25. Spilling The Beans
Completely A.U. Legolas slave fic. This story was inspired by Bluegolds story "Bound", which can be found here: http://daemel.freespaces.com/authors.html#blue
I use similar plot ideas here with her permission.
Betareader: Many thanks to Surreysmum, who polished this and made it so much better! 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: none.
Please heed the warnings!
Disclaimer: Universe and characters are not mine, but Tolkien's. The idea of the spell, however, belongs to me.
Guide: Occasionally I work with flashback scenes. Here is a Guide:
// /flashback/ //; ************Time change within a flashback***********; “speech”; 'thoughts'
For all other warnings, other disclaimers and author's notes see Story Intro.
XXIII. Spilling The Beans
It was a troubled company that sat around the fire, staring at the Ranger and the Elf in utter horror as they were listened to Boromir's accusations. Back in the camp, Boromir had at last agreed to give Aragorn back his weapons after the Ranger had promised to him again that he would not attack or try to flee, and would subject himself to the judgment of the company. But the return of the weapon was all the man of Gondor had conceded. He had called the Fellowship together and told them of his discovery in angry tones and stark detail. Now he turned to Aragorn, who had settled himself close to the fire, Legolas beside him. The Ranger was sitting in grim silence, his hand kept calmingly and reassuringly on the Elf's arm. Legolas himself had not uttered another word since they had reached the camps and avoided all gazes, staring at the ground in embarrassed silence.
Boromir was the only one still standing, like a prosecutor, and now he turned back to the Dunadan.
“So,” the man of Gondor challenged, “I don’t care much that the two of you are lovers. But how does it come about that you treat him this way? And that this Elf just suffers your abuse and does your bidding? He’s not your slave! Are you in the habit of treating your people so? Because I tell you now, in Gondor they won’t suffer a king who can’t keep from abusing those under his command!”
Ever since the council Boromir had harboured a dislike of the man they had told him was destined to be his king. And while he had come to like the Elf a little better, despite their unlucky start when Legolas had spoken for the man, he had not really become friends with the Edhel (1), either, since Legolas remained much too close to Aragorn for Boromir's taste. That the Ranger and the Elf were lovers was not an astonishment. Far more dumbfounding was the discovery that the Elf who had defended his lover that strongly and then joined their quest suffered physical abuse at the hands of the man whose bedding he shared.
They all stared at the Ranger. Aragorn fidgeted. The Elf at his side had lowered his head and seemed to find the ground utterly fascinating. He did not seem inclined to say anything for himself. Aragorn finally gave a deep sigh and shook his head.
“There is no easy way to say this,” he said uncomfortably. “Actually, yes, he is my slave. He belongs to me in every way possible, and serves me as my companion, as well as with his body.”
His hand still rested possessively on Legolas' arm.
The others stared at him. Gandalf closed his eyes. He alone of all the Fellowship had suspected as much, since he had encountered Legolas before in Rivendell and knew he was a slave. Yet as long as he had known them, whenever he had met them in the past, Aragorn had always treated the Elf more like a comrade...
Boromir seemed taken aback. He sat down on a root, still staring at the man. The Dwarf wrinkled his brows at this unexpected new development. The Hobbits seemed dumbfounded. They actually liked the Elf and had often delighted in his singing, and they greatly enjoyed his willingness to indulge them with some extra berries or mushrooms that he brought back from his frequent scouting trips, whenever he got the chance. Never had they suspected him anything else than Aragorn's comrade; surely under his command – that much was clear– but nothing more.
It was Frodo who finally found his voice. He wrinkled his nose. “That’s disgusting!” he exclaimed. “I mean... I didn’t even know that Elves practiced slavery...”
Gimli the Dwarf looked smug. The more he got accustomed to the idea, the more he liked it that this disgusting Elf was of considerably lower status than himself. Boromir looked irate. He was angry that Aragorn had not told them of the Elf's low status, pretending he was an equal, even a prince. And how much more of what the two had told the Fellowship had been a lie?
