This Night
by Soulstarsinger

Lothlorien. Yet even the shining beauty of this place fails to lift our hearts, for Gandalf the Grey, the oldest and wisest of us all, has fallen into shadow. I feel the grief of my companions sorely, and pray that this respite from travel and danger will help them heal. My own heart, though, is doubly heavy, and I know not how to ease its pain.

As the ethereal Elven lament rises and falls, I watch him, standing across from me. He is poised in a warrior's stance, despite the safety of this haven. Neither the cause nor the reason for my heart's pain is he - no, that I have brought upon myself. Yet unwittingly the very sight of him causes me such despair and delight that I barely know how I may endure it.

Then, perhaps sensing my gaze, he turns his head until our eyes meet. Do I truly see that glow in his clear, blue eyes, or does my own sight - and heart - deceive me? I dare not ask.

Bowing my head, I close my eyes, perhaps hoping to shut out these thoughts with the sight of him. But this simulation of darkness merely brings back the memory of how these tumultuous emotions were freed. Ah, it is strange how the smallest of things, the lightest of touches, can break down the barriers of the heart, and set free a love quite unconsciously buried. But so it was, in the Mines of Moria.


It happened as we fled into the relative safety of the mines, away from the danger of the great beast that pursued us - a hand on my shoulder, steadying me. In that instant I had no need to turn to see the one lending me such support. Legolas. Despite having felt his touch seldom in my lifetime, I recognised it as surely as if he had steadied me thus a hundred times each day. Such comfort it gave me, yet I did not have time to marvel at the wonder of it - more pressing matters demanded my attention, and the moment passed.

But the journey through the mines was not a swift one. With nought to light our way but the wizard's staff, and the need for silent travel for fear of disturbing some hostile force, we each became more solitary, as if wrapped in our own pockets of darkness.

My thoughts turned inwards and of their own accord strayed increasingly towards our fair, elven companion. I could not but realise what lay in my heart. When, how, had this come to pass? During our journey to this place? Earlier, when he had defended me so boldly at Elrond's council? Or even previous to this, on an occasion, years past?

I did not know; I was only unable to deny that the feelings seemed to have come upon me quite fully formed and could not easily be ignored.

No matter how I told myself that I felt only the same respect and friendship for Legolas as I did for the other members of our Fellowship, I was drawn towards him as a moth to a flame.

No joy could I allow myself to find in this. For had I not already met, and pledged myself to, my one true love?

How could I now permit my heart to rejoice at the sight of another? Surely this was treachery of the cruellest kind, when my betrothed had bestowed upon me the two greatest gifts that were hers to give: her heart, and her mortal lifetime.

Arwen, daughter of the one who had been as a father to me, yet oh so very much more than a sister. Examining my feelings for her, I found them unchanged. I longed, as ever, to feast my eyes on her beauty, to hear her sweet voice, to hold her in my arms.

But equally, I wished for the comfort of Legolas' presence, to know his heart, his touch.

I now knew that this desire had been long within me, although dormant, and I could not know which of my loves had captured my soul the soonest. How, then, could I ever choose between them?


Wrapping my thoughts deep around me, knowledge of my resting-place fades from my mind. Yet somehow no surprise can I feel when the musical voice of the Lady of Lothlorien sounds for my ears alone.

Fear not your own heart, brave warrior, King. For love is the greatest gift of all. You should embrace it, or it may be your downfall.

My hand closes over that pendant which all throughout our journey has lain secure against my breast. How can I embrace my love when it may cause such pain, to myself and to those who are beloved to me? Yet if I do not?

Galadriel would not warn me thus merely for her own amusement. Could I love both and each of them, fully and truly?

Indeed, I have no choice but to do so, since my heart seems not to have consulted my head in the bestowing of my affections. Is this, then, the answer which I have been seeking:

Does my love for Legolas diminish my love for Arwen? And my commitment to Arwen, does it alter that which I feel for Legolas?

It does not.

At this simple revelation, my heart lightens beyond measure, and my mind is suddenly flooded with a memory from a day, years past. Now, I could hear the voice of my betrothed, as clearly as I had that of Galadriel, moments before.

"I know thy heart, most Beloved," she had told me, the grace of her native tongue only enhancing the beauty of her voice. "Perhaps yet better than thee, thyself."

When I had looked askance, she merely smiled, mysterious yet tender. "Promise me, my love, to never let it grieve thee: that which is in thy heart. I know thou art forever faithful and true. Wherever thou shalt roam."

All at once, her words take on new meaning. Does Arwen have true knowledge of my heart? I have never doubted it before, and now the certainty grows within me.

It will not betray Arwen's trust if I take comfort in the presence of the one who lends me his strength and support unquestioningly. Love can only cause our bond to flourish, and thus assist us in our endeavour.

Raising my head, I see him regarding me, yet still I dare not attempt to read the expression in his eyes. He approaches, gracefully, his steps soundless as always, and lays a hand on my shoulder.

"There are matters to which I must attend," he tells me, "but I will return, soon."

I grasp his arm, and smile. "Yes. For there is something which I should like us to discuss, if you have no objection."

The smile that lights his face is sweet, and I think, full of understanding. "Of course. Although perhaps little discussion will be necessary."

I watch him go, and at last allow my mind to dwell on that last unanswered question in what had been the myriad of my confusion: might it indeed be possible that Legolas returns my love with an affection equal and true?


Later, when all is still, he appears at my side. This time, when I meet his eyes I cannot deny the truth of what I see: that which I both feared and longed to learn.

"I feel as though I have fallen into a dream," I whisper, even as his strong, slender hand captures my cheek in a gentle caress, "a dream of that, which can never come to pass, yet if it did, would be the most cherished and precious memory to keep."

"Then the dream shall be ours," he murmurs, and seals our bargain with a kiss. "For this one, blessed night."


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