‘Tis with much affection and true joy that, so many years hence, I still remember – the day a homeless wanderer returned home - for with him our true purpose became clear to me at last. What was the prize for such sacrifice as was made that foul day upon the Morannon…?
He opened his eyes as he had done every morning for the past few weeks, for the destruction of the One Ring and the final, brutal battle they had waged upon the Morannon, had left him vulnerable, in both body and mind.
It was the sea longing, he said to himself over and over, as if by repeating it, it would become the truth. And perhaps it was, for it had left him susceptible to the wiles of the heart, had wrestled from him a part of that infamous, hardened resolve that was such an integral, recognizable trait in the Prince of Mirkwood and all those of his Sindarin lineage.
Still, he had retained the better part of it, and his deplorable state would go unnoticed by most, but not all. Aragorn’s gaze was, of late, lingering and thoughtful, and Gimli too, had taken to slapping him almost painfully upon the back in the midst of terrible jokes he had not the heart to laugh at. And as for Arwen, Legolas had learned to avoid her lingering gazes, for he had never quite understood the emotions that danced and swirled behind her ancient eyes.
He breathed deeply and sat up. The sky was grey once more and the sun was nowhere to be seen. He knew where it should be, of course, but that was not what he wanted; he wished to see it, to feel it shine upon his wanting face, warm his frigid flesh as would a lover’s touch. This, he desired, as much as his lost sense of purpose, some token of direction, an anchor that would afford him a semblance of belonging and fulfillment.
Yet was the Greenwood truly still his home? Of course it was, he berated himself; he had been born and bred there, his people dwelled there, he had fought for her freedom every day of his life for countless centuries. Did that not constitute one’s home?
Yet there was a niggling in the back of his mind that was reflected in the heaviness he felt in his stomach. Of late, every time he had thought of his home, these strange feelings of anxiety and loss would assail him, and every time, he would turn away from them and steel his heart. There was too much to do, too many to be strong for, he told himself, and Legolas was not weak – he could not be – he had never allowed himself to be.
Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he walked to the open window and breathed in the heavy humidity; a dense fog covered the Pelennor, masking the blackened earth and charred remains he knew still littered it. It was a strangely faithful rendering of his own heart, he mused. It too, was burnt and charred, scattered here and there; broken and tossed aside in the wake of abject horror; it had left him bereft and lost, swimming in a sea of confusion and disorientation.
Turning away, he dressed, braided his hair mechanically, and walked towards the dining area for the morning meal he felt no hunger for. His mask slipped perfectly into place as he walked, and by the time he had reached the room, he smiled and bowed only slightly to his friend, now king.
The other members of the fellowship sat there too, already immersed in their food and quiet conversation. Even so, they had a smile and a nod for him as he joined them and poured himself some steaming tea.
The fare that sat upon the table was not what he would call fit for a king, for provisions were scarce and trade had yet to be fully re-established. Still they could not complain for, after their long quest, this was a veritable feast that was not to be scoffed at.
The tea warmed his body and the food filled his stomach, but he tasted none of it, enjoyed nothing and his mind resumed its introspective thoughts. The hobbits had said they would stay for a while longer and Gimli, too, had called upon his people to bring their skill to Minas Tirith; he would oversee them and ensure the job was done before he and Legolaswould set out on the journeys they had agreed upon.
For Legolas, though, there was no true purpose for him here, not yet, and he wondered if he should go home. His father already knew he had survived albeit there had been no time for an answer to arrive from Mirkwood. There had been things left unsaid between them that perhaps now, in this new age, they would be able to resolve. The inkling of hope lasted for but a few, scant moments, though, as skepticism surged to the fore once more.
But did he really want to face that now? His heart was sick with grief and horror and to face the ghosts of his past on top of it, would be nothing short of masochistic. Nay, the pull of the Greenwood did not entice him now – it was not the answer his heart sought. He needed peace and a loving hand, a buoy to keep his head over the surface …
“Still asleep, Master Legolas?” asked Sam, merrily, as he bit on a sausage he held aloft with his fork.
