Summary: I would not so easily give you up, if you were mine.
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title, Author and URL of original story: Bright was he by eyebrowofdoom.
Thanks to caras_galadhon for the most excellent beta and being my LOTR encyclopedia. :)
The Great Hall of Meduseld was much different than the last time Legolas had stepped foot there; the heavy, ornate tapestries and the furnishings, including the throne, still remained, but now there was a distinctly lighter feel to the air. Chambermaids sang lightly as they bustled to and fro about the rooms, the men-at-arms wore easy smiles, and best of all, to Legolas' eyes, King Eomer himself looked much younger – a man in his prime, ruling the kingdom of Rohan with his uncle's patience and his own hard-won wisdom.
"Legolas, old friend, it is good to see you," Eomer said, coming off the dais to clasp Legolas by the shoulders. Legolas laid his own hands atop Eomer's and returned the smile. After their rocky start so many years ago, the two had become fast friends.
"It has been far too long, Eomer King."
"Please, just Eomer." He turned to offer his hand to Gimli, standing stoutly beside Legolas. "Gimli, you old goat, I am pleased to see you hale and hearty. Perhaps a little too hearty these days."
"You're looking right stout as well...for such a young pup," Gimli replied, returning the good-natured insult with his own, and clasping his arm to Eomer's in a warrior's greeting. "Rohan's in fine form these days."
"Thank you. I hope you both are planning on taking your rest here for a few days before you're off on your next adventure."
Adventure, indeed, Legolas thought, with an inward laugh. If one counted the endless time spent with Gimli exploring the caves of Aglarond, where Legolas had thought he might never lift his face to feel the sun's warmth again. "We were actually hoping to accompany you to Gondor for Elessar's Mid-Winter Solstice festivities," he said.
"I would be honored." Eomer stopped one of the passing maids and spoke a few low words in her ear. "I'll have our best rooms prepared for you right away so you can wash off the road dust before we dine."
"No woman running the place yet?"
Eomer's grin was wide and made him look even younger, despite the beard that still covered his chin. "Not yet, Gimli, not yet. I've yet to meet a woman possessing even half the beauty of the Lady Arwen, although my advisors take great delight in informing me the Lady Lothíriel is fetching enough."
"When advisors start scheming, it's time to make a run for it, I've found," Gimli chuckled, and all three friends shared a laugh.
"You'll make any wife a fine husband," Legolas said.
Eomer nodded his acknowledgement of the compliment. "Do either of you require any assistance with your bath?"
Gimli made a great show of looking around the room. "Not unless you've any dwarvish maidens hiding about the place?"
"Afraid not, old friend."
"I'm sure I'll get by on my own, then." Gimli's sigh was one of long-suffering, mock disappointment.
Eomer gestured to one of the maids to lead Gimli to his chambers, then turned to Legolas. "And you, fair prince?"
The corners of Legolas' mouth turned into a small smile. At last. "It would depend on who's volunteering to assist me."
"Well, such an honored guest deserves royalty, wouldn't you say?" Eomer dropped his voice to an intimate low.
"Then, by all means, lead on," Legolas replied, his lilting voice resonant with the need coursing through him.
It had been far too long.
Eomer led him into an ornately furnished set of rooms, featuring a separate sitting room and massive bedchamber with a bed that was already invitingly turned down. On the floor at the foot of the bed, a large tub – easily big enough for two – was already filled to the brim with steaming water.
"I know it's not the soothing streams of Mirkwood, but I hope it's satisfactory," Eomer said. Legolas could hear the hint of uncertainty, and it warmed his heart even more.
"Whose fine chambers are these?" he asked, unclasping the pin of his cloak and letting it drift to the floor. He thought he had a pretty good idea as to the answer, and was proved right a moment later.
"Mine," Eomer responded, with an endearing, sheepish shrug. "I hope I wasn't too presumptuous. The closeness we shared during the dark days seems a long time ago."
Legolas glided forward until he could rest his hands on Eomer's chest. The heart that beat under his fingers was strong and steady. "It was a lifetime ago. I think it's time we made some new memories."
Eomer's eyes lit with gratitude and something deeper before he stepped even closer and pressed his lips against Legolas'. The first taste after so long an absence was a visceral shock that sang through Legolas' body like the sweetest of melodies, a better balm for his system than even the finest lembas. Truly, he had missed the feel of Eomer's body against his, the feel of Eomer's breath mingling with his as they shared kiss after soft kiss.
They undressed each other in slow, reverential silence, taking the time for slow touches and to relearn the feel of each other. Finally, they both slid into the tub, Eomer's back pressed against Legolas' chest. For a long time, they sat in peace, enjoying being together.
Eomer was the first to break the easy quiet between them. "I was hoping...well, that you'd do me the honor of accompanying me while I deliver the winter grain to the outlying villages on our way to Gondor."
Legolas was touched by the gesture. "It would indeed be an honor." It would also give the two of them more time together.
"It's an old tradition among the kings of Rohan, and is a joyous occasion among my people," Eomer said, and lifted their joined hands to place a soft kiss to Legolas' wrist. "This year, for me, it is doubly so because of the excellent company I shall have."
