By Rhysenn


As you see him again, proudly leading the elven army through the gates of Helm’s Deep, you remember what you left behind in Lórien. You remember your grief, and the comfort he gave; how, in that starless night beneath the silver branches, through guilt and regret and loss, you walked not alone.

He came to you, in the crystalline silence of the night. He took your hand and pulled you aside, into the embrace of darkness. And he spoke to you, but what you remember most is the sound of his voice as it caressed your ear. You whispered to him that your strength had failed you, that the burden was too much to bear. He gave you no reply, except to raise his hand and stroke your face.

You gazed into his eyes; and it was not sympathy you saw, but an unequivocal trust, faith beyond the slightest shadow of doubt. Then he spoke; and in your mind you still hear his words.

You will succeed, Aragorn of the Dúnedain. And when you claim your victory, I shall be there with you.

Then you leaned in, and kissed him. He remained perfectly still, like a statue carved from marble — cold, beautiful, flawless to the touch, as you ran your hands up his arms to pull him closer. His mouth was warm, and his lips parted as you kissed him deeper, and he kissed you back.

Now you gaze at him in amazement, as he once again brings relief unlooked for. He looks splendid, arrayed in the royal red cloak upon his shoulders. He sees you, and his lips curve in a small smile. You know he remembers that night in Lórien, as you will always remember his promise: I shall be there with you.

His eyes hold yours; and as he speaks, his words echo in your mind, and your heart: "We come to honour that allegiance."

His voice breaks your stunned silence, and you call out a greeting as you hasten down the steps to him, with an eagerness you have not felt in a long time. He smiles as you halt before him; perhaps he sees the disbelief still in your eyes, at the stroke of fortune you never even imagined would come — that you would have the chance to see him again.

You have so many things you want to say to him, words that can only begin to describe how you feel. He watches you calmly, a hidden smile curling his mouth; and your words falter on your tongue, because you do not know how to begin.

The next thing you know, your arms are wrapped around him in a tight embrace, your face buried in his shoulder. Even he is slightly startled; you feel his body stiffen, and then his arms go around your back somewhat awkwardly. But it still feels like the most natural thing in the world.

When you pull back, he is looking at you with an amused expression on his face. You gaze at him, and suddenly you are filled with renewed strength, a determination to win this battle and make him proud.

"You are most welcome," you say fervently, stepping away to allow Legolas to greet his kin. At that, the elven army snaps to attention, and awaits his command.

He turns to Théoden, but his eyes are upon you as he speaks: "We are proud to fight alongside Men once more."

You cannot turn your eyes from him. You want to take his hand and pull him away so you can speak with him alone, just like the way he took you aside in Lórien.

But words can wait. Time will not.

Théoden calls for space to be made on the battlement for the elven archers, and everyone scatters to carry out their duties. You will lead the front lines, and there is much to be done. In the distance, the glaring torches of your enemies move steadily closer to the fortress, like a fire-crested tide from the dark horizon.

As you turn to leave, he touches your arm. You look at him, and he smiles with such pride in his eyes. You feel a surge of emotion rise in your chest.

"You will succeed," he says. "Do not fear."

Then he turns away from you, his velvet cloak billowing grandly behind him, and walks to give instructions to the elves. You watch him go; a smile lifts the sides of your mouth. At that moment, you know exactly what you want to say to him — the articulation of your respect, gratitude, and love.

And when it is all over, you will tell him.

- fin -

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