A little startled that someone had spoken to him, and that he had obviously not heard, he smiled somewhat bashfully. “I wax lazy of late, Master Sam. What I did not sleep during the quest I do so now.”
“Well, we are all entitled to that and more,” interrupted Gandalf, “you have been injured, Greenleaf. You must give yourself some time,” he said, glancing first at Aragorn and then at Legolas, before resuming his breakfast.
“You have not yet told us of your plans, Legolas,” began Aragorn lightly, after a moment of silence, and Legolas recognized the worry behind his friend’s words. “Will you travel to the Woodland Realm?”
“Nay,” he replied, too quickly he realized.
“I had thought to travel home, yet I think perhaps I should spend some time away, feel the healthy earth beneath my feet, the joyful song of the trees – these things I have missed,” he said with a smile. But on the inside his heart bled for it was true and to his horror he realized he wanted to cry.
He was bereft, a wandering soul with nowhere to go, a home that did not call to him, and a heart that struggled for the answers it sought and failed, time and again.
“Well, there are months of work to be done here. Perhaps it would do you well, Legolas,” said Aragorn conversationally. But the prince knew his friend well, and although the Hobbits may be oblivious to his turmoil, Aragorn was not, indeed neither was Gimli nor Gandalf.
“You may be right. I shall think on it,” he said with a smile and a dismissive wave of his hand. He had effectively put an end to the conversation in no uncertain terms, at least here and now. Yet as soon as breakfast had finished, his mind stubbornly reminded him that his decisions were still to be made, that he remained adrift in a sea of turmoil.
Home? Where is my home…?
He had bathed and then bandaged his ankle tightly, lest it give out on him during his journey.
The shoulder wound had healed well, leaving him with but uncomfortable twinges should he adopt an awkward position, or if it should rain heavily.
As for everything else, the cuts and stab wounds, they had closed yet they had left him weak, for he had bled profusely.
His clothes were mannish, for his own had been ruined. Black breeches, boots, cloak – only his tunic was a rich brown, the only hint of color save for his striking pale-wheat hair and deep blue eyes.
He moved to stand before the mirror and sighed at the dullness he found there. There were deep circles under his eyes, eyes that looked back at him questioningly. ‘Where should I go? Where do I want to be?’
Even now, on the morning of his departure he had not decided where he would go; all he knew was that he must leave. The worried stares of his friends, the awkward silences, his own feelings of uselessness. He was a distraction to them all, and it touched upon his warrior’s pride.
His hands moved quickly and deftly as they braided the sides and then the back of his head, allowing the rest of his extraordinary hair to hang down to the small of his back. That too, was dull and lack luster, like his eyes and his wandering heart.
Everything else seemed a blur to him that morning. When the fellowship had hesitantly waved him goodbye and he had suddenly found himself alone, atop Arod, with his saddle bags full and his weapons strapped safely to his body; he knew it was time for decisions, and yet the answer, once more, eluded him.
Closing his eyes and breathing in the heavy morning air, he urged his mount into a trot, and then a light canter – North, he would travel North, but whether to the East or West he did not know.
East would take him home, to his birth land, and West would take him to where he had left the only one he had ever cared for, and then had left him for the greater good. Whichever direction he took, there would be conflict and heart ache and from that he wished to flee. He needed peace and kind affection, a silent rock to which he could cling, keep his head afloat the salty water he felt himself drowning in once more.
He did not know if he had found an answer, but it was all he had, and so he set off once more; North-west then, and the unknown.
He made the journey in a month. He had not rushed himself for he was not physically fit enough to push himself, and even if he had been, the closer he drew to the frontiers of Imladris, the slower he rode, and the faster his mind worked, desperate to confirm to himself the wisdom or otherwise, of his choice.
His relationship with his lover had been slow in coming, but once it had been established, it had burned with the heat of a thousand furnaces.Yet it had been too late, for the fellowship had departed and their nascent love had been brutally severed, still more about sex and fulfillment than love and completion.