Aragorn made a face. “They do, unfortunately. About three thousand years ago, the Mirkwood Elves were defeated and subjected to servitude by their brothers of the other Elven realms, and ever since they have been forced to give their best and most gifted away to serve as hostages and slaves to the victors. It was a punishment for their failure in the Last Alliance and their refusal to cooperate with the Noldor in the fight against the darkness, or so I have been told. Anyway, those given away from Mirkwood as tribute are bound into servitude, and given as slaves to Elves of noble status. I was given my own Elven slave when I came of age. Since then, we have hardly been separated.”
Frodo drew his brows together. “But... but you are no Elf! You are mortal!”
Aragorn nodded. Absentmindedly his hand, still resting on the Elf's arm, was slowly petting the blond, who still hung his head in shame. Finally, the Ranger replied:
“Yes, I am. But I am also the foster son of Lord Elrond. Legolas was given to me as a special favor. And he has been a faithful servant and companion ever since. I could not have asked for a better gift.”
The slave on his side ducked his head and swallowed. Gimli snorted, and Boromir cursed softly. Aragorn sent a small smile to his companion.
Boromir accused angrily: “You said he was a prince!”
Aragorn nodded once. “Because he is!” he said grimly. “He is the youngest son of Thranduil, who, albeit defeated and forced into submission, still rules the Mirkwood realm. The fact that the king had to give his son away and that son was enslaved does not change the fact that Legolas' blood is royal!”
He locked stares with Boromir, who gave a derisive curse. Finally, Aragorn concluded: “Anyway, instead of only using him for my pleasure, I had him keep his arms and refine his hunting skills, and so Legolas has proven himself to be a worthy and loyal companion on all my travels. His skill with the bow is unmatched. He is a worthy companion on this Quest and will fulfill his duties as part of the Fellowship as well as if he were a free warrior. He has stood at my side in countless fights and he is fully capable of defending us.”
His slave gave him a small, grateful look, and Aragorn gave his arm a reassuring squeeze.
At this point, Boromir snorted disdainfully. He had had enough of this upstart Ranger, and Aragorn's insistence that his slave still was a royal just was too much. Not enough that this strange beggar of a Dunadan claimed to be of the royal blood of Gondor himself and to have a claim to Gondor's throne, now even his slave should have a claim to royalty? Next he would be claiming royal heritage for Bill the Pony! Angrily he recalled all that Legolas had told him about his home. He had no idea how much of it, if any, had been true, and right now he was in no mood to ask, or to believe the answers, either.
“You said that this Elf is your pleasure toy! How can one mainly trained to serve you in your bed qualify to stand beside true warriors on the battlefield? He’s merely your whore! How can he be our equal?!”
Legolas' head came up sharply. Aragorn's brows drifted down.
“Watch your tongue, Boromir! You know not of what you speak. Legolas is not my whore! He is my servant and he is bound to me to do my bidding, and also to give me pleasure in every way I want and see fit, but he is not bound to share himself, or to serve, or to be used by anybody else save with my explicit permission!”
Boromir's look, resting on the Elf who glared at him, suddenly turned speculative. Legolas seemed to shrink a bit as he obviously realized what the man was thinking. He paled visibly.
Frodo shook his head.
“Anyway, on this quest he should be treated like everybody else! We can not afford to divide ourselves, and we should treat everyone of us as equals, be they servants or not!” he stated clearly.
Sam beamed. Gandalf nodded his approval.
“And since this is not the time for spending strength in idle trysts, pleasure-boy there should concentrate on his skills with the bow instead of those with his ass! If we are a Fellowship, then you have no call to spend your nights in his arms, taking pleasure with your slave while everyone else has to spend them lonely!”
Legolas' head shot up again and he cast Boromir a sharp and angry gaze, but Aragorn's hand tightened on his arm, giving him a warning squeeze, and the Ranger barked something in Sindarin. The Elf swallowed, and ducked his head again. His master was right. This was not the time to aggravate the Gondorian further.
He even shrank a bit back into himself again. He feared he had just earned himself another punishment.
Aragorn saw it and shook his head reassuringly. Then he sighed and turned his concentration back to the others.
“Unfortunately,” he said slowly, “this is not as easy as it sounds.”
Gandalf, who had said nothing so far, gave a sharp gasp.
“He is bound to you by the Mael-Gûl?!” he exclaimed. “Now I understand...”
