Marble skin by Penelope Z
Summary: This is set right after the end of 'The Fellowship of the Ring', as Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli travel towards Rohan. I'll follow the plot of 'The Two Towers', but it shouldn't be a problem for people who haven't read the book to understand.
Categories: FPS > Legolas/Aragorn, FPS, FPS > Aragorn/Legolas Characters: Aragorn, Legolas
Type: None
Warning: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 6 Completed: Yes Word count: 5179 Read: 5628 Published: August 03, 2012 Updated: August 03, 2012

1. Chapter 1 by Penelope Z

2. Chapter 2 by Penelope Z

3. Chapter 3 by Penelope Z

4. Chapter 4 by Penelope Z

5. Chapter 5 by Penelope Z

6. Chapter 6 by Penelope Z

Chapter 1 by Penelope Z
Boromir is gone. Boromir sleeps in the silent depths of the Great River Anduin, his fingers still wrapped around the hilt of his broken sword. Boromir is dead.

I almost envy him. A heroic sacrifice in the blood drenched battlefield, what better death could a warrior desire? Sail forth traveler, to your final voyage, sail thou forth to the endless ocean.

We run like the restless wind on the rocky hills of Emyl Muil, grey shadows on this hostile land, leaping over scrub and tangled thorns, pursuing the orcs across deep valleys and black mountaintops. I can only hope that Merry and Pippin will be alive and unharmed when we reach them. I can only hope I made the right choice.

This day will burn out soon, the dusk is painting the clouds purple and golden. A pale fog has risen over the dark forest, blurring my vision, but I know that the grassy fields of Rohan lie ahead, we'll reach them in a day if we rush. And further away, to the left, the White Mountains, covered with simmering snow that never melts away. My kingdom, Gondor.

I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, heir through thirty-nine generations, to the throne of that distant land. I have ironed my will through the years, my soul is clenched like a fist, always ready to strike. My fate was sealed before my mouth could form words, before my eyes could see. All my life I knew it would come to this.

But now that the final time is approaching with hurried footsteps, doubt is curdling my blood, poisoning my heart with despair. My name, my heritage is dead weight on my shoulders. My past is a dessert of solitude, my future an uncharted land, darker than Mordor in the depth of the night, in the hour of the owl.

What am I, but a marionette at the hands of fate? I know that if I was free from the burden of this destiny my ancestors have placed upon me, I would willingly follow the same path I'm taking now. But I still long for that choice I was never given, the moment I could have said no.

I miss Boromir. I miss his ambition and blind desire to sacrifice himself for his people. I miss his vanity and his weakness. I miss his flaws. To be flawed is to be human. My companions in this desperate quest aren't.

Gimli is grim and silent, he turns more and more into stone with every footstep he takes, his face is a grey mask of determination.

I don't want to think of the elf. I don't always reply when he speaks and he is the only one who does, soft, feather light words, like the rustling of the leaves in the forest. He sings songs of green fields and crystal waterfalls, of pale dawn and velvet midnight.

His figure is silhouetted, tall and lean like an arrow, against the evening sky. His feet make no sound as he moves, as he dances on the wet soil. His skin felt like ice, when his fingers accidentally touched the back of my hand, while we walked.

He reminds me of her. I don't know if I love him or hate him for it.

When she gives up her Elven Immortality for me, will she be warm and soft under my caresses?

Will she close her eyes to rest?

Arwen, I sleep with my hand clasped tightly around your medallion. You gave away your life for a king without a crown.

She was beautiful when she first came to me and love flowed easily, like sweet wine, as we walked barefoot on the mound of Cerin Amroth, among the blossoming Eleanor and Niphredil. Now its taste is sour in my heart but her skin is still pure winter snow, her eyes are still the deep blue sea.

We stop for a bite of lembas, a drink of water. Night will fall upon us soon, the darkness is chasing the dusk away.

Instinctively, I choose to sit next to Gimli. My hands are shaking as I break the dry bread to pieces. I hunch my shoulders in the warmth of my cloak, the hilt of my sword is a comforting pain against my ribs.

Legolas fills the empty waterskins with water from the stream. He thrusts his hands into the flow, letting drops run over his lips and across his chin. He looks at me and smiles faintly.