His lover had pleaded with him to stay, argued that there were others who could travel with the Company. Legolas in turn, had tried to explain that there were so many reasons that it had to be him; Gollum, this own mother, Mithrandir, Elrond… the Noldorin lord had chosen Legolas partly because of his ability to empathize, or so he had said, and although he had not understood the importance of that at the time, now, in hindsight, he saw it so very clearly.
There would have been much strife, he mused, between his lover and the Lord of Imladris. Indeed he had not had word from either since the fall of the Dark Lord. Even Elladan and Elrohir had been tight-lipped on the subject, and Legolas had not pressed them, it had not been the time.
He could no longer feel the deep hum of Vilya when he passed the borders, yet he knew he had passed them all the same, and glad he was of it, for he was beyond tired and his mind continued to bombard him with questions he had no answers to. Should I remain in Middle-earth, or cross the sea? If I remain, where should I go? Where do I belong? Where – is home?
He felt like an aimlessly wandering child, waiting for his parents to find him and take him to safety, but that could never be now, for his mother had perished and his father did not speak of it.
“You are lost…”
Legolas startled, and then stopped Arod, peering to his left, from where the sound had come.
“Lord Erestor?” he asked softly, unsure of the identity of the one that had surprised him.
“Lord Legolas,” he said as he emerged atop his mighty, black steed and approached. “Glad are my eyes to see you, child,” he said softly, his crystal grey eyes boring into dull blue irises knowingly.
Legolas, somewhat unnerved, could not hold his gaze for he knew what the Noldo saw in them and it was not what he wanted, it was not who he was.
Erestor’s brow furrowed slightly, and then turned his horse and began to walk back to Elrond’s abode.
There were no words of comfort or pity and Legolas thanked him for his wisdom as he urged Arod to follow, his mind focusing once more only when the thud of hooves changed to a clatter, and a stable hand appeared to steer their mounts away, bowing deeply at Legolas, even though the prince did not see.
Legolas dismounted carefully, mindful of his ankle that had been shattered by a troll’s club, and Erestor watched him patiently, waiting until he had straightened, before walking into the main building.
The advisor’s hand rested on his forearm and both elves stopped.
“You have not asked but I will tell you all the same. He is here, and he too, is lost…” he said quietly, “home, is where you want to be…” he added, then smiled enigmatically, before nodding, and walking away.
Legolas watched him go as his mind worked furiously to understand what the Chief Advisor had meant with his words, or indeed why he had said them at all. Had he seen the sea longing behind his eyes? However, there was no more time to ponder, for Elrond was before him, and at his shoulder, Melpomaen.
But, where Erestor’s gaze had been simple and understanding, Elrond’s wavered desperately as his eyes moved over Legolas’ body. What he could see, Legolas could not say, but Elrond was wise, he would surely see far more than Legolas wanted him to. Whichever the case, this time, it was not Legolas who looked away first, but Elrond.
He is disgusted…
“Legolas. You are back,” he said softly.
“Yes. I do not know exactly why, why I came here…” Legolas said lamely, feeling suddenly like a child standing before his father. He did not know what to say for he had no answer for the lord. Why had he come? To be looked upon in pity, to be berated for leaving…
“It does not matter – only that you are here.” There was a solemnity to the lord, a quiet grief that seemed to have worsened since the defeat of the Dark One. Legolas suddenly wondered if that is what he looked like, eyes that had seen too much death, too much evil, eyes that weighed too much.
“Will you stay with us for a while? Recover your strength before you continue your journey?”
What to say, for where was he headed?
“I will stay for a while, my Lord, if you will have me.”
“You have journeyed long and far. You have battled much and seen more. You are our hope, Legolas, and you have not disappointed me – you honor us with your presence,” said the lord.
Something shattered in Legolas’ chest then, and he felt his eyes suddenly too warm, too full. Elrond’s own face cracked in concern, but as he moved to step forward and comfort the weary wanderer, a hand stopped him, and when Legolas looked back up again, it was into the ancient blue eyes of Glorfindel.
Legolas could not stop himself anymore and he stepped forward, into the warm chest and strong arms that enfolded him and would not let go. He cared not who watched, all that mattered was that he felt once more, and though he did not cry, for the first time in many months, he felt the warmth of love and affection, his head breaking above the water, sweeter now, and calmer.