Aragorn gave a pained nod. Gandalf's face grew dark.
“That is an evil spell! Never had I thought you capable of using it, son of Arathorn!” he said with derision.
Aragorn shook his head. “It wasn’t me who chose to put the spell on him!” he defended himself. “The blame belongs to Elrond, who put it on him when he was first enslaved.”
Gandalf gave him a sharp look. “They could not have bound him to you that way without your participation!” he said. “Do not try to lay blame on others that belongs to you!”
Aragorn sighed. 'You have known both of us for forty years, Mithrandir;' he thought, 'and you never ever before noticed anything? How blind have you been?' -- but he didn't say that. Instead he answered with grave dignity.
“I do not,” he said, “and deeply I regret the day I agreed to that. I was but young and foolish and did not realize the full consequences at the time. But even if I had, they would never have agreed to allow Legolas to use arms and to accompany me on my travels and into the wilds had he not been bound to me by this.”
“Evil is this, and evil may come of it. I would not have trusted you as deeply as I have in the past, had I known of this!” he said.
Legolas blushed. He sent a quick look to his master, asking him to be allowed to speak, but when Aragorn shook his head at him, he subsided.
“I thank you for your loyalty, Little Leaf,” the Ranger said quietly in Sindarin, “but not now! Do not defend me for deeds for which I deserve blaming!”
Then he turned back at the wizard and said with dignity:
“Deeply cut your words, my old friend, and I do not deny that I deserve them. But the deed is done, and there is now no way to undo it. Unless you know a way to break the spell?”
Gandalf shook his head, his face laced in sorrow.
Aragorn nodded grimly. “Then we will have to live with it.”
“What kind of spell is this?” Frodo asked, “The one you speak of?”
Aragorn face held a pained expression.
“It is a way to ensure a pleasure-slave who acts as warrior and accompanies his master on a campaign is bound to the one whom he serves,” he said. “In a... most personal way.” He swallowed. “It means...”
He finally shook his head and said flatly:
“Legolas needs to be taken. By me. At least once a week, if possible more often. If he is not, he will suffer and in time become ill. And finally, die. Quite painfully.”
Frodo stared at him in utter horror. Boromir looked at the Elf in horror and some mixture of disgust and awe. Gandalf looked grim. Merry and Pippin looked as if they had been slapped. Sam looked utterly dumbfounded. Gimli alone seemed to recover soon and he gave the Elf a speculative look, as if he considered the possibilities. Legolas himself was back at studying the ground and blushing deeply.
Finally Frodo found his voice. “But then...” he said, and Merry asked, paling: “...die?! if he is not...”
Aragorn shook his head.
“Not immediately. If he is separated from me for over a week, he will begin to suffer, and the suffering will continue to increase as long as the separation is prolonged, until he is gravely ill. But it will not become critical for at least a month. Of course, we have never willingly tried it.” He chose not to tell them they had found out as much the hard way several times without a willing attempt.
He sighed and stroked over the arm of his silent Elf.
“Anyway, you see that I can not live a chaste life for the time of the quest just to accommodate your wishes, for Legolas would grow ill and possibly even die on me.”
The face of the Elf at his side was crimson. He did not look at his companions.
The silence seemed overwhelming. Yet it did not last for long.
“But answer me a question, Master Ranger!” the Dwarf suddenly said. “That spell may be a highly effective way to keep that slave in line. But as Frodo stated earlier, you are mortal! What if you die on the quest? Or one day of old age? Is this Elf doomed to follow you to your grave, then?”
Aragorn gave him a hard stare for his obviously dispassionate view of the implication of the spell, but then he sighed.
“If I die, be it on this quest or in another fight, and Legolas can prove that he did all in his power to prevent my death, he can go back to Rivendell. There are four others who can give him what he needs, and who will do so if he can convince them that he did not kill me or cause my death through disloyalty or cowardice. He can also prolong the time he has if he allows himself to be taken by others; this is a side-effect of the spell. But only those four back in Rivendell can save him.”