I can feel his eyes on me, burning through my skin. I feel examined, scrutinized. Is he waiting for this weak human to make his first mistake? To prove that this tired king is not worthy of his dusty throne? What does he think? What does he dream of? Does this eternal being care, if Middle Earth crumbles to ashes?

I shouldn't be making these unjust thoughts. He is a friend, a companion worthy of my trust. Let us go then. Let us move silently through the night to hunt for signs and reasons.

My heart is torn with longing. I miss Sam's pipe, I miss Frodo's laughter. I miss her midnight hair.

Please stop Legolas. Stop looking at me this way.
Chapter 2 by Penelope Z
The moon has sunk behind the rim of the hills and the night mantle of the sky is torn. Emyl Muil is bathed in a pale light, the first shy messenger of dawn.

I saw them first, five orcs, corpses huddled on the foot of a gloomy hill. Gimli strokes his beard, muttering incoherent words, worried about this new riddle. Aragorn is silent, his eyes comb the land, searching.

My quiver is empty so I slide down the hillside towards our silent enemies. The soil is soaked in their black blood, the stench is unbearable. Brutal death has twisted their limps, waxed their eyes with chill glaze, broken their glittering spears.

I shudder when I think of the little hobbits, Merry and Pippin, held hostage by these angry monsters, their soft skin bruised by rough, claw-like hands and I mourn again over our broken Fellowship.

I gather all the arrows I can find until my search brings me to a small pond, green and full of water lilies. I kneel down and put my hand in the water, clearing a space and I wait for the surface to become still again.

I gaze at my reflection, at this face that never changes, never grows old. Marble skin, high and prominent cheekbones, clear blue eyes. My dreams are painted blue. I dream of endless horizons, huge waves crowned with foam and blind sea creatures floating in the silent depths. I long for lands beyond the ocean, forests where man has never trod and pale cities in the skies.

Soft footsteps behind me and the song of the wilderness is silenced. I can only hear the beatings of his heart, a thunderous whisper to my ears. The colors of the forest dim as the reflection of his weather-beaten face appears next to mine, blurred with bristling beard, his bloodshot eyes glimmering.

Suddenly something comes back to me, a feeling I had known long ago. It's an iron grip around my heart, a memory of forgotten music in my ears. I felt it first when we parted from Rivendell and it grows stronger every day, beyond my will, beyond my control.

I wonder if he has realized. One more sidelong glance, one more accidental caress and I shall be betrayed. He must never know, never.

I can already hear his words of kind rejection, I can see the pitiful light in his eyes, and I know I will not be able to endure the pain. I will break like a weak branch weighted down with snow and age. The trees already know. The wind rustling through their leaves sings a melancholy strain, of desires untold and love unrequited.

Our eyes meet on the water mirror and he nods, an invitation and gentle command. I heave myself to my feet and follow them, my restless gaze never leaving his black-clad figure. I fear for him. His shoulders are hunched, his hair lined with silver and there are dark shadows around his eyes. Old and weary and beautiful and perfect.

He loves her. She whispered it softly to my ear when we two met after the Council and I smiled at her joy and held her hand tightly. I spoke words so seemingly full of meaning, though no true meaning was there.

Jealousy. A taste of ashes in my mouth, helpless anger numbing my limps.

I could have hurt Boromir when he insulted him at the Council. I vowed to kill Boromir if he betrayed him. Now he's dead and shame shall be my cloak for eternity.

Upon my bow, I have sworn a solemn oath to protect you. I shall not abandoned thee my king when the mountains of Middle-Earth echo with the shouts of war and the battle closes deep and bloody. I'll bring Sauron down to his knees for you, and place the laurel crown on your head.

She will sacrifice her Elven soul for him. Would I? Could I?

Perhaps he knows already. He always stands away from me as if afraid that my touch will scorch his skin. I'm afraid he will soon begin to hate me and I can only mourn for all that will never be.

Our night-long journey has brought us to the end of Emyl Muil, we have left this hard and angry land of black forests and steep ravines behind. The wide fields of Rohan lie ahead of us, the grass bows silver and green before the light wind, the air is crisp and clear. I take a deep breath, hungry for this spring land and leap ahead.