Steam curled and snaked upwards from the tub and Legolas stripped himself while Glorfindel dallied in his bedroom. There would be time enough for explanations later. For now, he had seen Glorfindel’s willingness to remain silent, to simply be with him, undemanding – this is what Legolas had wanted, needed.
He sank down into the hot water and gently laid himself back, resting his head against the slanted back of the tub. His eyes slipped closed and for one blissful moment, his mind was empty.
When he opened his eyes once more, he found Glorfindel perched upon the edge of the tub, smiling down at him. He shone like a beacon and Legolas suddenly wanted to reach out and capture the light, take it for his own; for he was dim, his own light all but spent.
“Glorfindel. There are many things I would say…”
“Say only that you are glad to see me. Everything else is unimportant to me.”
Legolas stared back at him in shock. He had not expected Glorfindel to forgive him unconditionally.
“I am most glad to see you, Glorfindel. I have not forgotten – I could never forget,” he whispered.
The smile slipped from the ancient warrior’s face then, but it soon returned, aware perhaps that now was not the time for transcendental conversations.
“Relax, Legolas. Let me wash your hair for you.”
He wanted to cry again. Just the mere touch of a kind soul, the loving words of a friend, they were enough to bring tears to his eyes and he realized then, just how much he had been affected by the events of the last months. He was not as strong as he thought, not as impervious. He could no longer pretend that he was.
Glorfindel washed the abundant hair he once worshipped – still did, and when he was done, he reverently washed the rest of his lover’s body, stopping only briefly when he came upon a healing scar, or the battered ankle that told the tale of a dreadful injury.
When he was done, he wrapped his ex-lover in a clean robe and ushered him to the bed, observing the slight limp and the sluggish movements. Yet he said nothing, for to do so would open a bag of horrors, and that needed to wait.
“It is close to the midday meal. Shall I bring something up for you? For something tells me you flee from company.”
Legolas simply looked at Glorfindel and smiled tightly. “Yes. I have no heart for conversation, Glorfindel. Yet I would have your steady presence beside me, if that is not too much to ask of you?”
“Legolas. You could not rid yourself of me right now, even should you try.”
“I do not want to try, Glorfindel.”
The Gondolin lord held the dull gaze for a moment and all he saw was grief, and confusion. Legolas had suffered, for he remembered – that look - that haunted gaze that told of horrors untold. He had seen it in others, in himself.
All the misunderstanding and the lack of communication that had led to their parting, simply slipped away. It was then that Glorfindel realized he loved Legolas. He always had but he had not quite realized it at the time.
Glorfindel had first been attracted to Legolas’ extraordinary beauty, his prowess in battle and his wit in conversation, his relish for the hunt. And then, in bed, they were both strong, dominant, unbridled in their passion. They had had sex in their beds, in their baths, in the quiet halls and the stables. In the gardens and in the trees, and in other places less expected. One was old, the other young, but both had a taste for the exotic and the ancient.
That had been their first point of attraction, but they had ran out of time, for events had spiraled out of their control. Now however, here, after everything was done and Legolas was returned to him, Glorfindel had no doubt in his mind. Erestor had been right. Glorfindel had hunted for prey, and had unwittingly found the better part of his own soul.
“I will be back in a moment,” he said, and walked purposefully to the kitchens in search of something nourishing, for Legolas had surely not eaten well for many days. He was too weak, too thin, and although he would afford him a day of rest and peace, he would have the truth from him. Any warrior would suffer after a quest such as the one the Fellowship had undertaken; the battles, the brush with darkness, the brutal horror – all this he understood all too well. But there was something deeper, something not so obvious, something that simmered under the surface, barely held at bay with a resolve that threatened to crumble before his very eyes. Legolas’ sanity would not last much longer, and Glorfindel resolved to fix it, if he could.
Legolas smiled a joyful smile as he watched Glorfindel walk from the room. How could he ever have doubted that his ex-lover would react in any other way than he had. Kind, understanding, sensitive – wise.
All those days of doubt, of not knowing where to go, who to go to, of wondering whether to go home. How had it not occurred to him with more clarity?