He felt more than saw Legolas beside him pale and gave him an nearly imperceptible shake of his head. He knew only too well why that was not an option any longer, but this was neither the place nor the time to explain about that. And besides, there were other options... but he did not care to explain those to the Fellowship in detail, either. Seemingly dispassionately, he continued:
“So, if I am killed, Legolas will have to travel back to Rivendell and give himself into the care of Lord Elrond, or Glorfindel, or my brothers, and his life will be spared. The same is true when someday it is my time. I can send him back to them, or over the sea, if they have gone that way, if I do not choose to extend the spell to another person to whom I could bequeath him. This person would then become his new master.”
He felt the Elf's sudden shivering under his hand and added reassuringly: “But I don’t plan to do that!”
Legolas breathed easier.
Frodo looked appalled. “You know how to do this? To make... others--”
Aragorn nodded. “Yes. It was necessary as part of my training as a healer. Furthermore, it has allowed me to make sure that there were a few people to whom I could... entrust my Elf if I went into mortal danger and was likely to be killed, or if I had to go somewhere I could not take him with me. I live a dangerous life, and do not wish to be the cause of Legolas' death due to this... regrettable... arrangement.”
Legolas said very softly: “I do not regret it.”
He was punished for his troubles with another squeeze, and Aragorn gave him a censuring glare.
“Be silent!” he commanded quietly. “I told you not to defend me when I don’t deserve it. And you know that I am not proud of this!”
Legolas murmured a soft apology in Sindarin and Aragorn gave him a small, reassuring nod. The Elf fell silent again.
Boromir's face had turned speculative again, and now he gave a small nod.
“Very well. So you have to lie with this slave regularly lest he fall ill and be of no use to us. But it is not fair that you are the only one here on this quest who has somebody to warm your bedding, and we others do not. Also, if you are killed, it follows that we would not only lose you, but also this Elf, for he would need to leave to make it home in time,” he drawled.
“I say, under the circumstances we would be better off if he left right now!” Gimli growled.
Boromir cocked his head. “Maybe. But then the Ranger says that he has considerable fighting skills, and we need his bow. And his keen senses.”
Aragorn gave him a dark look. “There is a hidden meaning to your words,” he said angrily. “It would be better if you would speak openly. What do you suggest?”
Boromir gave the Elf an admiring look-over. “I would suggest that you share,” he said simply. “You say your Elf needs to be taken, and if he was taken by others than yourself it would prolong the time until he needs you again. So you should share him with us. If you let him lie with us others he would be not as dependent on you.” He narrowed his eyes. Seemingly warming to his train of thought, he continued: “Even more, you say that you can... extend the number of people who can give him what he needs as well as you. So I would suggest you do so with all of the Fellowship, or at least with all of us who are willing. Then Legolas could continue to accompany us even if you were killed, and could fulfill his duty to the Ring Bearer in full.”
It was the first time since he had learned of Legolas' true status that he used the Elf's name. Legolas head had shot up in alarm at his words, and he looked both aghast and mortified. Gimli looked taken aback. Obviously, this was not what he had envisioned when he had started his train of thought.
Aragorn jumped up. He seemed ready to draw on the Gondorian or to kill him with his bare hands. Boromir jumped up also to meet the challenge. But Gandalf quickly rose and stepped between them.
“This is not the time to fight amongst ourselves!” he commanded. “And I think, as grave as these circumstances are, it is Legolas place to decide in this.” He turned directly to the Elf. “What do you say? Do you wish to return to Rivendell?”
He knew very well that Legolas could hardly go to Rivendell, but he suspected that among those 'others' Aragorn had mentioned were some of his Rangers. Legolas would probably be safe among them.
Legolas swallowed. “It... is for my master to decide, Mithrandir,” he said quietly.
The wizard shook his head. “It is your bow and your body that are in question,” he replied. “Aragorn has done quite enough in this. It is your choice to make: return to Rivendell or go on with this quest.”
Legolas looked up and glanced first at Aragorn, then at Boromir. It was not the first time he had been forced to share his body with others than the Ranger. And he did not wish to think about the consequences for his home and his people if he turned tail now. Elrond would certainly be pleased.
“I have pledged my bow to Frodo,” he finally hesitantly said, “so if my master will allow it, I will go on.”
