"And to that, I hold. I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone." — Arwen

Legolas had planted a patch of seeds on the patch where the horcrux lay; as summer turned to fall and then winter, the soil slowly grew to resemble the same color as the earth around it. And then in the spring, sprouts appeared and unfurled into cheery yellow flowers that swayed warmly in the sun and brought joy to those who saw it.

Gimli had brought a pressing of one such flower when he visited Harry and Legolas in the great halls of Mirkwood on his return journey to the Lonely Mountain. Before continuing on his way, he extracted promises from Harry (and by extension, Legolas) to visit within the year. Harry had not taken much convincing; while he had several burgeoning friendships with the Mirkwood elves, he had a healthy respect for King Thranduil and his stern disposition.

That night, Harry carefully placed the flower on the table beside Legolas' bed, anticipation churning in his gut. After nearly a year of enduring subtle and not-so-subtle assessments by the King and various advisors, Legolas had formally announced that they would be moving in together. While this effectively meant that Harry would move his meager belongings from one hall to another, it was much more symbolic than that: since elves apparently took only one romantic partner for life, the prince's relationship status had come under intense scrutiny.

Harry reached to pick up the flower again, only to be stopped by a warm hand covering his. He turned and smiled at Legolas. The nervousness that had risen to his throat slowly settled as he looked at the elf, seeing a mirrored uncertainty there.

"I've never done this before," Legolas confessed in a husky voice, as he guided Harry to the bed.

"But you're so old!" Harry said as he fell backward with a breathless laugh.

Legolas gave him a wolfish grin. "That means I have had long years to imagine what I might do with a lover."

Harry's breath hitched as Legolas slowly undid the laces of his tunic. His fingers skimmed lightly across Harry's exposed chest, leaving a trail of desire in their wake. Harry gasped and reached to pull Legolas' shirt off as well. As the offending garment was dropped unceremoniously on the floor, Harry placed roving hands all over the elf's body, marveling at the sinewy muscle that shifted with his fingers.

Meanwhile, Legolas had not ceased his ministrations, and his hands had circled lower and lower until they reached Harry's breeches.

"Okay?" Legolas stared at Harry's bright green eyes, searching for confirmation.

"Okay," Harry said in return.

The air felt charged like there was a lightning storm brewing overhead. They undressed quickly after that, despite knowing that they would have centuries to learn each other's bodies and minds.

How on earth had he thought to hide away on Middle Earth? He would not give up this moment for the world. That was Harry's last thought until he was lost in the rising heat that engulfed his body. It felt like his Burning Day, yet it was fire without pain, only pleasure.

As the morning light filtered into the room, Harry felt as if the last crack in his heart had been carefully filled in with golden light. He smiled softly as he heard the warblers and thrushes sing of the rising sun. Harry couldn't wait to explore this new world with Legolas by his side. After all, they had all the time in the world.

Author's Note: Thank you so much for sticking with me on this journey! It's bittersweet to close this chapter; this has spanned so much of my life, from when I first started writing in high school. I've really appreciated your encouragement and feedback throughout!

p.s. While I think it would make sense if the elves took multiple partners throughout their long lifespans, Tolkien was quite clear that they are monogamous to the extreme. Only one love per life for these elves.