I see an eagle flying, dark warning against the pale sky. I see the shadows of twelve figures, creeping on the grassy plains, far away, towards the Mouths of Entwash.

The day is here at last, the sun bursts victorious in the sky on his chariot of fire and I'm suddenly running, running desperately, deaf to Gimli's pleas to wait.

I must run, I must run.

But somewhere along the way I forgot my destination.
Chapter 3 by Penelope Z
Without a word he started running, fast and determined, a hunting dog stalking the doomed prey. My feet are treacherous, they stumble on wild bramble and moss-covered stones, they can't keep up with his pace. Gimli is far behind, I can hear him cursing the elf, breathless and angry.

Then I saw it, lying there, half-hidden behind a few lacklustre flowers and I called out to them. A silver Lórien leaf, beautiful and strange, on the grassy plains of Rohan. Pippin's brooch. The Hobbits are still alive. A spark of new hope burns in me like a beacon, perhaps all I have done wasn't in vain, perhaps there is still a chance.

Faith gives wings to my tired limbs and I lead our little troop now, running ahead for endless hours, until the evening shadows begin to stretch across the level land and pain hammers angrily against my ribs.

The curtain of the night will fall upon us soon.

Should we sleep now, or continue our hunt searching blindly for signs in the darkness? My companions declare their trust in my judgment, their eyes seeking mine expectantly. I grind my teeth as helpless anger overwhelms me. Why must the weight of another wrong decision fall on my weary shoulders?

But I must doubt my fate no more. I'm the leader of this mission and the Heir of Isildur. I will embrace my destiny and for victory or defeat, for a kingly crown or a silent grave, I shall follow my path to the end and bring no shame to my ancestor's name.

We will rest now, under the looming shadow of Tol Brandir and continue our journey tomorrow.

I wrap myself in my cloak, and as I lie on the ground my hand seeks to grasp the medallion that hangs from my neck. It's so cold it numbs my fingers when I touch it, the heat of my skin will never warm the ancient Elven metal.

Tinúviel, Tinúviel I called her when we first met. She did love me once, but the reason I never understood and never cared to know. I long to bury my tired head in her shoulder now and be finally at rest.

But instead, the damp grass and this hard like bone earth will be my pillow for the night. I feel the edges of my lips curling up in a strange smile. This is who you desired to be Boromir? See your King now in all his glory, with his face hidden in his hands, like a beggar child fighting against the tears.

I close my eyes and the world loses its shape.

I dreamt. My dream was a tumble of images, banners flying against a sickly sky, riders galloping wildly towards the doom, ghosts awakening from the murky waters.

There will be days when no sun will rise.

The Dead have been summoned. The King of the Dead is coming.

I dreamt that I woke up. I woke up and he was there.

The air is fragrant with wild herbs, no night creature distubs this eerie silence that falls upon the world before the dawn. The sky is a starless sea of deep blue, the moonlight still glistens on the long wet blades of grass. But the morning fog, like the breath of this moist earth is slowly rising, eating the dark away.

Legolas is there, standing with his back against a tree trunk, his gaze fixed towards the north. For a moment I think I'm still dreaming for his figure, long and frail like a tender willow, radiates with an otherworldly light and his hair is burning gold, melting on his shoulders.

I hesitate, then I heave myself to my feet and approach him. I move silently but he senses I'm there, behind him, waiting.

And as he turns his face towards mine I realize I was wrong about him, wrong again, horribly wrong. For he feels, and he cares and even though his smooth face isn't lined with worry when his eyes, tired and sad, met mine I saw that this desperate quest means more to him than I ever imagined.

The tone of his voice is hollow and defeated, he had a vision, he fears for the Hobbits' fate.

All the words have dried up in my throat and my thoughts have flown away.

He sees my despair and places his hand on my shoulder, encouragingly. His touch is ice but I'm grateful for this little, nameless act of kindness.

Still we stare at each other, and say nothing. A strange feeling washes over me and then I feel fear, more fear than ever before in my lonely mortal life, fear tearing through my skin like red-hot needles, fear gnawing at my skull, fear bleeding my heart.

Instinctively I turn towards Gimli, who still sleeps, hidden under his grey cloak, on a carpet of decaying leaves.

I must wake him up, we must leave, we must hurry.