Gandalf sighed. He turned around again to face the man of Gondor. “Boromir of Gondor, it is a shameful bargain that you suggest!” he said angrily. “I would advise you to withdraw it!”
But he was contradicted.
“It is not shameful!” Gimli suddenly piped up. “That Elf is a slave, after all, and accustomed to sharing his body with others at need, as we have heard. And Boromir is right. The more people who can give him what he needs to survive if Aragorn should fall, or even just is wounded on this quest, the more he can be of use to us if he is any good with this bow of his. I say we should heed Boromir's suggestion!”
Frodo shook his head.
“I will take no part in this!” he exclaimed. “Nor I!” Sam added promptly. But he looked longingly at the Elf and studied him with newfound curiosity. Sam loved Elves, he admired everything Elvish, and now, for the very first time, he faced the real possibility not only to look from afar and ask a bunch of questions, but be allowed to touch! With all his loyalty to Frodo, it was hard for him to entirely decline the chance.
But while Sam's loyalty to Frodo won over his curiosity, Merry and Pippin did not join their vote, and Boromir smirked. Finally, Gandalf sighed, disgusted. “The darkness is nearer than I thought,” he said. “I, too, will have no part of this! But it is clear that the Fellowship is of a divided mind in this regard.”
Aragorn gave Gimli and Boromir a disgusted look. Then he looked down at Legolas. Finally, he sighed.
“Very well,” he said. “If Legolas is willing you may have a share of him. But we will have to see that he is not exhausted. And it will be me who will be the judge of that!” he angrily concluded.
The Elf paled visibly. But then, he merely lowered his head in defeated submission.
Turning back to Gimli and Boromir, Aragorn continued: “Also, I will make sure that you both can give him what is needed if some ill should befall me. You, too!” he said aggressively to the two Hobbits, but Merry and Pippin looked appalled and shook their heads.
“I... Maybe... we just--” Merry sputtered, and Pippin chimed in: “It is not that, master Strider, if you don’t mind. I.. we would... maybe, if Legolas was willing... share a night with him... but not like that! We do not practice slavery in the Shire, and I do not want to have a personal slave for myself, Elven or otherwise!”
Legolas send him a veiled look and a small, grateful smile. Aragorn sighed.
“Very well. Just Boromir and Gimli, then. I suggest, we hurry, though. It is still a long day's travel until dark, and we need to find a protected place for the night to perform the... ceremony, if we want to broaden the spell.”
“So?” Boromir asked. “And what would be required for that?”
Aragorn gave him a dark look.
“It is required that you take him!” he said angrily and curtly.
It was close to nightfall when they finally made camp. Aragorn found a small, protected hill, surrounded by great boulders and some bushes, that could be easily guarded and protected, and also could be easily separated into two camps. Bushes and boulders formed two natural clearings in the middle of a circle, and Aragorn decided to use the bigger one for the main camp and the smaller for their other plans that night. There was no water near, but they had well filled their water skins at the brook near which they had spent the midday rest that day. Aragorn had made sure to fill his own water skin to the brink, although that meant he had to carry the full and heavy skin all day in addition to all his other gear. But he had insisted, and refused to let his slave share the load for a few hours, even though Legolas had dutifully offered to carry it for him.
His master had sadly shaken his head at the offer. “You need your strength tonight, melethron,” he said. “Let me do this.”
Legolas had not insisted, nor had he offered again.
The Elf had been very quiet the whole afternoon, and during the last few hours he had hardly left his master's side. He was obviously nervous. Aragorn looked carefully at him, judging his mood; then he shooed the Hobbits away to the bigger clearing between the boulders and touched his slave's arm, signaling him to stay close to him for a moment.
“Are you ready?” he asked quietly in Sindarin.
Legolas ducked his head.
“It is not my place to choose what to do in this, master,” he said very quietly in the same language. Aragorn heard the reluctance and slight bitterness in his voice although the Elf kept his tone carefully neutral.
He seized the chin of his slave and tipped it slightly up, forcing the Elf to face him.
“I told you not to call me that,” he softly rebuked.
Legolas ducked his head again and refused to look at him.
“But you are,” he said, “It is not my place to choose what use you make of my body. Or what use the rest of the Fellowship will make of it.” The bitterness was now clearly palpable in his voice.
