Title: He Was Mine
Beta: Celebwen ((BIG special hug))
Disclaimer: I still own nothing recognizable as Tolkien's. The lyrics from Nickleback belong to them. ((sigh)) Curse my inability to own all of what I love... ;D
Spoilers: Several of my stories, including "The Sight". "To Let Go", "But If Not", "Sweeter Than Revenge Is Plotting", and probably some others. Again, you do not need to have read these first, but it would help to better understand a grand chunk of the story. ((grin)) Probably AU.
Warnings: TISSUE ALERT IS STILL EFFECTIVE! Do not read if you do not wish to be attacked by many warm fuzzies. ;P If you do happen to take anything in this in any way other than friendship, I do not want to hear about it. When I use the word "love" between two males, I mean it the way Tolkien meant it – platonically. Thank you!
This is a little different from what I normally write. There is almost zero conversation – a few thoughts yes, but actual spoken words count about... 10. The story is wrapped in the visual sense of things. Pretend with me now that we are observing Elves, blessed with the chance to see what brotherhood can be. ;D
A/N: To SiriusBlackFan2, Silivren Tinu, Fly Like A Blueberry Pie, esteltheone, Psalm 136, Rabid Angel, memyselfandi89, Legolass Q, Elflingimp, aspenniel, lindahoyland, Estel Peredhil, Arlad, Elfinabottle, Eye of Newt, Araniel Lissesul, spiritstallionofthecimarro, Mark Solo, and Authoressinhiding - thank you for your wonderful reviews and fabulous support. This is for you. ((huggles))
"Within you I lose myself, without you I find myself wanting to be lost again."
"Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
Which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime,
And falling into at night.
I miss you..."
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Salt-water wind whistled and groaned against a foreign object upon the Sea; several large white sails risen toward the sky. The ship in which they stood was a truly astonishing sight, built and carved with skill and care. Its vast size reflected brightly in the ocean waves, brought to life by the sun overhead.
Today the Sea was calm, Ulmo allowing the ship safe passage along his back. Several large white birds flew around the length and width of the ship as it sailed smoothly over the water, speeding greatly in the prospect of its destination.
A short, stocky figure left his room below deck just before dawn, his legs still unsteady when pitted against the rolling of the waves. He grumbled and muttered to himself, sure the being directing the ship's course was tormenting him on purpose and set out to hunt the other down.
When he reached the deck and looked up to the wheel, his eyes took in the sight before him and his teasing, chastising words fell silent. The Dwarf stepped back, noting that his friend had not detected his presence and chose to watch him for a moment.
A wondrously fair being stood behind the wheel. One could easily tell the Elf's mind was far away. His hands, guiding the ship's cutting path through the water, were light and relaxed, unafraid on this last journey. He did not look to the course ahead but rather chose to look above himself, seeing beyond the sails and flags to a world beyond his touch. Far above them, two of Gwaihir's kin flew, directing the ship home through sight and sound.
The dwarf snorted and turned, heading the way he had come. The Elf was lost to his own devices now; there was no pulling him from that. The Dwarf shook his head sadly. He had tried many times, and failed. He had assisted in the creation of this very ship and had spent many months with this Elf, but his normally cheerful friend had become nearly as silent as the stars he constantly sought.
He grieved. Ai, how deeply he did grieve. Not even the Dwarf understood the depth of this pain. Though the trust between these two unlikely companions was deep and strong, it was not within his power to command or change.
There was little more Gimli son of Glóin could be for Legolas Thranduilion, little more than a friend in this dark time. He could only hope that in Valinor, things would be different.
As Gimli had noted, the Elf was lost, lost to his own thoughts. Since the time of his departure from Gondor and Aragorn's grave, little else had managed to remain so consistent in Legolas' mind. For months, he had thrown himself into the work of the ship, and during the time of his labor his thoughts ever remained on his human friend. He could not control it, though he tried, the time he had said goodbye to the grave beginning this trip into his most treasured, and most painful, memories of Aragorn.
Legolas watched Aragorn attempt to curl up tightly into one corner as well as he could, wrapping his arms about his head but his legs lay straight and unmoving away from him. It was as if he was trying to bury away from the elf's glow. As Legolas reached out to the man, Aragorn's voice suddenly stopped him.
"Don't... touch me."
The words still burned... Even with his face turned toward the sky Legolas could still feel the awful pain of that night, and it sorely tested his will to remain emotionless. His eyes shut tightly, practically begging for a happier time to surface. Close to the ship, a keen eagle cry warned him of approaching lands.
"Sneaking away? Will it be worth the trouble later?"
"Keep your eyes shut. You're supposed to be dead."
"How long have I searched for you? So many nights of prayer and fear, and now I feel more peace than I have in many long years. I found my friend. And somehow I knew that if I found you, I could learn to sleep again."
