Author’s Note: This story takes place during the first movie. Pairing: Aragorn/Legolas
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters, and I’m not making any money from this story.
Warning: Disciplinary spanking.
IT’S MY FUNERAL AND I’LL DIE IF I WANT TO
It was a beautiful day for a funeral.
The sun shone down warmly upon the gathered company, and a light breeze ruffled hair only recently freed from the confines of steel helmets. A small coracle bobbed gently at the water’s edge, laden only with quiver and bow wrapped loosely in a cloak of Elven green. The fact that there was no body to lay to rest did not ease the pain of parting, nor stem the sorrowful tears seeping down more than one grim face.
They had all seen him tumble off the edge of the cliff, had all watched as the graceful body plummeted helplessly through the air to the breakers washing over jagged rocks below. The distance was such that none could have survived that fall…not even their elf. And there was no path down the sheer rock cliff, no way to recover the body. They had detoured miles to find a way down to the water, but the shoreline was such that they could not return to the fateful scene. The one small coracle they had happened upon, the very one now bearing the pitifully few belongings, was old and leaked with the slightest weight placed upon it. Even had they been able to patch and mend it, the rapids and waterfalls would have prevented any attempt at return.
Aragorn stood silent on the shore, profoundly wishing that Gandalf was with them. Gandalf would have the right words to say, would be able to comfort the others where he could not. How could he offer comfort, when his own heart was shattered to the very core? How could he speak words of farewell from a throat choked silent with the effort of holding back bitter tears? How could he encourage them to continue, when his soul had died as surely as his beloved elf? He bowed his head, and his shoulders shook with grief.
Gimli stood a short distance away, apart from the others. Many a sparring match had they held, many a contest of both words and deeds. Yet despite the half-serious arguments and the constant taunts, he had developed a respect and affection for the elf that few others had ever merited. Though he would have admitted it to none, his heart ached for the loss. He surreptitiously wiped a tear from his eye, and muttered the words used to lay to rest a dwarf king. It was the least he could do.
The hobbits huddled together near Aragorn, taking comfort from each other as best they could. Merry and Pippin were silent for once, lost in both sadness and despair. For if one as powerful, as skilled, as well-trained as the elf could be lost, then what hope was there for them? Sam had an arm around Frodo’s shoulders, for the ring-bearer was taking this hard. He felt responsible, for this was his quest, his burden, and the sharing of it had caused not one death but two. Gandalf was gone, and now Legolas as well. He leaned his head against Sam’s sturdy shoulder and closed his eyes in pain.
Boromir stood on the other side of Aragorn, feet planted solidly. He raised the horn of Gondor to his lips. A sad wail slipped forth, wound round about the mourners, and trailed off into the distance; a final farewell. Farewell to a friend, and a companion. As Boromir lowered the horn, Aragorn gave the coracle a hard shove, launching it out into what was, at this place, a gentle stream. He stared unseeingly after it.
“That seems a dreadful waste of a perfectly good cloak and weapons.” A quiet voice came from behind them. As one they whirled in astonishment. The horn of Gondor slipped from Boromir’s fingers to land with a thump on the grass, and Gimli spun about so quickly he caught his heel in his cloak and landed in a heap on the ground. Aragorn stood rooted to the spot, face as white as if he had seen a ghost.
The “ghost” gave a half-smile and raised one eyebrow as only an elf can. He opened his mouth to speak, but was forestalled by hobbits flinging themselves bodily at him.
“Legolas! It is you! You are alive! What happened? How did you survive? We saw you fall…” they were all talking at once, and it was difficult to make out who said what. It was almost as difficult to make out who was where, as they were jumping about him with glee and clutching happily at whatever portion of clothing or limbs they could reach.
Boromir recovered himself enough to stride over and offer Gimli his hand, pulling the stunned dwarf to his feet. With a roar of delight that only a dwarf can produce, he rushed forward and embraced the startled elf.
“You’re alive, Laddie! I should have known they couldn’t kill one so full of himself as you are!” Suddenly realizing what he had done, he gave an embarrassed cough and released him. “Well, they’ll be glad to have you back!” He added gruffly, nodding towards the delighted hobbits.
Legolas smiled down at him. “Well, it was a fine farewell that my belongings were getting, at any rate. Although it took you an inordinately long time to get here; I was ahead of you most of the way and I came along the shore!” He teased lightly.
“You were watching our progress?” Aragorn asked softly. He had not moved an inch from his stance by the stream.
“Yes, indeed, and now I realize why you fare so poorly without my guidance! I believe you chose the most difficult route possible; I thought once I was going to have to fish you out of the river!” Legolas laughed.
“So you saw us search for you?”
“Of course! Once I got the water out of my lungs, I started back up to where I had left you. But you were already underway, and I heard you talking about my apparent demise. I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of leave-taking you would provide for me, so I remained hidden to watch. It was quite worthwhile.”
In truth, interesting was not the proper word. Legolas had been wondering many things, but the manner of his funeral was not one of them. His worth to the fellowship, his ability to contribute, his belonging…that had been a question in his mind for quite some time. Why was he here? True, he had volunteered for the mission, but why had he been accepted? What did he have to offer that others did not? Surely there were other elves; stronger, wiser, more suitable to this momentous undertaking.
