dizzy. He had only consumed a meager slice of bread with butter while he had visited the kitchen, and after the enforced fast yesterday and the exhaustion from the torture he went through last night, it was not nearly enough to give his healing body succor. To distract himself, he looked around and began a study of the waiting Dwarf.

The stout Nogoth stared back at him with a disdainful expression, and Legolas soon avoided his gaze again. He did not feel the strength within himself to endure a staring match, not today at least. He heard the Dwarf snort disdainfully and cast his eyes back to the ground. Great! Now he had given him the impression of weakness!

He was distracted by the arrival of the Hobbit's and Boromir and was relieved to hear their excited chatter. Then the twins appeared, and his mood sank down again.

Elrond's sons looked quickly and questioningly around, spotted Estel, and began to walk into his and Glorfindel's direction. Aragorn gave them a relieved look, and Glorfindel turned around, stopped in his lecture. Aragorn graced him with a bow and a few, quiet words, then he moved into the direction of his foster-brothers and met them half ways. Legolas saw them meet, share a hug, and spotted that Elladan slipped Aragorn a small bundle. His master took it with a grateful nod and slipped it into his pack. Then Elrond and his entourage streamed into the courtyard.

Legolas allowed himself a relieved sigh. It was time!

He made it through Elrond's solemn words about the fellowship, and even managed a courteous greeting, although it hurt his back and he was not as graceful as he would normally have been. It helped to imagine he was giving his greeting solely to Glorfindel, who had taken his place behind his Liege-Lord again and gave Legolas a reassuring look.

Then the seeing-off was done and the fellowship finally filtered out of the doorway. Legolas saw Aragorn hesitate a moment and study Arwen; but their mute exchange seemed subdued, and he could not discern the meaning of their mutual expressions. Frankly, he didn't care. He just wished Aragorn would hurry, so they could be away. He was eager to leave Rivendell behind, and he prayed to the Valar that he would never need to set foot in the house, or the whole valley, again.

Finally, Aragorn turned around, saw him waiting and nodded to him to join the others of the fellowship. Legolas didn't need another prompting. He nearly ran to catch up with them. Aragorn followed with fast strides.

They did not speak. Quickly they passed the bridge and left Rivendell behind, and at least for Legolas it was indeed a departure for good, never to return there in his life.

_________________ o ________________

-- End of Part III --

-- TBC --

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.

Story Information

Author: Crowdaughter

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Drama

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 05/11/11

Original Post: 12/23/06

Go to Mael-Gûl overview


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