'Aragorn'

His voice is hoarse as he calls out my name and the hand he spreads towards me in a gesture of timid invitation, is trembling.
Chapter 4 by Penelope Z
I looked at my pale hands that almost against my will were reaching out for him, palms open, inviting. No, that was not what I meant to do, I wanted to say but my lips betrayed me and formed his name once more.

He hesitates, confused and slightly alarmed, he glances at the dwarf's sleeping form and then his eyes meet mine in an unspoken question. I hope he will tear his gaze away, reject my pleas with an impatient wave of his hand. There is no time to waste for such matters now, we must leave, we must hurry, for Merry and Pippin are begging for mercy, shoved roughly by foul hands and the Nine are running again, unfolding their dark wings over Middle-Earth.

But he doesn't. He straightens abruptly, breaches the distance between us in quick, silent strides and stands before me in patient expectation. His face is chalk-white, eyes ringed with bruises of weariness and grief. My fate is sealed.

I hear the sea calling for me in the darkness, every wave born out of the womb of the ocean is roaring out my name. The leaves of the trees above us rustle in mirthless laughter. Let him be, they say. He isn't yours to have, the dark King. He'll be gone one day, cold and silent in his marble grave. Come to us. Come back to us, child of the deep forests.

I'm shaking like an autumn leaf, that will soon fall from the treacherous branch, but as I sway about to collapse, two arms grab my shoulders in an iron grip, steadying me. His kind words of concern wash over me, do I need rest, he asks, do I feel ill, did I have a premonition.

He is so close I can smell him now, his scent of soil mingled with blood and suddenly I'm bold and careless, gathering the fabric of his cloak between my fingers, rubbing my hand on his stubbled cheek. His breath is warm against my skin. My eyes drift shut.

His muscles tense under my cold touch, his fingers wrap instinctively around the hilt of his sword, but he makes no attempt to move away. He's stunned and as he opens his mouth in surprised protest my lips meet his in a clumsy kiss.

A thousand phosphorous eyes stare at me in the velvet darkness. What have you done? A thousand tongues whisper, voices of creatures who dwell in night. He'll hate you now. He'll hate you now, they chant their pitiless strain.

His hands are already moving to push me kindly away, but no, they sneak around my waist instead, like twining vine, bringing us closer. He runs his hands over my back, buries them in my tangled hair, the pads of his fingers fluttering gently against my scalp.

A sound like a sob and a moan drifts to my ears and I realize it came from my own lips. I try to nudge his mouth open, a little at first, then more and his taste is bitter, wood burned to ash.

Gimli coughs in his sleep and we stiffen, breaking apart for a heartbeat. Aragorn brings a finger to his lips, nodding. Hush now, be quiet Legolas. A small smile chases across his face but no joy is hidden there and our hot mouths meet again in desperation, fierce wolves battling for dominance.

Pale mist envelopes us, two figures embalmed in the darkness. I'm shoved roughly against a tree trunk, his thoughts an angry torrent, glittering lances and black flags flapping in the wind. I can almost taste the marrow of his bones now, I can hear the red blood pumping in his veins.

He pulls me even closer, until the medallion she gave him is pressed against my collarbone, a cold memory. Her face swims in front of my closed eyelids, grave eyes, grave smile. I've betrayed you dear sister, companion of my childhood's woes and aching joys, I've betrayed you.

I can think of that no more. There is not much time left. In a minute he will pull away, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. In a minute Gimli will be awake. The sanguine sunrise will be here, awakening the morning dews, burning the veil of the night away. In a minute there will be day, signs to follow, dark enemies to hunt and a mission, a cause and a reason. And a Ring to burn and melt in the fires of Mordor.

The ocean cries out for me again. Come to us Legolas, the forlorn lands are calling. Come to our silver altars dripping with sacrificial blood and our silent forests where no nightingale sings. Come to where you belong elf, where there are no mornings and sunsets, no seasons and years, only Now and Here and Forever.

One day I will depart never to return and my memory will fade from the mortal mind. But not now. Not yet. There is a short time left.

A minute.

My sole comfort.

I will not ask for more.
Chapter 5 by Penelope Z
Midday. The sun throws down his burning spears, bathing the treeless plains in joyless daylight. I'm an hound seeking the prey, sniffing the thin air, searching the ground for signs. A snapped twig, a faint foot print, a blade of grass trampled underfoot.