Elrond too, had been a strong presence in his life, ever since he had been sent to Imladris on his first diplomatic mission, only just past his majority. It had been then that he had fallen platonically for Glorfindel; it would be many years later, however, when admiration turned to desire, and desire to unbridled, frenetic lust.
And then Elrond had entrusted him with the quest. He had not understood why at the time, but he had accepted that trust unconditionally, proud even, to have been chosen for such a feat.
He laughed at himself then, shaking his head disbelievingly for his foolishness and naivety. Elrond too, would have been there for him, his reaction when he had arrived was testimony to that. But Glorfindel, brave, beautiful, wise Glorfindel – that had been the answer all along.
Something deep inside him moved, and then surged upwards, uncontrollably, too fast and it took his breath and set his flesh to tingling in nascent understanding..
“…home is where you want to be…”
“…say only that you are glad to see me…”
“…everything else is unimportant…”
“…you could not rid yourself of me now…”
“…home is where you want to be…”
The door clinked open, and Glorfindel entered with a tray of food.
“I picked up a bit of everything. I am not quite sure what you would…” he stopped abruptly as he looked over to the elf standing before the window. The sun had come out and was illuminating his half naked body, his drying hair hanging down his bare, muscled back only to disappear beneath the robe that still hung loosely around his hips.
Glorfindel gasped as Legolas turned slowly, for he glowed once more and his eyes sparkled with renewed life.
Frowning in awe and confusion, Glorfindel watched as his ex-lover limped slowly over to him, looking at him as if for the first time, with fascination and reverence.
One pale archer’s hand slowly reached up to brush his cheek with the back of his fingers.
“I have been so blind, so foolish…”
Glorfindel could only shake his head in confusion.
“After all the horror, the senseless killing, the suffering and the sacrifice, I wished only for peace but that was not granted to me, for the sea-longing…”
“I know,” whispered Glorfindel.
“I wondered, what my place should be, what I would do, where I would go. I thought to go home, speak with my father…”
“Why didn’t you?”
Legolas wrapped the robe tightly around his suddenly cold chest.
“I do not feel it – it does not feel like home to me anymore,” he whispered, his teary eyes searching Glorfindel’s, for a sign that he understood.
“I wondered then, where was my home? Where did I belong…”
Glorfindel stood close to his ex-lover, watching his every expression as he spoke, his heart yearning yet not daring, to reveal his own feelings.
Legolas smiled then. “’Tis strange, ironic, that when Erestor left me this morning, he said something I did not understand at the time…”
“What? What did he say?” asked Glorfindel. He could feel his heart skipping and fluttering irregularly, a pivotal moment approached and the apprehension of it was almost unbearable.
“Home, is where you want to be… It is not a place, or a person – it is a feeling of completeness, where you want to be because there – you are content. Home, is where you are happy…” he trailed off with a whisper, as if he had just worked out the true meaning of the conundrum now, as he stood there explaining it.
The ancient warrior’s eyes filled with tears and his heart leapt in his chest frantically as he closed the gap between them, hoping so much that it hurt.
“And where, are you happy, Legolas?”
A blindingly beautiful smile lit Legolas’ face, filling Glorfindel with a sense of utter joy, joy that became almost too much as Legolas uttered his next words.
“Here – if you are here, and the Greenwood, if you are there… and in Valinor, if you are there…”
The heavy tears finally fell and Glorfindel breathed deeply to smother the sob that had threatened to escape him, barely containing it as he struggled to pronounce the words that begged to be freed from his unwitting mouth.
“Yes… home – is the warrior, home from war… I love you. I have always loved you,” said Glorfindel in wonder as his hands came up to clasp his lover’s head.
Legolas had no more words, for he had surely said them all, and before Glorfindel could recover from the euphoria that swirled around him, Legolas crushed his lips to his, as his hands came up to hold his head.
Desire, lust, love, a dangerous cocktail of emotions thundered to the surface and Glorfindel grabbed his lover desperately to his own body, taking the back of his head and pushing into the kiss, as if he could transcend the flesh and sink below his beauty, into the incomprehensibly exquisite soul beneath.