Aragorn hesitated, then placed a small kiss on the Elf's forehead.
“I know this is hard on you. And the Valar know I am not an easy master. But Boromir is right, you know. That cursed spell is a threat to your life, and to the success of the Quest should anything happen to me. It will be best if you are able to get relief and healing from other sources beside me. As we have done with Halbarad and Onogdir.”
Very hesitantly, Legolas looked up. “Halbarad and Onogdir are not cruel, Aragorn. They took good care of me for several months when you were in Harad, and afterwards when you traveled to Mordor alone, and they never hurt me once. And they never used me for their own amusement.”
Aragorn buried his hands in the golden tresses of his Elf and pulled him close. For a moment he just held him like this, burying his nose in his slave's hair and savoring its softness and well known scent; then his grip tightened just a bit too firmly, and Legolas gasped at its sudden harshness that held the mere whispers of promised pain. Aragorn placed a kiss on his Elf's head, then pulled back a bit so he could see the slave's face.
“Be careful what you call your betters, Little Leaf,” he warned. “Boromir is not cruel – or at least he is not intentionally so. As for Gimli, I will not allow him to hurt you.”
Then he loosened his grip and looked away. “As for me--” He let go of his slave's hair and did not speak further.
Legolas dared to step closer. Very hesitantly, he began to speak, not sure if he would be allowed to do it. Aragorn seemed in a dark and brooding mood tonight and dangerous to upset. Still...
“Aragorn, with you it is different. I belong to you. And I know your needs. It... is your right to use me as you choose, and my duty to serve you, and I... can adjust to it. But... I fear the Dwarf.” He swallowed. “And that man of Gondor. They hate me!”
Aragorn did not rebuke him this time. He shook his head.
“They do not hate you,” he said. “Boromir is angry because of what he perceives as a slight to his pride and station. He is wroth because I did not tell him outright that you are my servant and therefore he has treated you as his equal. He will learn to respect you; he does not feel it beyond him to talk with Sam as an equal after all. And Gimli just does not trust Elves. He will learn to trust you in time, and will put his prejudices behind him.”
Legolas ducked his head.
“Sam is not a slave,” he pointed out hesitantly. “He may be Frodo's servant, but he's free. And the Dwarf will enjoy having an Elf to harass and torment.”
Aragorn straightened up, his face darkening, and Legolas braced himself for a blow. But the blow did not come.
“Maybe,” Aragorn said more harshly. “But as you said, it is not your place to choose, and it is your duty to deal with whatever use I choose to make of you. So do it! Go now and gather firewood, then prepare this place here for the ceremony. I will help the others to build camp on the other side of these boulders. We will extend the spell here, then join camp with the others. And hurry; it will be completely dark very soon!”
Legolas hung his head. He should have known that his luck – and Aragorn's indulgent mood – could not last. “Yes, My Lord,” he answered and made to slip away. But before he could go a hand sneaked out and held him in a tight grip.
“I will not allow the Man or the Dwarf to hurt you,” Aragorn growled in a low voice. “At least not more than is necessary.” Legolas shivered but stayed obediently in his master's grip. Aragorn stepped close again and seized his chin. He took the mouth of his slave in a deep, demanding kiss. Legolas opened up to him obediently, and Aragorn tasted him thoroughly. Then he let him go.
“Trust me,” he said finally, then he sent his slave away with a small slap to his ass.
Legolas slipped away. He shivered again, and his heart hurt. He had rarely seen Aragorn – Estel! - this dark before, and this thoughtlessly cruel. Even in his worst mood and his most cruel games, Aragorn had usually at least been mindful and considerate of what he put his Elven slave through and what this slave might feel. Until that last night in Rivendell... but that had been about survival.
Obviously, things had changed.
With this bleak thought, Legolas left the camp to do as he was ordered. Aragorn followed him a moment with his gaze, then he turned around. He found both Frodo and Gandalf watching him.
He shrugged at them and went around the boulders to the site of the main camp to help Sam unpack the pony.
______________ o _________________
-- TBC --
(1) Edhel – Sindarin: an Elf, one of the Eldar (High Elves, or People of the Stars).