It broke his heart to be so forced to recall these many things. So many different emotions, some coming all at once. Days came with Gimli finding Legolas voicelessly screaming at the heavens, other days finding the Elf standing silent and still as stone. The Dwarf was about ready to drive himself mad with worry when the ship reached its completion. As they set sail, the life aboard the great waters seemed to still some part of Legolas' mind. But it could not cure it completely.
His only alternative was to lock everything away and forget entirely, but Legolas could not find it in himself to do such a thing. After a few weeks even a casual mention of Aragorn from any outside source would tear down his resistance a little farther, weakening him on all sides. It was still a far too tender subject that Gimli in particular had wisely learned to avoid.
The seagulls had grown in number around the ship; in the distance the Elf could see the outlining shores of Valinor. Yet with his ever-wandering mind, it was hard to focus on the magnificent sight.
"You did what I thought you would do; what I wanted and feared the most. It is good to know Estel, that you have a heart that understands the darkest of a life."
For a moment Legolas buried his face into his hands. This was getting to be too much. These memories only served to intensify his terrible pain; it made him sick at heart. He was torn in half, hurting and afraid, though no one knew it but he.
Legolas was hardly aware of the point when they reached Valinor's shores and found that a large number of beings had come to greet them. Gimli kept casting short, worrisome glances in his direction as they threw ropes toward shore to safely harbor their ship.
Shouts of recognition and joy sounded from the gathering Eldar, many rushing forward to assist in securing the ship. As Legolas and Gimli passed from sea to land, familiar faces rushed to them, calling them forth, eager to have them in their midst.
Gimli walked away from the ship briskly, his face twinkling in a manner most unlike him as a few of the Elves called out to him in good cheer. But when he looked back to make sure his Elven friend was following him, Gimli realized that Legolas was still right next to the ship. He had frozen, his face filled with confusion and despair.
The Elf prince tried to follow his Dwarven friend, but found that his legs had become as solid lead. He could not move from where he stood, held back by some invisible force. A vision of a dear friend with dancing grey eyes flitted lightly in front of him and Legolas knew he could not be here. Not here, so alone as he was.
Suddenly awash with pangs of loss, the Elf collapsed to his knees, his hands clenched together.
"I never thought I'd find someone whose heart could read my mind..."
'Why do you come here in such pain, child?' A voice, which spoke not to his mind but to the very core of his soul, came to him in his pain. And Legolas knew who was speaking to him.
'I come, seeking new life, yet when I step onto this sacred land I feel in my heart that I have made a mistake.'
'What is it you wish of me?' The voice was powerful and commanding, yet somehow gentle.
'Ilúvatar, have you not heard me these many months?'
'Never before has the Quendi requested the presence of the Atani here in Valinor.' A gentle breeze blew against his back, uplifting his head. 'Why?'
Legolas' head bowed, his torment unable to be curbed beneath his will this time. 'I am not whole. The call of this land is etched with incompleteness for me. I look around and sense only joy, but I cannot find the strength to draw it in and let go of all else. Please... you know what I seek. If it is possible, just let me see him one last time. I would give anything to see his face again. Please...'
'Only you can bring him here. If your love is strong and your need great, he will come forth from his resting ground for you. Child, look forth and see... and he will be there.'
Legolas opened his eyes and let the vast scene before him fill his view. For a few moments, nothing happened, no sign of his dear friend risen from the last place the Elf had said goodbye.
'Do not let my mind's eye deceive me,' Legolas let his thoughts whisper to the Vala who had captured his mind. 'Is he there?'
The wind wrapping around him seemed to still in its rushing, as though waiting in baited breath.
Some distance away, in the middle of the crowd, something began to happen. The Elves nearer at hand jumped away from a single area, looking back with curious eyes. First in the vacant air there was mist, then water; cloud, then form. Color and detail darkened and purified the immature shape, and within moments hardened into the body of a young man... Legolas could feel his heart stop. A young ranger from years ago; with raven dark hair and strong grey eyes.
The Man seemed to awaken slowly, as though gradually beginning to discover ways in which to move in this place. His eyes focused, taking in the stunned eyes of the Elves around him. A few braver souls chose to step forward, recognizing this child among the Eldar, their eyes full of questions, hearts full of hope.
The name snapped the ranger's thoughts into perspective and he rose to his feet, studying the faces around him with no small amount of bewilderment and deep surprise. Two Elves, identical in nearly every way, separated themselves from their kin, reaching forth beyond the rest.
The Man stared at them, his brow creased as he struggled to remember those names, those dear names that would put his ever shifting memories back into place. Slowly, they did come.
"Elrohir?" Elvish names rolled off his tongue, looking between the two Elves in front of him, speaking them in uncertain memory. "Elladan?"
They rushed at him as one, their voices choked with tears as they cried out their prodigal brother's Elvish name over and over again, embracing the ranger between them.
