Disclaimer: Not mines.  Make no money I.  No sue, please.

Warnings: A/L Slash.  No flame.

Author’s Note: Ack.  Sorry haven’t been updating in a while, I’m sort of losing track of the story, so I’m rebuilding it too while I’m going along.  Um…hopefully another update within the next 24-48 hours, um, maybe.  Thank you all the people who are reviewing, I think I’m falling in love with you guys! 

Um,…right.  That didn’t completely sound right, but anyway.


This section takes place after the Company has met Eomer, one of the Rohan people, and gotten horses from him 20 cents per the hour.  Aragorn paid.  As of now, they are in the Fangorn Forest, still looking for Merry and Pippin.

To Hesitate

Part 8 - Discussing

By Gelfling


He picked up another stick of wood, turned it over and examined with the quiet and cordial intensity that he did everything else.  They were having fire again for the first time in a long spell, partly at Gimli’s insistence and partly--to him at least--to regain some semblance of normality. 

The hobbits were free yet again, or so Aragorn believed, so they might well be whole and hale, so they may yet return to the group and be a true Company yet again…or they might not.  They were free, and likely alive, still.  The shadow seemed to be lifting yet.

Gimli coughed.

“So, um, ‘ow th’ hells long do ye ‘tend to be dancing with ‘im anyway?  Ah’ve gotten bloomin’ diamonds out faster than it takes you two to end a row, e’en much faster ta start the tawdry thing.”

“I beg your pardon, Master Dwarf?”

“Well, for th’ first it shouldenna be I ya should be a beggin’, not tha’ I’m a tellin’ ye not to.  Far be my place to tell an Elf wot ta do.  Or so I’ve been told.  Often.  More ‘en often really.  Repeatedly.  Ta tha’ bloody point of bein’-”

“You were saying, Master Dwarf?”

“Wot?  Ah, yeah.  I ain’t bloody blind, Legolas”—the other paused at the use of the other’s name.  Elves were sensitive about their names, and rarely gave their true ones freely. 

Even the alias of ‘Legolas’ held some meaning.  Legolas stopped walking and scanning the area and turned slowly towards Gimli, his face receptive yet cold, his eyes somber and ever so slightly cautious, and the tiniest of the sliver hostile.


“No.  No, elf, an’ neither are ye.  Now, I won’t pretend ta know wot’s goin’ on between ye two, but I’ve got the idea.  Secrets aren’t the way ta do things, I don’t hold wit’ them, an’ I don’t think ye shouldda be either.  Nothin’ good ne’er came of ‘em mate, as it is, it’s tearing ye apart an’ don’t think I don’t know, it’s tearing him up too.  An’ I’ll be damned iffen ye dinna be knowin’ that.”

Legolas’ brow furrowed momentarily while he sorted out the other’s point, the skin along the top of his neck warming and chilling as he realized the issue.

“I…cannot help, but doubt that, Master Dwarf.  No offense intended, but—“

“Dinnye go saying nay, elf-- ‘cuase yer gonna do somethin’ about it or I am, an’ ye dinna want that, let me tell ye.  Still yet I’ve got a whole good length of twine left from Lothlorien, an’ iffen ye dinna do anything I SWEAR I really WILL tie ya both up an’ go on this trip my own, see if I won’t, Gods know I’m better off then takin’ care of you two because iffen I have to deal with one more bloke waking me up in the middle o’ the Godblessed night someone’s gonna end up two feet shorter inna mornin’ an’ that’s that.   Weel?  Do ye ken me?”


“Yes.  Yes, I rather think I do, Master Dwarf.”

“Aye.  Well ‘en.  Good on ye.  Let’s back to work.”


The horses had run from them the night prior, despite the point that their tresses were tied.  This had left Aragorn in a sore mood; he had promised to return them, and Gondor would certainly need martial aid from the Rohan. 


They had seen a figure in white wafting around the temporary camp as well.  So they were discovered and caught off guard.  Had the figure waited a while longer, he could have escaped with not only their horses, but their lives as well.  And they would have NEVER known it, so relaxed was their defense.


This was the time Legolas decided to approach him.

“Advice from Gimli?  And since when, pray, Master Elf, did you start taking advice from a dwarf?” 

Aragorn sounded more amused and condescending than alarmed, smirking aggressively at the elf’s invisible discomfort and attempt.  He made certain to put emphasis on the racial differences between the two, for while did not understand the goal of racism, he knew it bothered the hell out of the elf.  Or it used to.

“Since the dwarf became the most sensible person within range, sir.”

Blink.  Recover.

“So what do you want?”

“To talk.”


Knives flashed in the dull lemon pallor of the sunlight.  Aragorn was slowly moving into defensive, not using the recklessness and chaos that was the best human weapon against Elves.  Legolas feinted with his knife, punched Aragorn in the gut with his opposite hand and scored a gash on the soft and thin inside of his left elbow.  The sweat stung the wound.