We have traveled for long hours across the land of Rohan, until the wall of the gloomy hills of Emil Muil disappeared in the shadows behind us. The dark forest of Fangorn looms towards the north and further away the snow-covered mountaintop of Methedras glimmers, half hidden in the blue mist, as if floating upon ghostly clouds.


The river of Entwash meanders through the grassy fields, a silver thread watering the earth, awakening the Asphodel and the Eglantine, clothing the rocks with azure moss.

The land is tranquil, but it is an eerie silence and this reluctant spring is winter in disguise. The shadows await and if our mission fails and the Dark Lord raises his sceptre over the world tombstones will rise where flowers blossom. In the swelling buds of violets hides the seed of darkness.

I drive our little troop on mercilessly, but with every step we take I feel the distance grow. If there was any hope at the beginning of this vain endeavor there is none left now. We will never reach the captive Hobbits. Some obscure power gives wings to our enemies while we crawl defeated on the ground. Saruman. Or something darker, something colder.

Legolas shows no signs of weakness, his feet are still light, his gaze sharp. But he sings no more and I long to hear his fluty voice again, chanting tunes of savage forests and the silver scythe of the moon. Has our cold embrace robbed him of his mirth?

I can taste him even now, his scent still clings to my fingers. My mind is reeling and I fear I shall go mad for I cannot stop thinking how his lips opened under mine and how his fingers trembled as he buried them in my tangled hair.

Nothing makes sense any more, the world is liquid, changing shape and name and all that stood so clear yesterday, now dim in the mist that clouds my thoughts. I still feel the weight of her medallion around my neck. I dare not reach out and touch it for fear that it will vanish, like water, which stays only in the palm of an open hand but when the fist closes, the cool drops escape.

Frail love, your vows are all broken.

Do not forgive me Tinúviel, I deserve no pity, for it was not the desire for your sweet embrace that drove me in his cold arms. It was despair.

Viper thoughts coil around my mind. I will betray them both one day, my Elven lovers. Betray them for the one who holds a black scythe and patiently awaits at the end of the long path. And I will go to him, holding a broken sword or the sceptre of Annúminas, it matters not. When I sleep in his comforting arms, will you remember my name? Will you remember you were mine once?

We stop near a small hill, lone upon the level land. Gimli is exhausted, his shoulders hunched, his heart is stifled with grief, now that all hope is lost. We let him rest at the foot of the hill and climb swiftly to peer at the horizon for signs.

We gain the top of the rise and pause, breathing in deep gasps from the run. The evening has stolen into the hot footprints of the day, the luminous clouds are tinted purple but the night is still far.

A shifting darkness approaches. Riders. Riders are coming, the valley is overflowing with the sound. Proud Rohirrim warriors, a hundred or more, they burst upon the land like a wolf into the fold, long lances lifted, helmets plumed, their blond braids trailing down their backs.

I draw my sword and he lifts his bow. In a smooth sweep of the arm he takes an arrow, draws the bowstring taut, steadying the aim, prepared. Then our eyes meet, his gaze is hard but his ribs are heaving with deep, shuddering breaths. You look so young deceiving elf, in the halo of your golden hair.

His hand slackens and the arrow falls on the ground with a dull thud. He reaches out to me, feather-light fingers touch my wrist reluctantly, as if begging for permission.

I grab his hand roughly, with a crack and grind of bone and bring it to my hot mouth, teeth and tongue and lips grazing over marble skin.

He makes no sound. I'm the one who speaks his name now, again and again, till the words melt together, a murmurous haunt: Legolaslegolaslegolaslegolaslegolas...

How I wish to fade away with thee Legolas into the forest dim, to vanish like an inaudible dream, distant from the cares and needs of others. But my fate has called, I'm the Chieftain of the Dúnedain, this life is not my own to spend in aching joys and feeble yearnings.

All this will never come to any good. But his mouth is hot and wet, our teeth clang together, my eyes are rolling to the back of my head. Torn cloth, long fingers hungry for bare skin, the pale curve of the neck. I bit his lip, copper taste of blood. Bleed for me.

