The Wind on the Water

By Milady Hawke


Meet, listen, discuss, accept, meet, listen, discuss, reject - such has become the rhythm of his life, with only these tiny variations to remind him he has not yet become a mill wheel.

The king rests his chin in now-smoothened hands, gazing over paperwork mounds to a world underneath him teeming with life. On the far below plain of the Pelennor Fields, he can almost see the fledgling crocuses push their shoots upward through warming, moist soil to absorb light and heat from the amorous sun. The world is alive with the friction of movement while the king sits inside with his thoughts and his duty.

She is a demanding mistress, his lady, Gondor. A queen he serves with both love and devotion. He submerges in her the very essence of himself, fulfilling her needs as no one else might, not as a mere man but as her king. And she is not an ungrateful mistress. It is a comfortable life, knowing his purpose, courtly luxury and a meaningful routine. It breeds in him a complacency he would have never thought possible during his days in the wild. As the servant of Gondor he takes on himself the name of Elessar, and he and his mistress both hold the name dear. Yet alone in his chambers he often thinks, and knows, such titles do not fulfill him.

Gondor is very much like to his wife. It is his privilege to tend to Undomiel, fairest among elves since Tinuviel. He tries to be the best husband he can with the reverence and love her devotion deserves. He thinks he does well, as well as any man might. He is kind to her, he defers to her wishes, little thoughtfulnesses he delights to shower upon her. And he wonders on her lips while lying by her at night, only with the most chaste adoration; there is always a price to such bargains as they made. Yet though he tries, he can never be all of her deserving, and he suspects that she feels this weariness too, of dissolving themselves in their duty to Arda.

A brisk nock at his door startles Elessar’s reverie. “Come in,” he says, and a smooth-faced youth enters to announce the arrival of one the king least expects, of the fairest flowering of Elvendom. As the fleet-footed elf steps with grace through his door, Elessar silently thanks the gods that there is still one in his life with whom he can be simply a man.

He meets Legolas’ gaze with silent intensity until the startled page leaves, and then there is the rush of mouths and hands, clutching at clothing and fingering warm skin. It is for moments like this that Aragorn lives, greedy to drink his lover’s essence and breathe the elf’s breath, for kisses that bring his whole being to life.

With arms wrapped possessively around this wild lover, he walks the elf backward through the open door joining the study to his bedroom. Then he lays his mate down, gently on the coverlet in a subtle shifting of mood. He would etch every sensation indelibly into his memory this night, marvel at the sight of Legolas’ face softened in pleasure and twilit shadows, and the pressure of fervent lips as he unfolds the willing body below him, button by button.

It does not seem strange to Aragorn that they have not yet spoken words; these moments of intensity are often silent like magic in a fairy story from long ago, the spell of which they are reluctant to break. All he needs to know in this moment he can see by the shifting play of light in the elf’s bright eyes, by the sinuous arms that snake around his chest and pull his weight down upon the body below him, the slender thighs that hug his waist and the ankles crossing themselves behind his back.

But for all the seeming delicacy of this creature gentling to his touch, Aragorn knows this is no wide-eyed maiden beneath him. Under the softness of skin lies an iron strength in the lean-muscled lines of arm and leg.

There are many ways this elf could break him if he chose. Sometimes he wonders why Legolas does not; it is a tenuous thing, this balance between them. And he sometimes wonders what hidden well the elf draws from in rising to fulfill the man’s needs, and why his lover does so.

Preciously rare as their meetings are, the heat of the elf’s mouth on the man’s fevered skin is the fire of his nights, a conflagration that lays waste to king and husband and every other image he lives up to by day, burning him down to his very core until he is only a man making love to his chosen. As his lover’s mouth parts in a primeval cry, the man knows he can do nothing without.

When their passion is spent like the last embers of a May Eve, Legolas lies still a while in Aragorn’s arms before turning his head away on the pillow. His gaze leads through the open casement.

“What is it you see, Lirimaer?”

“I ponder the mountains against the westerly sky, like a tumult of waves in a storm-tossed ocean.”

The man feels a cold knot tightening in his stomach. He is thankful the elf’s face is turned away.

“Tell me again of the sea,” says Legolas.

“You have been to the sea yourself, love.”

“But its beauty falls sweeter from your lips.”

Aragorn sighs. “To me it seems like a cloth woven with diamonds, with an enchantment upon it holding one’s gaze for hours. Something to make the heart light with wonder when looked on by day, and at night to be cherished for its moon-glittered depths.”

The elf’s face turns to him again, eyes sparkling in the candlelight.

“But something to be loved only from afar,” he continues. “It is too ageless and free to be held long by a man, and so the sea’s thrall returns to his own hearth, and to bonds of another sort.”

A slender hand rises to cup the man’s cheek. “And yet a man may make imprints on the wet sand, and haunt the sea’s dreams like wind on its water.”

“My footsteps wash away.”

“But the ocean remembers. It once felt alive as we made love on its shore.”

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