Superficial, but in a delicate area, distracting the Man a second long enough for Legolas to tackle and have him pinned on the leaves and dirt.  One knee and dagger-holding fist held Aragorn’s sword arm down to one side.

His other hand held the injured arm lightly under the gash, which was bleeding profusely.  Blood already stained the side of the Elf’s hands.  The Elf’s last knee was situated between the man’s legs, holding up the remainder of his weight.

The Man wasn’t a pretty sight.  His shaggy hair was mussed more than ever, pieces of leaves and dirt altering the overall shade.  His eyes were narrowed dangerously, dull and angry, teeth, lightly tinged with yellow, bared.  His breathing was actually rather slow and constrained, and even through his tanned bronze skin a flush painted his angular cheeks. 

Legolas looked once directly into the eyes of the human, and something internal twitched.  He glanced away briefly then refocused on the other’s forehead.  There was red mark on the left side of one temple.  He did not remember that.  He blinked.

Aragorn took the opportunity, and snatched his cut arm away and out to shove a punch into the small hollow of the Elf’s right eye.  The Elf arched up momentarily with the impact, leaving his chest and stomach exposed and open.  The Man did not take this opportunity; he was grimacing, and curling his left arm bent stiffly towards his chest. 

Legolas curled back down, Aragorn angled his arm up, the elbow catching the elf under his chin, the elf’s momentum causing his head snapped back up again.  A lengthy expanse of neck was shone, and appeared for a minute to be on the edge of snapping. 

Then the Elf’s right hand caught his arm at the point and slammed it down and away from the Man, leaning what weight he could onto it.

Eyes met for a moment, rough, unsaid volleys were traded, weight and strength were measured and tested, and Aragorn jerked his knee into the elf’s arse.  The Elf came toppling forward bare inches from crashing into the human, surprise and pain chipping the glass behind his eyes.  Aragorn saw this; his eyes widened and his lips splitting.

The Elf wasn’t a pretty sight either.  Dirt lay dry on his chin while an onrush of capillaries colored the area around his eye and chin a full bright red flecked with dirt.  His face had gone unusually pale, making his eyelashes and lips stand out strong in red and sienna. 

Yellow ash strands of hair were thinly scattered across his face, the rest, even after the rough-and-tumble, still hung straight and smooth, creating a curtain from his shoulders.  His eyes were dark storms, swirling dark and light gray, with a tinge of blue speckled here and there. 

His lips were the highlight of his face, painted obscenely and hideously bright from the rush of blood.  Between them were his blatantly white, almost fluorescent teeth, which extenuated the unnatural coloring of his lips, which were slightly curled back but restrained from outright snarling.  His canines appeared longer than a human’s, and this combined with his aloof attitude, gave the impression of a cat.

Aragorn took this in quickly, still baring his own off-white dull teeth, narrowed his eyes and stopped thinking. 

He lifted himself up by the neck to brush his cheek against the other’s, and pursed his lips and blew air in the other’s ear.

Legolas’ neck and back snapped to become exactly aligned sharper than a pocketknife, his face went paler than white-an odd sickly gray-for a few seconds, but he did not move further.  Legolas did not move or relax.

Aragorn’s eyes were half closed, staying that way even after he had pulled away, then drew his arm free.

Aragorn’s eyes opened full.  And he punched him.  Hard.  Solidly executed, on the left side of the chest a streamlined concentrated and hard punch.  Hard enough to send Legolas off of Aragorn and on his arse to the side, still within kicking distance. 

Both scrambled to their feet, but refrained from coming together again.  Legolas favored his left side, while Aragorn was still ready to fight with sword in hand.  The cold cordiality lay in tatters; Legolas’ true emotions of intensity and quiet yet steadily growing anger slid just beneath the surface.

He darted in again, Aragorn dropped his sword, and blows were again exchanged.  Legolas fell.  He squeezed his abdomen briefly with one hand, then made his way to his feet keeping his eyes to the ground.

Aragorn’s lip was split and bleeding, one eye half closed and reddened, and one ear bruised and hopefully (thought Legolas) ringing.  Not that one would know or see, with the amount of mangy fur (thought Legolas) that crawled and covered over the other’s face.

“That’s how we win fights.”

“Tis’ dishonorable.”  Legolas was upset.  He did not completely feel like speaking.  He did completely feel like painting the remainder of Aragorn’s smirking eyes black and purple.

“So is winning, at least to the loser.”  The damned aggressive smirk.