My left hand strokes his hair but the right one still clutches the hilt of my sword. I pull away and accidentally step on the fallen arrow.

It cracks, a final sound.

It is broken.
Chapter 6 by Penelope Z
Eomer. Eomer is the name of the Rohirrim leader, a tall and proud warrior. His face is noble but hardened with suffering, his voice melodic but tinted with suspicion. He does not trust us. I gaze at the riders with narrowed eyes. Hurt him and your flesh will taste the sharpness of my arrows.

Aragorn speaks, narrates the story of our mission. I am silent for fear that if I open my mouth to speak no words will come out, but savage sounds, howling of wolves, cries of vultures. My body is still humming from his touch. Will he ever call out my name again? My lip hurts, the wound still bleeds.

I only react when Eomer points his long lance at the dwarf. Gimli, trusted companion, who saw and heard and understood. And pitied. I raise my bow, the bowstring thrums in warning against my archer's wristlet. Gimli swings his axe in circles over his head. Bitter words and dark threats are exchanged, the situation will soon be out of hand.

But then he draws Andúril, the naked blade glimmers against the evening sky. He reveals himself. Aragorn, son of Arathorn, Elessar, Chieftain of the Dúnedain, Heir of Isildur. A white flame flickers on his forehead, prophecy of a kingly crown.

The Dark Lord would fear him now, for his eyes are stone and wildfire, his hand is firm and behind him I can see an endless ocean of ghostly faces, ancestors of the Dúnedain race, guiding his way. His tattered rags are the Prince's robes and his weather-beaten face bears the Leader's mark.

But dark despair benights me for it is all over for me now, now that everything begins anew. He has left the past behind and like a newborn infant, striving against the swaddling bands, he walks into his frail, uncertain future. I will be forgotten. But no matter if you cast me out Aragorn, my love for your gnaws at my mind, smoldering like the embers from the fire of the Phoenix.

Pity me not, west wind and mellowing sun dripping gold, for I have not been deceived. All along I knew it would come to this. I unfolded my arms and willingly embraced my doom, I eagerly parted my lips and like holy water I drank the poison brew that runs in my veins now.

The choice was mine to make and if I could decide again I'd still call out to him, my hands open, inviting that bitter kiss, tasting of sorrow. For my long life has been nothing but waiting, a prelude for that short, hasty moment.

The brief rose is withered now, the petals blown away by pitiless winds, but the thorn is mine. The thorn is mine to keep.

The tide is rising, sweet voices maze my mind. There's nothing left for you now Elf. One day I will journey down to the Grey Harbors, to sail upon the sparkling waters, where pain is mild like the fair ocean breeze. I will see the untrampled depths, strown with azure and purple seaweed, I will find the island hidden in the ocean's womb.

The Lands Beyond, enchanted and savage place. Tumult of mighty harmonies, ivy leaves and copper bells. The King and Queen divine. The knife of stone, the silver altar, they hunger for sacrificial blood. Worlds without end, worlds without beginning.

Not yet. There are deeds I must fulfill. Not till this quest is over, this war is won and I see him wearing the laurel crown of my visions. Not till that dreaded moment when his cheek will grow pale in easeful Death's embrace.

To hear thy name spoken, to know you walk under the same vaulted sky, it is a solace, my dark King.

The Rohirrim leader is convinced, he offers us their spare horses. Aragorn mounts first, I delay to help Gimli who is grumbling, fearful of the wild mare. He turns around, hands gripping white-knuckled the bridle of his horse and glances towards me. Do I dream with unclosed lids, or are his cheeks truly moist and his eyes glimmering with a red glow?

Before my thoughts can reach him, he is gone. Drumming his heels along the sides of his horse, he charges forward. The horse's mane flaps like a banner in the wind, and I follow swiftly behind. There was something I needed to tell him, but the words I no longer recall. Let it rest in the past untold, it makes no difference now.

For when the Ring is gone, and all that is broken mended, when this story is finally over and the reader closes the book, rubbing his tired eyes what else would there be left, for me to say to you and you to me but...

Goodbye




Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest!
Fair-thee-weel, thou best and dearest!

Ae fond kiss and then we sever!
Ae fareweel! Alas, for ever.

-- Ae fond kiss, G.Burns
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