Legolas let go of his robe, which slid down his now bare form and Glorfindel reacted acutely, with a loud gasp that heightened his passion to limits he had never experienced before. He could not breathe but he could not stop now, even had Legolas asked him to.
His strong arms pulled Legolas with him, sitting him on the side of the bed, and then laying over him, covering the incomparable warrior’s body with his own, fully clothed form. Legolas’ hands grappled with the clasps and ties of his lover’s clothing and Glorfindel too, pulled at them so harshly he burst a button and snapped a tie.
Legolas giggled through his tears as both tugged and pulled until the cloth came apart. Glorfindel however, was too impatient to bother pulling it off and so he simply yanked his tunic aside and pushed his breaches down as far as he could reach. His legs were trapped but that did not matter, for Legolas’ had opened to him, and Glorfindel clasped the backs of his knees, pushing them further apart. Angling himself deftly,he pushed himself inside with an uncontrolled groan of such passion he almost came.
He froze for a moment, trying and failing to control his breathing, desperate to stay his orgasm if only for a mere few seconds.
Legolas’ head had stretched backwards and tightened in pain, but Glorfindel knew it was a good pain, and so he slowly moved his hips as he watched his lover’s face.
Deep blue eyes closed in ecstasy as tears leaked from their corners and he moaned low and long. It was too much for Glorfindel, and after mere seconds inside his lover, his hips bucked hard and he pumped himself to explosive completion with a surprised yell that seemed to last a lifetime. He felt Legolas tense, and then he too, shouted out and spilled himself copiously over his own bare chest.
The harsh, desperate breathing of the two warriors was the only sound in the room and yet it echoed so loudly, a single, yet perfect reflection of their passion.
Legolas lowered his shaking legs and kissed his lover who had yet to move. He had slipped out of his sheath however, and the ancient warrior moaned for the loss of his warm wet refuge.
“Do not leave…”
Legolas simply smiled, and then wiggled under the strong body until he lay upon his stomach, his taught buttocks splayed before Glorfindel, his wide open legs seeking support upon the wooden flooring. Turning his head back to a wickedly smiling Noldorin lord.
“Again, once is not enough.”
Glorfindel gasped, “I will have you until I am dry, and then again!” he moaned as he grabbed his already steel-hard cock and pushed it back inside. This time, he would savor the moment, feel it all, the physical and the magical, and he closed his eyes in rapture.
From the slightly open door, Erestor peered inside and watched the two lovers spend their passion together. He did not turn away, for the spectacle was far too stimulating. His own shaft filled out painfully as he watched, and listened, and rejoiced. He had always known they loved each other, even when they themselves had not.
Turning to leave, in search of his own pleasure, he smiled a deep smile of joy, for two lovers had finally found their home, the one in the other. This was the prize, this is what they had fought for; it was the very essence of their victory over the Dark One, expressed in one simple act of love.
And so it was, that Legolas Greenleaf found his home, in the loving arms of my good friend Glorfindel, for *home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter, home from the hill.
I, Erestor, as witness.
*Extract from Requiem, by Robert Louis Stevenson.
This story was written for the 2015 Slashy Valentine Challenge. I have very much enjoyed this challenge - the prompt was marvelous and I wonder if I have captured the essence of Stevenson’s magical words. I truly hope this story meets your expectations. I had no idea who I was writing for at the time, and as such decided it would not be wise to write one of my more – explicit – endeavours When the time came to upload and I finally realized this was for Ignoble Bard, I could not have been happier! I did NOT, however, change a thing.
Rating up to = NC-17
Requested pairing = Legolas/Any Elf
Story elements = I would like the author to use this quote as inspiration: "Home is the sailor home from the sea and the hunter home from the hill."
Do NOT include = mpreg
Beta reader: Curious Wombat
Rating up to = NC-17
Requested pairing = Legolas/Any Elf
Story elements = I would like the author to use this quote as inspiration: "Home is the sailor home from the sea and the hunter home from the hill."
Do NOT include = mpreg
Beta reader: Curious Wombat