“That be not contest of might or wills, or, or, or even strength even.”  Legolas sounded more wild and frustrated than Aragorn had ever heard.  He gave a small affectionate smile at the other’s stuttering.  Legolas was not looking at his face, but instead a point left of his elbow.  “That was simply…just…um…”

“Pushing the enemy off balance.  Confusing.  Fighting fair is all and good when the enemy is honorable, or at least merciful.  Mordor’s armies will be neither.  Get used to it.”  Aragorn spoke like an instructor, warning the apprentice of what moves were correct and what were not.

“One does not defeat an enemy by becoming them.”  Legolas spoke quietly, dangerously, and condemningly.  “Their tactics, and weapons,” the word was dragged out, “are theirs, and loyal to them alone.  They alone are fell and dark enough to wield them.”  Legolas met Aragorn’s eyes, hostile, challenging, and degradingly. 

“We will not become them, but we can use their tactics against them, they would do the same to us!  This isn’t tale or ballad to be writ or lamented, people’s lives will be lost in this war, they will die,” Aragorn emphasized, appearing for once to be distressed.  “And I will not allow it simply because methods clash with your honor.”

Legolas’ eyes widened innocently, and he blinked twice.  A lucid man familiar with Elves would have ducked and started running.

My honor, Sir?  Or theirs?  Or mayhap yours, had you have any?” Legolas raised one eyebrow, his voice trembling teasingly between the soft undertone and a higher pitched screech.

Aragorn noticed this, opened his mouth, and closed it again.  He scowled.  The fire in his eyes died, and he dropped his stance.

“Forget it.”

“Sir-” Legolas regained the control over his voice, still had one eyebrow lifted inquisitively, but his eyes had begun to hide themselves to avoid narrowing and openly scowling.

“It wasn’t about honor, it’s about the one’s who—forget it.”  Aragorn hung his head a moment, then turned and sheathed Anduril and started walking.  Legolas lifted both eyebrows and tilted his head to one side.  He thought for a moment.

“Neither have I desire to see people—“

Aragorn was out of earshot.

“--die.  But they shall.  All things die,” and he said the other’s name, softly, “thou shalt learn that, someday.  So be Iluvatar chosen price to live.  That, indeed, may even be the gift.  But I do not expect thee to ken.  Not of yet.”

It was not till Aragorn was out of his sight did Legolas allow his arms to relax.  He picked up his knife from the ground.  The silver and metallic haft refracted the manila light.  His breathing slowed, mellowed, and he wiped his brow with the back of his hand.

A few moments later a pale salmonish pink streaked itself lightly along his angular cheeks and crawl, painstakingly slowly, tortuously slowly, up to the points of his ears.  Legolas turned his back away from the direction Aragorn had taken, and began to walk aimlessly. 

His facial expression trembled in its placid coolness.  The lost, startled and alarmed look never left his eyes, and with each step his mouth began to open, just a slit between the lips then a little more as the shock slowly let in. 

Ye gods.

Nay, the Valar, and Manwe, messenger god merciful, please, Elbereth in the heavens and night sky the star lit star bright sky, Lady of the Light and Stars Varda, oh Gods, deliver me please deliver me dammit

Legolas leaned suddenly against one of the ugly tree trunks that populated the area, his head cradled in his arm, his face shocked and mouth gaping, breath coming in frantic gasps, his hand coming up to touch his lips but stopping just short and trembling in air. 

And trembling harder in the thought-flying seconds.

A touch of Elven rationality and coolness touched him before the panic could evolve into hysteria.  His eyes darted to left side before sliding to the right as his mind listed all possible reasons that the…spar, had evolved into…what it did. 

His breathing became deeper, obviously controlled, his lips moving gently to put his put his thoughts into coherency while his hand continued to shake.

He blinked a couple times, straightening slowly, his arm still resting against the tree trunk that more or less supported him both physically and mentally,—

The day a tree forsakes a Silvan elf is an ill day indeed, and it was one of the few comforts he had.

-- the knuckles of his shaking hand twitching against the cracked and dying bark.  He turned his hand so that the fingertips pressed against the tree and shook less, then looked down and a miniscule frown appeared his brows as he continued to mouth words, and licked the inside of his upper lip.

And drew in the bottom lip in between his teeth, the frown easing out and blinked again, his face the Elven epitome of pensiveness and caution.  Then he groaned softly, painfully, and cradled his head back into his arm. 

He closed his eyes and pressed his lips together, running his tongue along the top lip while, his shaking hand coming up to push the hair away from his face and over his ear, stroking the keen bit of skin and groaning softly again in pleasure and pressing his head deeper into his arm as his hand stroked down his face, trying to wipe the burning skin off his body and away from him, far away from him where he wouldn’t have to feel this bad. 

This badly.

“Valar…Valinador”, he opened his eyes, his mouth cupped by his hand, “…deliver me.  Please.”

He simply hoped Aragorn was having an equally trying time as well.

He had better damned well be.

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