All around them, the crowd broke out of its reverie. Shouts of amazement filled the air. Several others gathered around the trio, some joining in, taking their chance to greet the Man they knew so well. Aragorn had no idea what had happened to him or why he was here, but such inexpressible joy filled his eyes as he in turn greeted and embraced his family, his mentors, his teachers, his friends...
Friend... the thought took hold of the ranger's attention and he searched through the sea of faces, unsure as to what he was looking for or why, but knowing that he was missing something. Something wonderful.
Legolas had not moved from where he knelt, his amazement alone beyond his own comprehension. His hands unclenched. He stared at the Man from a distance, drinking in the sight of his friend; his mind telling him it could not be real, yet his heart rising in sudden acclamation.
Aragorn suddenly looked up in the Elf's direction.
They caught direct sight of each other, and all the world seemed to halt.
Once more a deep, booming voice surrounded them all, confirming what fear could not tell. Behold the missing soul. He is yours.
Aragorn suddenly knew why he was here. He knew now, what had brought him up out of Mandos' halls. He knew what had called him forth from what should have been eternal sleep. He knew.
Legolas' face held such suffering, and under the unexpected attention on him from the face he knew so well, his eyes filled with tears.
Breaking away from the crowd, Aragorn took off at a dead run to where Legolas knelt.
The Elf snapped himself out of his confusion and staggered to his feet; walking, jogging, and then running to match the pace set by his friend. He vaulted off the dock, over the small beach, through the grass, and in between the Elves that separated him from his dear human friend. For what was the first time in his life, Legolas did not care that he was in a group in which all could see his tears. All that mattered was Aragorn, the ranger all his eyes could see.
They met in the middle and stopped just short, staring at each other in disbelief. Aragorn moved first, taking in his friend's appearance with wide, stunned eyes before tentatively reaching out and letting his hand barely touch Legolas' face.
The Elf took in the touch and a sob broke from his lips; he stepped forward and enveloped the Man in his arms. Was this Man really him? Was he real? A pure scent, of worn leather and Athelas, filled his senses. The ranger in his arms did not flinch nor pull away, but stood taller and held the prince within his own, resting his cheek against the top of the prince's head. A sigh of relief expressed his hidden thoughts.
It really was him; he was real. The fierce ache of the Elf's heart, molded by the past, instantly vanished. He was whole again.
Time lost meaning. How long both Elf and Ranger stood, supporting and holding one another, is known only to them.
Speaking a thousand words with every move they made.
Wrapped in the ranger's embrace, Legolas could sense that Aragorn was struggling to say something, his astonishment and incomprehensible joy unable to be put into words. The ranger gently pulled the Elf back and let their foreheads rest together, for the first time in years his friend his only focus.
Legolas let himself be enraptured by Aragorn's captivating grey eyes, giving the ranger access to a part of his heart no one else was ever allowed to see. Within a few moments, the Man had read every pain harbored in the Elf's immortal soul, understanding them all as if they had been his own. His brow creased in concern, taking in every thought. Speaking nary a word, his eyes filled with compassion. There was no anger, no condemnation. Only truth. He was alive, his searching gaze so full of hope and love, and for the first time in his life, unburdened with fear or care. It was not long before the Elf found he could not hold his friend within his own and his eyes shut, the press of his torn emotions driving his tears faster. A warm, tender hand found its place against the side of his face, and Aragorn pulled his forehead away for just a moment to press a gentle kiss on the Elf's cheek.
And Legolas wept in the arms of his friend, for the sake of Aragorn being there with him; weeping with him... and for him. There was nothing between them, no barrier of fear, no wall of distrust. They were for each other what they could not be for the world around them.
A softly rolling thumb and forefinger encouraged sapphire blue eyes to open again. Through the tear-brightness they pleaded, for what, only they knew. Aragorn slowly blinked, shook his head against his friend and smiled. There was no need. There had never been a need.
Once again, Legolas looked up and the grey eyes drew him in. This time his gaze did not waver, level with Aragorn's, and he too found a soft, painless smile spreading over his face. Right hand, left hand met and clasped, fingers entwined together and drawn up to be held against the Elf's chest.
"I love you," the Elf murmured, and it was the Man's turn to look away as the tears fell. Though their years together were many, the number of times they had actually said this to each other they could count on one hand.
Aragorn looked up, holding the Elf's head against his own, searching as he whispered back, "I love you."
And the memories, which had hounded Legolas for so much time and filled him with such pain to recall, fled and bothered him no more.
I wanted you to stay
'Cause I needed
I need to hear you say
That I love you
I have loved you all along
And I forgive you
For being away for far too long
So keep breathing
'Cause I'm not leaving you anymore
Hold on to me and never let me go."
Nickleback "Far Away"
A/N: Thank you for reading! Reviews, as always, are most welcome. ((huggles))