Legolas laughed at such honeyed praise, but was flattered all the same. "After so many weeks of traveling through the Glittering Caves with only Gimli for company, I shall be delighted to regale your people with songs of Mirkwood."
Legolas could feel, rather than see, Eomer's smile. "The delight will be ours."
"It's been far too long since we've made time for each other," Legolas murmured, softly.
"Too long." Eomer's voice was hesitant, even though the fingers that drifted across Legolas' thigh were possessive and sure. "Will it bother you to see him with her?"
They both knew the person of whom Eomer spoke.
"No," Legolas quietly replied, eyes closing in pleasure at the touch. "What Elessar and I had was over a long time ago. I am happy with the moments I now share with you." It was nothing less than the truth.
"I know we haven't had much time together, but when I heard you were traveling through Rohan, I had hoped..."
"Eomer." Legolas placed a kiss to Eomer's nape, then up, lips grazing the soft hairs of Eomer's beard. "You are the reason I'm here. Whatever time we are graced with together is enough."
"I shall continue to hope, then, that we are graced with more time."
"As shall I," Legolas smiled. "However, that is for the future, and you have me right now."
"So I do. Whatever shall I do with you?" Once again, Legolas could feel Eomer's smile, and his own body tightened in satisfying response.
"Whatever pleases us both, I trust." And Legolas had a long list of pleasures, concocted on the even longer nights in the caves.
Water splashed when Eomer turned, slid his body across Legolas'. "And what would please you?"
"You," Legolas murmured, sliding wet hands along Eomer's muscled back. "Over me in your very nice bed, riding me until we have to make our appearance at dinner."
Eomer's eyes clouded over with lust. "The bed seems too far away."
"The impatience of youth," Legolas chuckled, and pressed another kiss to Eomer's waiting lips.
"I am only human," Eomer laughed and the next kiss wasn't nearly as chaste.
True to form, however, Legolas got his wish.
Bright was the Tower Hall of the White City during the Winter Solstice feast: the candles flickered and danced merrily, illuminating the joy of the season. The tables groaned with the weight of the food upon them, and the players in the corner struck a lively tune. The guests were all decked out in their gayest clothes, and the wine, and laughter, flowed freely.
Beyond it all, Legolas noticed his eyes darting to where he shared a platter with Eomer; as trusted friends and the right of their rank, they sat at the high table with the king and his radiant queen.
"He watches you constantly," Eomer murmured, and drained yet another goblet.
Legolas did not bother to deny it, but he let his hand rest atop Eomer's under the tablecloth. "Do you trust me?" he asked, softly.
"With my very life," came the prompt reply. "As I trust Aragorn to have my back in battle. It's trusting him with you that I cannot seem to fathom." A tired, small smile graced harshly lined features. "I would not so easily give you up, if you were mine."
"As much as I belong to anyone, I am yours as long as you need me," Legolas said. He knew his own people could not see why he would choose take a lover from a race that seemed to need so much reassurance, but he didn't mind. In fact, he found Eomer's forthright need rather refreshing.
The rest of the meal passed without incident. After dinner, the guests mingled, laughing and celebrating the season and the fine meal. Legolas stood off to the side, and watched with an indulgent smile as Gimli steadfastly downed goblet after goblet of wine while regaling one of the guests with another of his colorful tales. Eomer had been whisked off by the Evenstar herself to meet some of the more prominent Gondorian families. Legolas knew it was also to show off some of the ladies of Gondor – a marriage between Eomer and one of the ladies would only strengthen the ties between the two kingdoms.
He took the opportunity to escape to the balcony for some much needed air. The stars glittered as brightly as the candles within, welcoming him with their infinite light. For a long time, he stood, still as a statue, enjoying the cool breeze. He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn't immediately notice he was not alone.
Aragorn stopped beside him, still decked in his finery. Even after so many years, Legolas still saw Elessar as the Ranger he'd been, not as the King he was now.
"You have been much missed since you last graced us with your presence."
"It is good to see you so well," Legolas said diplomatically. Elessar was standing far too close.
Gentle fingers settled on his shoulders. "I hope you'll consider staying awhile, at least until winter has passed." The invitation in his voice could not have been more clear.
"Elessar, I cannot..."
"Hush.' His kiss was soft and warm, as warm as the nights they'd shared so long ago. In Elessar's kiss, Legolas could taste his longing, and the passion they had once shared. But now there was no heat; Legolas' heart did not threaten to beat out of his chest.
"Find me after the Lady retires, and let us slip away. I've longed to feel you against me, shaded by the woods." Once again, their lips met. Once again, his kiss reminded Legolas of long ago days, of how carefree they'd been, back in the days before the Evenstar had stolen his heart.
"Elessar..." Helplessly, Legolas looked into his bright gaze, then away. He couldn't bear to see the hope in them. When he glanced back up, his gaze sought another – Eomer, standing near one of the columns, looking at Legolas with a small smile and a sort of weary resignation. Legolas' heart lurched to see him thus, and he offered what he hoped was a reassuring smile before he looked back at Aragorn.
"Elessar." Gentle were Legolas' fingers as he traced Aragorn's cheek in farewell. "We need to talk."