And what had he to give? Why did the others even tolerate his presence? The hobbits had each other, Boromir and Aragorn together represented men, Gimli was strong and independent and had been so for eons…yet Legolas had no one. What could this group find to make him worthy of their acceptance, their friendship, their trust? Would anyone even miss him if he was gone?
When the opportunity to distance himself from them had come unlooked for, he reacted almost without thinking. Stay away, stay apart, let them go on by themselves. Yet he could not resist the urge to follow, to watch, to guard. It was too much a part of him to protect those he cared for; he could not leave entirely. But neither could he admit that to the gathered company, so he made light of it.
Aragorn did not take it lightly. “Interesting? Was it, now?” Aragorn’s voice was dangerously quiet. “You let us believe you were dead, let us search for your battered body, and then watched as we said farewell because you thought it might be interesting. I see.” He took a step forward, his face grim, and the hobbits scattered hastily.
Suddenly realizing his peril, Legolas threw up a hand in protest. “I did not mean to upset you, Estel. I merely thought to observe for awhile before making myself known…and then I simply continued for want of an opportune time to reappear. It was a jest, that is all; a chance to see my own funeral. An amusement…” He trailed off, aware that he was only digging himself in deeper.
“A jest. An amusement.” Aragorn continued forward without haste, although his voice lowered slightly in pitch. “You found it amusing to watch our grief, to see us mourn the loss of another of our company so soon after the last.”
At the grim reminder of Gandalf, Legolas had the grace to blush. “I…I am sorry, Estel. I did not think…” He backed up a step, as Aragorn was now uncomfortably close.
“You did not think. No, Legolas, you did not think. You were too amused to think, I am sure. Let us see if you find THIS so amusing…” With a quick move Aragorn seized the elf’s arm and seated himself on a convenient rock, pulling Legolas forward across his lap in the process.
A protest from the elf caused only a slight pause.
“Please! The others…!”
“The others were grief-stricken as well. The others had lost their friend and companion as well. They shared the pain of loss, now they can share the retribution.” He continued in elvish, so only Legolas would understand, “You mean much to them, penn-neth, although never so much as you mean to me.” An impatient yank stripped down leggings, and before there was time to react a hard hand landed with considerable force on the exposed flesh. Legolas yelped.
The strong thighs beneath him were tense with the anger that flooded through the man’s whole body. Aragorn’s arm raised high and his flattened palm descended over and over with as much force as he could put behind it.
“Aragorn, I..AH!…I assure you I…OH!…I didn’t mean to…OWWW…I was only…YEOUCH!” Legolas stopped trying to speak, as it was obvious that Aragorn had no intention of listening. Blow after blow landed without pause, turning pale skin red and heated in an incredibly short time. Legolas writhed in pain and bit his lip in an effort to hold back tears.
Never had he seen Aragorn so angry, or felt such uncontrolled fury from the palm that continued to punish his scalded flesh. Would this never stop? He felt the heat in his backside continue to grow until it seemed to explode in a blaze that consumed him entirely. There was nothing but the pain, nothing but that hand, nothing but the anger and the punishment that he so richly deserved…a sob escaped his lips, followed rapidly by another and another; his whole body shook with the force of it.
Aragorn felt the slender body shaking, heard the wrenching sobs, and his anger evaporated as rapidly as it had begun. Tenderly now he held the elf, soothing and calming him with soft voice and now gentle hands. When Legolas had calmed somewhat, he carefully pulled the leggings up over raw, sore skin and gathered him against his broad chest.
As his senses returned, Legolas realized that he was not the only one shaking. “Estel? What is it?” he whispered fearfully. “Why do you tremble so?”
Wiping a stray tear from the face turned so timidly up toward his own, Aragorn managed a smile. “Relief, meleth nin. The aftermath of fear and grief at having lost one so dear to me, of suffering a wound so overpowering I could not have ever completely recovered from it…” He trailed off with a kiss on Legolas’ forehead, closing his eyes and holding him even more tightly. Legolas clung back, feeling the love and strength pour over him in waves.
Was this real? Did the man truly feel so strongly for him? Was he indeed loved and valued so much? The strength of the arms around him, the soft and tender words, were they for him and him alone?
“I…I am sorry, Estel.” He spoke so softly as to barely be heard.
“I know. It is alright. Rest easy now.” These words he said aloud, but his heart continued, “Let me take joy in feeling you safe in my arms for a few moments more. A few moments only; then we must resume the task that has been set us. And who knows that one or both of us may not return…may never again have this moment. Let me feel my heart whole and happy now, for next time it may be the final grief…”
He rocked gently with his elf held close, the need to feel his loved one safe and secure overwhelming all else. He held on and prayed; prayed that they both be spared that final grief; that both…that ALL…would return sound and whole from this quest. He prayed for it, but he did not believe it. Yet he would continue, would do what he must, would do his best, for that was his destiny. He would give his all, willingly. His grip tightened imperceptibly. Yet by all that was holy, he prayed that his all would not include the beloved one in his arms. His head bowed; a single tear fell unnoticed to trail softly down the blond hair spread against his shoulder. And he prayed.